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ELC Blue Art Centre Easel

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9 Reviews

Brand: ELC / Age: 2 Years+

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    9 Reviews
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      15.04.2012 16:48
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      A great easel for your little one to grow with

      Two year old Freddy loves his Arts and Craft time, so when he received a ELC gift card for his birthday, it was no brainer that I was going to put it towards something to add to his craft collection. As he already has more paints, crayons, chalks and collage materials than you can shake a tail at, we decided to buy him an easel. While there are a number of different types of easel available, we chose the ELC Art Centre Easel that was on offer at just £30 as opposed to the standard price of £45. Although the Art Centre is also available in a pink colour scheme, we picked the blue and red version, and to be honest even if Freddy had been a girl I would have chosen the same as I think that the pink is rather restricted in terms of passing it on once the child grows out of it. While not heavy (1kg) the Art Centre comes in a rather large and unwieldy box that is quite difficult to carry, I know this because I picked one up from my local town and carried it home on the bus while pushing a stroller, which is not something I would recommend you try, so if possible get it delivered.

      On opening the box the Art Centre requires very minimal assembly, there are no fiddly screws to position or bolts to tighten, it's simply a case of opening the main body out and securing it with the tray. Both the main section and the tray are formed of tough, durable moulded plastic, that is easy to wipe clean, weatherproof and fairly lightweight. The main body is formed from blue plastic and double sided. On one side there is a blackboard while the other side features a magnetic whiteboard each of which is surrounded by letters of the alphabet moulded into the frame. Both of the drawing surfaces are slightly smaller than A3, giving a reasonably large area to draw on. There are also a pair of clips on each side that can be used to hold sheets of paper. The tray that holds the easel open is a bright red and has indents to hold pens, crayons, chalks or pots of paint and brushes. When opened the easel stands 106cm tall and takes up 55cm by 69cm of floor space, but by removing the tray can be folded to take up far less room. One important aspect to note is that the Art Centre does NOT come with any art supplies, so you will also need chalks and whiteboard pens to use the two surfaces as well as any other art equipment your child needs.

      The chalking surface starts out a nice dark black which gives a good contrast when drawn on with chalk. Freddy loves chalking on this side and will spend a good half hour covering it with different colour chalks, but even though he is just about within the 2-8 year recommended age group and a taller than average two year old he can only comfortably reach about three quarters of the way up the board. We don't find this a problem though as it just means that we know that the easel is going to last him a good few years. It would have been nice for the easel to have come with a blackboard eraser though, we use a duster to wipe off the chalk between uses, which leaves the board with a fine layer of dust. Then in the evening I clean the board with a damp cloth which leaves the surface almost as new for the next day.

      As the packaging (and website) state that you should only use the ELC whiteboard markers with the whiteboard, these are exactly what we use. The combination of whiteboard and pens is great for drawing, with it taking very little pressure to make marks. As the ink doesn't actually dry on the board, pictures do smudge easily and the ink transfers to hands a little too easily. To be perfectly honest we only get the whiteboard pens out just before a bath as Freddy does tend to get a lot of the ink on his hands. As with the blackboard a whiteboard eraser would have been a nice addition as paper towels do not do a fantastic job at wiping the board. As with the blackboard, I tend to clean it after use with a damp cloth and so far the board looks as good as new with no sign of staining.

      The magnetic aspect of the whiteboard adds another element to play when combined with magnetic letters, numbers or shapes. How well the magnets stick depends on the quality of the magnets themselves, but I can say that even fairly heavy fridge magnets stick well. One of our favourite ways of playing with magnets on the board is to draw round them with whiteboard pens and then remove them to see what pattern they've made.

      As well as being a chalk and whiteboard the easel is brilliant for holding paper for drawing and painting. The clips hold even a single piece of paper securely and the easel is large enough to use with both A4 and A3 sheets of paper., but smaller sheets aren't held quite as securely. While the tray is handy for holding bottles of paints, paintbrushes and paint and water pots, we were a little disappointed that it isn't large enough to hold Freddy's ELC paint palette. We tend to stick to using the whiteboard side of the easel for painting and any splashes easily wipe off of the board with a damp cloth. In fact paint wipes easily from the whole of the easel, as it doesn't soak into the plastic surface. Although the weather hasn't been particularly pleasant lately, in the summer we will also be taking the easel out in the garden for some outdoor painting sessions. That's the great thing about this easel, unlike those made of wood, this can be used outside without worrying that it will become damp and rot.

