Here’s Why Teachers Are Asking Parents To Get 16 Count Crayola Crayons Instead of The 24 Count

I swear I learn something new every day and today is no different.

I was today years old when I learned that the count of the crayon box you buy matters almost as much as the brand.

I think it’s safe to say that we all know that teachers prefer Crayola brand crayons for the pure fact that they color better and are better quality.

But did you also know that teachers prefer the 16 count over the 24 count of Crayola crayons? If you said no, I didn’t either.

After all, the 24 count of crayons are typically cheaper because they tend to go on sale at retail stores for around $0.50 a box. While the 16 count is harder to find and is more expensive (around $2.99 a box).

Well, this teacher explains that especially in grades Pre-school to 1st grade, the 16 count box gives kids the exact colors they need for lessons which includes just 1 primary color.

She uses the example that if she asks the kids to color something blue, the 24 count box has about 4 different options that look blue.

However, when a child begins coloring, they quickly notice that only one of those colors is actually blue and one is actually purple when colored.

What?! My mind is BLOWN. I never noticed this before!

So, when you get the 16 count of crayons you are helping teachers get through their lesson plans without having frustrated children who can’t seem to find the right color.

This teacher even mentions that when kids get frustrated, she’s pretty much lost their attention because they are so focused on the color of their crayon.

Moral of the story – grab the 16 Count Crayola Crayons or you can get a Massive Box of Classic Crayola Crayons and in return, you’ll be helping your child and teacher!


  1. John Galt says:

    So…why not buy the 24 count and remove 6 crayons???

  2. John Galt, while that seems like an easy solution you then have the issue of “loose” crayons moving all around in the box which can be distracting and make it more difficult to put crayons away because they are leaning over. Also there are many children who would get very upset about some of their crayons being “taken away”.

  3. I believe grade level should be taken into consideration. In first grade, the way we help alleviate that frustration is to actually have them match the color of the crayon to the color word on our wall, or try and read the color on the crayon. Once they have done it a few times, it helps with knowing color words quickly, as well as doesn’t take up too much time. We also do a lot of writing and illustrating, so having multiple options for colors (24 pack) is actually great for them to illustrate. I can see where in Pre-K or maybe kindergarten, teachers would prefer the 16 pack.

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      Hi, Amanda! All very good points!

  4. I bought my students the 24 pack on sale. Pulled out the primary colors for their pencil pouch and sent the rest home with them.

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      Aw, that was kind of you!

  5. Why not let the children use there imagination and chose their own colour

  6. Letting them choose their own color is great for art activities but I think what they’re talking about here is when worksheets are coded so that the correct answer will be a particular color. Adds some interest for the student and involves more thought PLUS easy for the teacher to check!

  7. I taught PreK for years. I am so happy to see your advice here. To begin every semester, we would fill our pencil boxes with just the basic colors, including pink, black, white and gray. The color word chart was on the wall near our small group table. It always helped with word recognition.
    The rest of the colors from the box went in the sharing tub to put on the art shelf.
    Fours and Fives get so frustrated when the color looks different from what they think it should be!
    Besides the time it takes to search through all the colors!

  8. Haha! This is spot on. In my kindergarten class, everyone knows to look for the “real true RED!”

  9. Laura Holterman says:

    In my 4K class I ask for the 24 because as far as I am aware that is the only pack that has all the colors I want the children to learn. (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple, Pink, Black, Brown, White, Gray, Apricot)

    I take them out and put those colors in baskets on the table for the children to share during group and center time. I then send the rest of the crayons home for the children to enjoy.

    Question is does anyone know do all the above colors come in the 16 pack?

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      That is a good question, Laura! I would contact Crayola and ask them–I bet they would have an answer for you!

  10. I put a small piece of tape around the primary colors for my students to easily access the “real” color (as they call it!)

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      What a great idea, Maureen!

  11. Teachers are still using worksheets and expecting children to fill them out “correctly.” So discouraging. Crayons should be one media available for creative projects. Period.

  12. It does not have apricot. I spent over hours taking out the extra colors every year for the shared crayon buckets on our kindergarten tables. Red violet and yellow green are very frustrating when learning colors. I put apricot in our multi-cultural crayon box and our art center. I gave all extra confusing colors to the art teacher to melt down for projects.

