I work a lot with younger children, and we do a lot of crafts. Of course, after using markers, we always end up with destroyed marker tips, like shown:

enter image description here

Now that's a problem. Not only does everyone no longer get to use the marker, but to have to replace markers eventually gets fairly expensive.

I'm trying to seek a solution to this. Are there any techniques that I, from a teacher perspective, can do or use to help...

  • Prevent students from destroying the marker tip;
  • Or to recover a destroyed marker tip.

Of course, in the alternative where there isn't any where to get back my markers, are there any products that offer coloured collections of markers that can win in the marker tip war against children?

(Oh, and I'm looking for coloured markers like this, not dry erase markers like in the picture)

1 Answer 1


I have seen children grasp markers in a clenched fist and vigorously fill in large swaths of the drawing area with colour. It's the vigour with which the children fill the area that destroys the marker's tip.

If this is what you are seeing then there are a couple of things you can try to help the children learn focus and finesse when making art ... and protect the markers.

  • Break up large areas into smaller ones

    Never have an image which requires to be filled in all with the same colour. Say for example, an all blue table cloth is instead made to have a checker pattern. The smaller checker pattern forces the artist to focus on a smaller area. The strokes become more controlled and the child's hand movement is slowed. You see this being done in the adult colouring books where the image is intricate requiring the grown up to slow down, focus and concentrate in order to stay within the lines.

  • Teach them to hold the marker like a brush and not a pen ... or ice pick

    Teaching the children to hold the marker as a painter would hold a brush will teach them a gentler way of applying colour to a surface. By changing the way the marker is held will reduce the amount of force being applied to the tip.

    Another thing you could try is to have the children draw at easels instead of tables. Harder for the child to bear down overtop of the marker and drive it into the drawing surface.

  • Less abrasive paper

    A heavy tooth paper should be avoided as it will abrade the markers foam tip over time. Try finding a paper with a slicker surface. One that will allow the marker to glide freely.

  • I really like that the focus here is on the source of the problem. While mitigating the issue from the tool standpoint could be useful this answer covers it from the children's point of view.
    – Matt
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 23:08

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