      Although as far as Freddy is concerned he is just having fun as he chalks on the blackboard, draws on the whiteboard or paints, I'm happy in the knowledge that this easel is helping him develop all important skills and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As he draws and paints his hand-eye coordination, fine motor and imaginative skills are developing all he is starting to develop all important pre-writing and pre-reading skills. By joining in with him and drawing pictures for him to attempt to copy, I am helping him learn to make sense of the squiggles that we call pictures and words. As he gets older he will be able to copy the letters on the edge of the board, or simply practise his writing and drawing. The magnetic aspect means that we will be able to use magnetic words to practise making sentences, magnetic letters to make words or magnetic numbers to practise sums. With a recommended age range of two to eight years, I can well imagine that this easel is going to be used for quite a few years to come and I'd say that the age range is just about right. There's absolutely nothing about it that would cause a safety hazard to the younger end of the age range, even though they may struggle to reach the top and at the top of the age range it may be just a little small and babyish. Saying that I could well imagine those over the age of eight still using it, even as an adult I find the chalking and drawing irresistible.

      As it is suitable for such a large age range, it's hardly surprising that the easel is well made and appears very sturdy and durable. I love that as it is formed of plastic it is easy to clean and doesn't soak up paint or other moisture meaning that I don't need to worry that it will rot. I also love that I don't need to worry that it will splinter or that metal hinges will start working loose or that it's so flimsy that it shuts with a nudge and traps fingers.

      In case you haven't guessed I can't recommend the ELC Art Centre Easel enough, it's a well made, durable, sturdy piece of equipment, perfect for helping a toddler develop their creative skills while still being suitable for older children (and it can be very hard to find long-lasting toys for a two year old). It would however have been nice if it came with just a few accessories, such as some magnetic letters, chalks or even just an eraser, but I'm not going to knock off any stars for this as it is clearly stated on the box that it does not contain any of these. If I were asked by the parent of any child aged between two and five which easel I would recommend, it would definitely be this one (and with five children of varying ages I've tried a few). It is far safer and durable than wooden versions and certainly has two year old Freddy's seal of approval. For those over the age of five, I would possibly suggest buying this second hand, but would think they would maybe feel it is a little babyish. Either way I would definitely recommend purchasing this during one of the ELC's frequent Arts&Crafts events, when it is significantly cheaper than the standard price and stocking up on a few accessories while your at it.

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        13.02.2012 14:09
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        Enduring fun, great for artists and non artists alike

        Four my little girls 3rd birthday we recently bought her the ELC double sided Art easel in pink (also in Blue). The item retails at £40 but we managed to get ours on a special for £25, ordered on the Sunday and delivered on the Tuesday, so very prompt service from ELC.

        The easel iteself comes in a large flat box and is extremely easy to assemble, just two bits involved. You open up the stand part of the easel and pop the flat tray inbetween. Hey presto, 2 minutes later and you can use it! When you wish to put it away, the tray slips our and you fold it flat and can pop it away in storage. A note to others, remember that this does not come with any of the pens/paints and products that are visible on the box so you will need to purchase paints, chalks etc in advance.

        My little girl is not the gentlest person around but the easel is very strong and sturdy construction with no sharp edges and corners to hurt ourselves on. The pink plastic frames the magnetic whiteboard on one side, with clips at the top for large sheets of paper, and on the other side the black chalkboard, again with clips to hold paper. The tray goes all the way through (creating A shape) from one side to the other and are plenty deep enough to hold magnetic numbers, paints, pens and chalks. It also creates a nice little shelf where our budding Piccaso's can leave their artwork whilst they move onto their next project. My daughter especially loves the chalkboard and spends endless hours drawing letters and various objects and then rubbing them all off again. The magnetic whiteboard is also very clever, we have magnetic numbers and letters for that side as well as paper so all lovely and fun but also educational too!!

        The easel has been a hit in our house and I would recommend it for any parent who wish to engage their children with some good old fashioned fun.