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      I love the idea of using the leftover crayons to melt down for art projects! So creative!

  13. After reading all of these snarky comments, I’m beginning to realize, the problem in the schools is not the students, it’s the parents. I am not a teacher, but I immediately knew the answer to your question. Come on people, a preschooler needing to know apricot? Basics, people. Basics.
    Thank you for your suggestion; whether it was reciprocated or not.

  14. I rarely use anything that requires a primary color (and if I do, I have a small group caddy). On the art shelf, I just group the colors in families (we do talk about how the color spectrum is made up of all these colors) and if the child wants red, I help them find it and show where the word “red” is.

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      It is so interesting to see how each classroom does things! Thank you for sharing!

  15. I start the PreK year with the 8 crayon box and transition to the 24!

  16. As an art teacher this kind of seems like a wasted learning opportunity. That’s still a blue it’s just in a purple family of blues, just like there is a green family. I think it’s odd saying that it is wrong that if she said to color something blue and the student colored it the “purple” which is actually blue violet or might even just be slightly towards violet family when it is still blue just slightly tinted. Makes students start to take ownership and get creative and not make everything look like a cookie cutter piece. Just my opinion. 🙂

  17. Elizabeth says:

    Interesting way to find if student is colour blind,
    As one of my pupils who wouldn’t work with colours

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      That is a good point, Elizabeth!

  18. I taught first grade, all the kids got 24 pack of crayons, if they needed a red or a blue and the true color wasn’t available, I just told them use something in the same color family. Like our real families, we are not all exactly the same color.

  19. Part of the point of the “correct” colours is so that the kids can learn to read the basic colour names. When they have those words, then it is easy to expand into the other colours.

    Also, students will get completely stuck on looking for the “right” one, not because it is the teacher pushing the exact right shade but because they can’t fathom doing it differently. It can end up being very dysregulating for some of our young students.

    It honestly has very little to do with being creative or art.

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      Thank you for sharing, Sharon!

  20. Why not use 8 packs? Aren’t they the ones that come in extra fat crayons? I would think they would be best for prekindergarten and kindergarten.

  21. 16 crayons because you want children to only have the primary colors? Have colors been promoted from secondary and tertiary? When I was in school there were only 3 primary colors, red, blue and yellow. Perhaps children could come to school with the 4 packs that they give away at restaurants. These have all three primary colors plus black. Or is black a color now also?

  22. Bill Emmons says:

    I don’t have a problem with schools making these kinds of requests of parents. But can anybody see the value in going straight to Crayola and requesting that THEY come up with a better color combo plan? Or is everybody afraid that Crayola corp. is struggling financially compared to the average parent, or what?

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Bill!

  23. As a veteran first grade teacher and someone who loves a bargain, I always ask for three boxes of 24 crayons at the beginning of the year. I store the other two until needed. I would rather see parents buy them when they are 50 cents! I also don’t mind the 24 crayons because it seems like they always lose the basic crayons and I tell them from the beginning of the year if I tell you red and you don’t have a red, you can use a shade of red! They seem to catch on real quick! Never has been a problem for my students in my 30+ years of teaching first grade.
    I did have a “new” problem last year when Crayola introduced all of the different varieties! Confetti, glitter, etc…might be nice for at home and presents, but we need the basics at school!!

  24. I’m not a teacher but I do home based childcare and once kids hit close to preschool age (about 2.5 yo), they start being involved in the more structured learning; similar to how some Preschools and Kindergartens do (like color this shape the color *blank*). We only ever use the most basic of colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black and white). I find the 16 ct. packs to just be easier, especially with the 5-6 year olds who do a lot more thing independently and love to show how they can put all their crayons away on their own. I’ve had parents send 24 ct. packs and it was just so confusing for the kids as they would grab what looks like blue but it would actually color purple; some kids get really upset if it’s not the color they want even if they are just using their imagination to color.

    1. Kristen Yard says:

      That makes sense, Alex!

  25. This seems like a missed opportunity for experiencing shades of colors. Why couldn’t sky blue, dark blue, or purple blue be used even for a color coded project? If there is a particular crayon or two that are tricky, many possibly quick fixes shared here- and I’ll add taking off the paper wrapper!
    a PreK Teacher who buys crayons and markers with the most shades possible

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *