Anytime I use pencils, I reach for the BIC Matic Grip Mechanical pencils. I prefer jewel tones, so I specifically buy the metallic colors (silver, purple, red, blue and green) variety. I keep several in my desk and a few in my purse. My son uses them, too.
They have rubber grips towards the bottom, which are especially good for children learning to write (or practicing writing). This feature also makes them incredibly comfortable to use.
These are mechanical pencils, which means you click the top and lead comes out. And get this: even if you accidentally click too much or the lead falls out...you can shove it right back in the hole and use it! In fact, you can retract it back into the sheath so you don't end up stabbing someone with the lead (or if you carry it in a briefcase or purse).
Each has a white eraser that erases easily and cleanly. (I just hate those messy old fashioned pink erasers!)
Lastly, these are #2 pencils so the kids can use them for standardized tests that may require them (do they still do that? I homeschool so I don't know!).
If you're looking for a reliable pencil that looks great and is comfortable to write with, I highly recommend the BIT Matic Grip Mechanical Pencils!
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