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          18.04.2011 10:19
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          A great easel though possibly a bit overpriced

          ELC Art Centre Easel


          Our little one is very creative and artistic and so for her last birthday we bought her this Art Centre Easel from the Early Learning Centre. It is certainly not the cheapest of easels being sold; selling at £40.00 (though we got it for a lower price of £30.00 which is a little better!) though as it is a product from the Early Learning Centre, you know it is a product which is safe and reliable.

          This easel comes in two different colours. The first being the specified blue colour with a red tray and hooks to hold paper up. The second easel (which is exactly the same apart from the colour) is in the colour pink with a purple tray and hooks. The easel is made of a strong plastic and comes in two parts when delivered/bought which take literally seconds to slot together.

          The easel is a double sided one for double the fun. On one side is a white board which enable the child to use wipe clean pens, clip on paper with the clips/hooks supplied and paint, or use magnets as it is a magnetic background. A couple of things I will mention here is when using pens and paint, the white board cleans off nicely, though any paint or pen marks on the outside frame takes a long time to scrub off if left to dry. Our little one decided to paint the whole one side of the frame and after a couple of scrubbing sessions, there are still a number of marks which we can not get out. Onto the other side of the easel; Here you will find a blackboard suitable for chalk (a couple of which are supplied) as well as a couple more clips/hooks. The tray slots horizontally between the frame when pushed out to make it sturdy enough for little children to put things on or lean against. I would not trust this for climbing on though!!! This tray has two grooves either side which is great to hold magnets, chalk or paint. Another point to keep in mind are the actual clips/hooks. These hold thicker paper to a degree, though a lot of the time the paper will easily fall out which can be quite annoying for the child and also annoying for a parent when a paint filled piece of paper falls on the newly cleaned floor! We usually bypass the clips/hooks and go straight on to sticking tape down on the whiteboard side!

          One thing I have noticed is the very top of the easel which holds the main frame together. After opening and closing it over and over, and moving the easel around, the fittings have become loose. You do seem to be able to screw them tighter though I have found that once this loosens, it is difficult to tighten up as good as new again. This does not effect the sturdiness of the easel (unless of course it comes completely apart) though it does make the top wobble more.

          Although it does have a few negative points, I would still recommend this easel (though do try to wait until the price comes down as £40.00 is a lot of money for what it is really). My little one loves it and it really enhances creativity which is great!

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          23.07.2010 10:33
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          A lovely easel that has provided a lot of fun in my home!

          Last Christmas I bought my 2 year old twins a lot of arts and crafts products, mostly from Early Learning Centre. One of the many things I bought them was the Early Learning Centre Blue Art Easel - Although you can also buy it in Pink. It cost me roughly £40 and it has definitely been worth every penny.

          The easel came delivered in a large, cardboard box with a picture of the easel on the front. The easel comes 'flat' within the box so you have to set it up and stand it up yourself. It comes in two parts in the box, the 'blue' main frame of the easel and the red tray for underneath.
          Each piece is a pretty lightweight, chunky piece of plastic with a bobbly texture to it thanks to the way it's designed. The plastic I noticed, is actually quite lightweight as it is hollow, however it is very sturdy and strong so don't let this put you off. The blue main frame acts as the double sided easel and the legs to hold it up. It is joined at the top meaning you can either 'close' it together to fit compact into a cupboard or a toyroom, bedroom somewhere or you 'open' it out to act as the double sided easel. The red, plastic tray fits neatly and securely underneath the easel, attaching to small plastic knobs poking out of the blue frame. You simply push the tray down by applying a bit of pressure and the 'gaps' in the tray slot perfectly onto the knobs. Once the tray is attached it holds the blue easel firmly in place meaning whilst it is being used by your budding artists it doesn't fold in and collapse. The blue frame for the easel has letters of the alphabet down the sides of it, which is a nice touch to the overall design. It is a fairly good sized easel, meaning it will last and grow with your children hence the reason I bought it for my boys when they were just two. The actual dimensions for the easel are as follow; Depth 69.5 cm, Width 55cm and Height 106cm.

