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my 2 year old daughter loves this double sided easel. i love the fact that it has detachable legs. we are currently using it without the legs as its just the right size for her and its very sturdy. we only have a small room and so i have to fold it away eack time and its very easy to do so. the chalkboard is very good and wipes clean after each use and we have been using it for over 6 months now. the chalks that come with it are only thin and break easily so i would reccommend buying chunky chalk eapecially for younger kids. the whiteboard is good too. wipes clean easily with a cloth or wet wipes. i would reccommend getting some more pens though as you only get a black and red one with this and they arent the best they dry up soon. the only downside i found is that the clip for the paper came loose a few times but its easy to just screw in with your fingers or a coin in the slot. overall ita a very good buy and i would reccommend to a friend.
My son started nursery school in September. One of the many activities the children can choose from is the art area. The school has a number of easels in each classroom, including the nursery, and the children are encouraged to draw and paint independently. If by the end of the week a child hasn't chosen to do a particular activity, the nursery teacher encourages them to try that area, so they are benefiting from a wide range of activities. For the first few months, my son had to be 'encouraged' to do anything related to art and would then complain about it at home. When I asked him why he didn't want to do it, he said it was because he wasn't good at it but everyone else was. This, of course, nearly broke my heart as I imagined him feeling sad about his perceived lack of abilities so I instantly resolved to help him. I should also add that he is no better or worse than any other 4 year old at drawing, however he seems to have very high expectations of what he should be able to do! I decided that buying him an easel similar to the school ones would be a good start. He enjoys using my big whiteboard when he visits me at work, so I thought that one with a whiteboard side would be useful and importantly something that he would enjoy. I browsed a few different shops online and then found this double sided easel on the Argos site. It was priced at £29.99 which was around the same price as other similar products. I was drawn to this easel because of the large whiteboard side and so I purchased it for my son's 4th birthday. *Assembly* The easel comes in a very large box. It is not particularly heavy but it is very awkward to carry so worth bearing in mind if you are planing to buy one. Luckily we were able to park very close to the Argos store, however you definitely wouldn't want to be carrying this around town or having to use public transport with it. Most of the easel is already assembled, you just have to slide the lower parts of the legs into the upper part of the legs and then slot the middle tray in place. My Dad offered to assemble it for me and listening to him grunt and moan, you would think it was the hardest task ever, however it didn't look that tricky to be honest! The legs needed quite a bit of force to slide them into place but it certainly wasn't more than a 5 minute job. *Appearance* The easel is made of a strong durable plastic. One side is bright blue and the other side is a bright yellow colour which makes it eyecatching and appealing to children. The blue side has a big whiteboard and the yellow side has a blackboard. The whiteboard is also magnetic and you get a bag of colourful magnetic letters and numbers supplied with this product. Also supplied are a box of coloured chalks and some whiteboard pens. Both sides of the board have a big clip at the top which can be used to attach paper for drawing or painting. You also get a bright green tray that clips into place in the middle of the board. The tray is divided into three sections which are ideal for storing the chalks, pens and letters so that they are always handy. The entire easel is 107cm in height and 57cm in width. It is advertised as suitable for children over 3 years of age. I would agree with this as I think children aged 3+ would get the most benefit from the product. However, other than the letters and pens, nothing about the board itself is unsuitable for younger children should you feel your child was ready for it. *My opinion* I am so pleased I bought this easel for my son! It was absolutely his best birthday present, which is something he says and not just my opinion. I have found the quality of the easel to be excellent. It is very sturdy so even when my son is leaning on it as he draws, it never feels like it could fall over. Because the board is made of hard plastic it is very easy to wipe clean, something which is always important when you have young children! It is also a very good size and importantly, the drawing space available is very large which means my son can draw quite a few pictures (or a very big one!) before having to rub them out and start again. I have one small criticism, and that is that the drywipe pens supplied with the easel are pretty rubbish. They barely worked and were very hard to see on the board. Luckily I had also bought some heavy duty whiteboard pens just in case and I would definitely recommend getting additional pens if purchasing this board. I admit I was a little nervous about giving my son this easel after he had expressed such a dislike of drawing at school. However, as soon as he unwrapped it (yes, I did wrap it up and it took a LOT of paper!) he got so excited and wanted to draw on it straight away. The change in his attitude to drawing, as well as writing letters and numbers, has been amazing. He uses this easel every single day without fail and in just 2 months I can see his art work is really improving and he is gaining a lot of confidence, which hopefully will give him more confidence about doing art at school. On the very first day of using the board he drew his first stick man, something he had never done at home before. I think he must have been shown how to at school, as he even gave the little man some eyebrows and a belly button! Because of the board, his dad and I got to see his drawings for the first time really, as he had been so reluctant before. I, of course, spent the next week taking photos of every picture he drew on the board. I would recommend this as a nice way to save some of the work done on the easel. His first stick man picture was too precious to just be rubbed away, but obviously that is the point of a whiteboard, so instead I wrote the date on the board next to the picture and took a photo of it. Now I get my permanent keepsake and my son can still use his board! My son's favourite way to use the easel is to draw on the whiteboard side, but there are many other ways to enjoy this board: * The blackboard side is great for drawing too and we tend to use this side to attach paper using the big clip. My son can then use his crayons and stamper pens. * Recently he has asked me to teach him how to write numbers using the whiteboard. I write a number then he tries to copy it. When we have tried this on paper he gets frustrated when he makes mistakes however if he makes a mistake on the whiteboard he can just rub it out and try again. I think this is the main appeal for him as he can instantly forget any that go wrong as they aren't there anymore. This is a big help for his confidence as he can be rather self-critical. He has also started writing letters and small words this way. * I bought a set of early reading magnetic words and we have stuck a few of these onto the magnetic side. He then practices sounding the words out when he chooses. * We use other magnet sets just for fun, we currntly have various Star Wars magnetic people dotted around the board. * We leave messages for him to try and read, usually simple things like 'Hello my boy'. * On Christmas Eve, Father Christmas left a message on the board!