By peoplestaff225
Updated December 12, 2008 11:30 AM

It’s amazing how simple an item like a pencil can bring hours of amusement to a child. On a recent trip, we brought way too many toys and activities with us, but the greatest hit was a set of colored scented pencils called Smencils ($14/set of 10). They made Anya’s coloring and workbook activities (she’s practicing her tracing skills with the Kumon and School Zone series) at least twice as much fun as using crayons or regular pencils. When other kids were around, they loved them too. And you don’t even need to be a kid to use them- I keep the cotton candy pencil at my desk!

Unlike other scented pencils I’ve come across, the entire Smencil smells. They are made from recycled newspapers, soaked in non-toxic oils, then wrapped around the colored lead, so when your child writes with them, the scent actually transfers to the paper and lasts for a while. In the colored pencil set, the color of the lead corresponds to the associated scent- pink=bubble gum, green=watermelon, red=cherry, brown=root beer, etc. If you need regular pencils for school, check out the holiday scented set ($12/set of 10) that includes two each of Christmas-y scents like gingerbread, candy cane, sugar plum, cinnamon and sugar cookie.

The only challenge was getting the kids to sniff the barrel of the pencil, not the tip. Also, be aware that the scent is very strong (perhaps that’s why eachpencil comes packaged in a cylinder) and that when all of the pencilswere out of the carrying case, they gave me a little bit of a headache. That said, the Smencils maintain their scents for two years.

— Danielle

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