          As I have already mentioned this is a double sided easel, one side is a chalk board and the other is a white board, which can be wiped clean. Each side of the easel has red clips at the top so you can also attach paper if you like. The chalkboard can be easily wiped down with a rubber, it doesn't seem to mark it or wear it away at all which is good. Chalk that is used on the board shows up clearly, and my boys have really enjoyed making messy, chalky pictures on this. Depending on what's used on the whiteboard this is also fairly easy to wipe clean. The clips at the top of each board are a brilliant idea, however they don't seem to have much grip unfortunately, meaning any paper I attach falls away with the slightest touch from my boys which is a shame as they love painting especially. I have resolved the problem by attaching the paper with blue tac instead on both sides, but it is a shame as I shouldn't have to do this seeing as these clips are meant to be for holding paper. Perhaps if they were designed a bit differently they would have more grip, but they seem to be to far away from the board to really grip and hold anything let alone a flat piece of paper. This for me has been the only downside to the easel, but I still love it and so do my twins.

          The fact is it double sided means more than one child can play with it and use it, which is a godsend for me as there are no end of fights and squabbles with my 2 over toys and god knows what else. I love seeing them both enjoy themselves, with the same activity at the same time with this easel.

          The tray underneath doesn't just hold the easel in place either, each side of the tray has a deep 'rim'. This long compartment, the width of the tray, acts as a tray to hold all the arts and crafts essentials. You can place paint pots in there, crayons, paint brushes, this provides a lot of convenience and sometimes prevents a bit of mess too.

          You can store the easel almost anywhere thanks to it being able to fold flat which is another brilliant point for me, I store the twins next to their wardrobe in the little gap that was there, meaning when it's not used it is out of the way and doesn't take up any space.

          I know £40 may seem a bit steep, but I think it is brilliant quality and my twins have had plenty of fun using it.

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            23.04.2010 21:49
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            A great easel

            We bought this for my daughters when 18months and 3 years old. They've used it almost every day for over a year now.
            The easel itself is made of sturdy plastic, its not flimsy at all. It arrives flat pack but to assemble you just have to open it out and attache the tray in the middle - it just clips on and then supports the whole thing. Once put together it's solid, but if you do want to take it apart again its easy enough to do so and fold it flat for storage.
            We ordered ours for home delivery and unless you can park right by the store I'd recommend you do this as the box it comes in is pretty big - about 4 foot.
            The easel has a chalk board on one side and a magnetic whiteboard on the other. Both sides have chunky plastic clips at the top so that you can attach pieces of paper. Personally I don't trust my kids with chalk in the house yet so we've just been clipping art pads to both sides and letting them both scribble away to their hearts content with crayons. The tray that supports the easel has moulded compartments each side and also one big one in the middle so there is plenty of space to keep the art supplies. It's very easy to keep clean - in fact, it's quite hard to make it look dirty. I can't see ours wearing out and imagine we'll be using it for years to come.

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            16.01.2010 12:31
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            Most children would love this

            My Mum bought this as a present for my then 5 year old son for Christmas 2008. He had started school in the September and loved role playing at home so this was ideal to set up an imaginary classroom. This is only available from Early Learning Centre shops and outlets and online. It came in a cardboard box and inside comes the easel and a tray that clips in the middle to support it. The easel is approximately 2m high and retails for about £40.00.

            On one side is a magnetic white board. I was a little disappointed to read in the instructions that pens were not to be used on this surface. I thought this was a little deceiving as it doesn't mention this in the information but when looking at the picture it does only show magnets being used on the surface. I had already bought some white board pens and they do work. I do have to bleach it every couple of weeks so I think the manufacturer had just said this to cover themselves. There are clips on the top to hold paper.

            The other side has a chalkboard again with clips for paper so you can also use it to paint on. The chalks show up nicely and brightly. The supporting tray that goes through the middle is also for storage. In between the board it is big enough for A4 size paper and either side it pops out in front to reveal a tray to keep all your chalks and pens in

            We have had this over a year now and my son loves it. We have found it is fun for painting, drawing and playing games such as hangman. His favourite is still playing schools. He sets up at the front of the room, writes the date at the top and gives a class to us and gets us up to interact with him. I also think it is educational; we use it to learn his spellings, help with his phonic sounds and practise writing.

            We have had this over a year now and the only thing wrong is that one of the top hinges has gone. Although this makes it difficult to keep still whilst putting together, once the tray is clipped in it is just as sturdy as ever. I would definitely recommend for all budding teachers, artists and public speakers.

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            24.11.2009 15:09
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            Your little one will probably love it a lot more than you do!

