A kids pencil sharpener is always on our list – or any list, really – of back to school essentials.
Most of the time, I’m not happy with what is offered when I search for a kids pencil sharpener. All of them still use blades, and that is a problem. If my kids can find a way to hurt themselves, they will.
Usually, I bypass this whole issue with mechanical pencils. This year, however I’m going to try something new!
My little sister recently started as a teacher and told me about why she started using sandpaper pencil sharpeners in her classroom.
Apparently, these simple looking things are super common among artists! That is because this is an easy way to fine tune the sharp point of your pencil without as much waste as traditional sharpeners.
Low waste? Already sounding great to me! It’s always bothered me that most pencil sharpeners cause you to just discard a lot a lot of the graphite as well as the pencil wood, itself.
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That’s not the only reason she started to use sandpaper pencil sharpeners with her kids!
The fact that they are crazy affordable definitely helps!
Apparently, she uses these sharpeners to teach her students a bunch of life lessons to help develop their critical thinking skills. With this method, kids are taught to observe their pencil as they write and be aware of when it starts to dull. She told me it also helps to keep them from sitting there, wearing their pencil down to a nub trying to get those really neat curls of pencil shavings.
What is a sandpaper pencil sharpener?
It is just as simple as the name suggests! I will even tell you how to make your own sandpaper pencil sharpener, at the end of this post!
It is merely a stack of sheets of sandpaper, affixed with large staples.
My sister says she keeps one on a hook next to her desk, with the little eye-hole, to encourage her students using it.
How does this kids pencil sharpener work?
One simply takes their pencil and rubs the side you’d like to sharpen back and forth longways on the sandpaper, at a slight angle. The angle is what helps you put the tip. So, you will turn the pencil slightly. Then, you will rub it back and forth again on the new side, again at an angle. You repeat this process until your pencil is as sharp as you would like!
Why use pencil sharpening sandpaper?
An easy way to build confidence in writing skills is to keep the pencil tip sharp so that the strokes are clear. Clearer handwriting gives children more confidence in their skills as they are able to more easily read back their own work.
Along with that, this method of sharpening a pencil teaches crucial skills for young ones. Hand-eye-coordination, critical thinking skills, and observation skills are just the tip of the iceberg! One could even say that learning the concepts of sanding is a handy survival skill! While inspiring responsible use of resources.
How to make a safe kids pencil sharpener at home!
The version I’m having you make will give your child a large area to hold down the sharpener as they practice their fine motor skills
You will need:
- Heavy Duty Stapler
- Heavy Duty Staples
- Permanent marker
- Cardboard (we used some of our leftover Prime delivery boxes)
- Utility Knife
- Lay one sheet of the sandpaper on top of the cardboard you want to use
- Trace the sandpaper, and then remove it.
- Use the utility knife to cut the tracing out so that you have a piece of cardboard the same size as the sandpaper.
- Cut 5 sheets of the sandpaper in half, horizontally.
- Place the sandpaper on the one half of cardboard. Place it on the right side if your child is right-handed and the left side if they are left-handed.
- Firmly staple the 10 half sheets of sandpaper to the cardboard. I do one staple in each corner, and then one in the middle of each side of the paper. That makes 8 total staples.
- Have your child place their hand on the blank half of the cardboard and trace it with pencil.
- Remove your child’s hand and trace the pencil with sharpie. This will show them where to put their hand to hold the sandpaper pencil sharpener in place as they use it.
I hope your family enjoys this safe kids pencil sharpener!
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