I recently pulled out some real colored pencils for First Son. I found them on clearance at the local art store a few months ago and was saving them for a special occasion (meaning when I really needed him to be occupied while I finished something). I will never ever buy Crayola ones again. The artist-quality colored pencils have much brighter and more vibrant colors and flow more smoothly onto the paper. More importantly, they don't break as often and they are easier to sharpen. They are more expensive but they will last us a whole lot longer! I haven't actually tried out other brands, which might be just as good. I'm going to watch the paper for the 40% off coupons they put in the ads every now and then and send Kansas Dad to pick out a new set just about every time (which will be even cheaper than the clearance price I paid). I sense all three kids will receive a set of colored pencils (or two) next year for Christmas.