            We got this art centre/easel for our daughters second birthday and we needed an easier way for her to paint and thought it would introduce the idea of chalk.

            ~ The Easel ~

            The easel is basically made of plastic in either blue or pink and has a shelf that fits between the sides to hold them apart and make it nice and sturdy for the little ones to play. The tray has room for chalks or paints or magnets etc at each side and a big table in the middle where you can keep paper. It is completely sturdy when the tray is in between and the tray will easily come off so you can store it safely whilst taking up less room.

            There are paper clips on both sides of the easel but we only use paper on the white side as I'm not sure how easy it would be to wipe paint from a chalk board. You could use the other side to do chalk drawings etc but so far we only use the actual board. The white side is magnetic so you can give your little one a pot of magnets and let them play to their hearts content. There are also the letters of the alphabet down both sides so easier for a slightly older child to copy.

            ~ Is it worth it? ~

            We bought ours for £32 in ELC whilst it had 20% off and whilst my little girl loves it, I have encountered a few problems. The first being crayons DON'T wash off of the white board very easily and you'll find yourself standing scrubbing it for quite a while - not ideal when it's meant for drawing and painting. Paint does wipe off very easily but we've never let it dry on the board so you might encounter problems if you do it like that.

            The chalk side of the board doesn't clean very well at all and we're currently looking for one of the sprays to clean it up a bit better. I think this is the case on most chalk boards though rather than an actual design fault.

            They tray is good for keeping crayons and chalk in but I find it slightly difficult to store paint pots as the tray isn't wide enough. We end up putting either a table next to it or bending round to the tray in between every 2 minutes - a bit annoying for the price.

            I do love the fact that it's sturdy though and the compact fold is always an added bonus - though we have it up more often than not.

            Would I recommend this to someone else? Yes. It's perfect for our needs (despite the wee crayon problems) and our little girl absolutely adores it. It is a bit pricey but there are always codes flying around for 20% off so money is saved that way.

            No accessories come with the easel and I think ELC would have been better to include at least something but they do sell everything seperately at extra cost.

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              10.10.2009 22:29
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              Sturdy plastic easel for 2-8 year olds. Includes chalkboard, whiteboard and art materials tray

              I bought an ELC blue art easel for my 2 year old son last Christmas. It was priced at £35 at the time but with a 20% off voucher (sent to ELC club members at xmas and birthdays - you can sign up on their website), it brought the price down to a much more reasonable level. I had been looking around for a good child's easel for a while and this was on display in store so was easy to assess before buying. It was well constructed, practically designed and not at all wobbly, like some of the cheaper easels I'd seen.

              The easel is designed for 2-8 year olds and is made from sturdy plastic. It has a chalk board on one side and a wipe clean white board on the other. The red plastic tray easily attaches for holding art materials such as: pens, crayons, chalks, paintbrushes etc. There are plastic clips for holding sheets of paper in position. Whilst this appears to be a very useful feature, in practice the paper can slip about as the clips don't provide much grip. I have used masking tape to keep paper in place but have since bought a cheap paper roll from IKEA which i drape right over the easel for messy painting days. The chalk board side is great and really easy to clean with a damp cloth (or baby wipes!) after use. The easel is quite large but does fold flat for easier storage.

              I would definitely recommend this easel. It isn't the cheapest around but it is sturdy and good quality. Overall it provides a great little fold away art station for kids, that is built to last.

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                04.06.2009 21:22

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                Will last for years

                My son got this for Christmas when he was 2 years old and he loves it. The ELC art center easel is great for little artists, made from a strong plastic frame with a chalk board on one side and a wipe clean white board on the other side. It has a tray at the bottom of each board to hold chalk, paints, felt tips and crayons. The white board side also has clips at the top to hold things in place like paper. It folds down for easy storage but even folded down the easel is quite large, we store ours in the garage when it is not in use. The easel is easy to move when it is folded down and in nice weather we take ours into the garden. My son loves the chalk board and is constantly chalking on it and then rubbing it clean again and I feel that it will grow with him and we will get use out of for many more years and will help him with his drawing and writing skills as he grows. I would recommend this easel to all parents of young children.

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            • Product Details

              Sturdy plastic easel with chalk-board on one side and wipe-clean white board on the other. The tray holds crayons, paints, and handy clips to keep the paper in place. Folds flat for easier storage.