I was given this product for free in exchange for my honest review.
A few months ago I signed up to be a 2016 reviewer for Timberdoodle, a family-owned company that sells homeschooling supplies. I thought it would be a good way to grow my library of educational toys.
Piggie is five and would start outside school this fall, but I’m not completely sure on when I’m going to start homeschooling him. My midwife says she doesn’t start homeschooling her kids until they’re six because before that they’re just too young. So we’ll see. I’m also going to be unschooling, so maybe there will never even be an official start date?! (I’m reading this unschooling book currently, it’s been so helpful). This is another reason why I wanted to build up a nice collection of educational items to have for the boys, so they can gravitate towards what catches their eye.
The latest toy we received from Timberdoodle is the Kid-O Magnetic Writing Tablet, which is part of their PreK curriculum kit. I’ve actually had my eye on this ever since I shared my post on educational toys for toddlers so I was excited when this popped up for review.
The Magnatab is designed to help young children learn to trace letters. Inside each letter, there are metal balls that will snap to the surface when the pencil-shaped tool is traced over them. Afterwards, the child can trace their finger over the metal balls and they will clatter back down into the tablet. The idea is to take a multi-sensory approach to really help integrate and master the skill of handwriting.
What I love about it
I really love the metal ball component because it catches my boys attention and they love to hear the clacking sound as they trace the letters. They’re only 3 and 5, so it’s obviously not often that something will hold their attention for too long, especially if it’s not making sounds. And I don’t even mean electronic toys that light up and everything, I just mean they like NOISE and ACTION. They will make noise with a toy even if it doesn’t come with a button.
The metal balls hold their attention, especially my 5 year old. He will sit and trace the whole alphabet and then use his fingers to drop the balls back down into place. I also like that he’s learning how to hold a pencil.
What I don’t love about it
The one thing I don’t like about it is that it sometimes seems difficult to trace the letters fluidly because of the metal balls. The pencil will be difficult to pull down to continue tracing out a letter, so my son will do each ball individually, which defeats the purpose a little bit. It’s fluid for me because I (obviously) have more fine motor control, but I noticed it’s a little more difficult for the boys on some letters.
Overall I think it’s helpful in teaching him to write letters in a fun way. Especially at this age right now where his attention span is short and he likes a lot of excitement and movement. He’s traced letters on paper before and he just isn’t into it yet, so the Magnatab has been helpful in getting him to engage with writing and tracing.
I’d give the Magnatab a B+ rating: it’s difficult at times to move the pencil-tool fluidly, but it’s highly engaging for young children.
In our homeschool room: