One colored pencil is the same as another right? I used to think so too, until I purchased a set of Prismacolor art pencils. These colored pencils are definitely a step above the cheap pencil sets sold at the discount store! Prismacolor pencils have a soft thick lead that lends a professional quality to artwork. Even the scribbles of a two year old look great with these pencils! The colors are bright and blend together beautifully to create a vibrant picture.
Prismacolor pencils are sold in sets ranging from a dozen colored pencils to over one hundred. Prices range from around $10 for a smaller set to over $100 for a larger set. These pencils definitely aren't cheap, but I think they are a worthwhile investment. Our Prismacolor pencils get used for everything from homemade birthday cards and art sketches to journal illustrations and school projects. Most of our pencils are still going strong four years after purchase. We have been able to replace individual colors as needed since many craft stores sell single Prismacolor pencils. This also makes it easy to try before you buy. Just choose a few colors and take them home for a test drive.
If you are concerned about breakage, Prismacolor markets a Verathin line with a harder lead than their regular pencil. I don't find these quite as pleasing to use however; the colors are not nearly as vibrant or easy to blend and the overall feel is of a cheaper colored pencil. But they do last longer and are easier to sharpen. Incidentally, I have found the best way to sharpen any Prismacolor pencil is with a good electric sharpener. The soft lead of these colored pencils tends to break with a hand-held sharpener.
So are these pencils really worth it? Truthfully, younger kids will probably not notice a difference between these and the less expensive colored pencils. They also may not be mature enough to take care of the pencils properly. You may be better off sticking with cheaper brands until your child is mature enough to not leave their pencils out in the rain! But for an older child, or a child who loves to do art, these pencils are a wonderful investment that will be used for years to come.