* Prices may differ from that shown
My son received this Aquamagic mat by the Early Learning Centre as a present from a friend for his first birthday. It was not something that I would personally have chosen as I am a fan of the Aquadoodle mats having purchased them for nieces and nephews and intended to buy him one of these when he was a little older. However, we are always grateful for any gifts received so were pleased to have got this.
Looking online, this mat retails at £15 (although currently has £3 off so is selling for £12). This is about the price I would expect to pay for a toy of this sort. The toy is basically a fabric mat which has a border of brightly coloured animals - monkeys, lion, crocodiles, giraffe and a bird. Inside this border is a light blue rectangle which is for 'drawing' on. To draw, you have a yellow plastic pen which has a white plastic bottom that can be unscrewed. The pen can then be filled with water and the bottom screwed back in place. The nib of the pen is felt and becomes damp with the water. When this is placed into contact with the section of the mat that id for drawing on, it makes a dark blue mark.
After a while (approximately 5 minutes) these marks dry out and the mat can again be drawn on. Therefore, this is great for encouraging children to develop creatively and learn basic skills like how to hold and use writing implements. The mat is easy to fold up and store and the pen is decently designed to fit into a toddler's hand.
At 12 months, my son was not ready for this toy - he did not really understand the concept of drawing and just wanted to chew on the pen. I do think a better lower age limit for this toy would be 18 months. Now my son is almost 18 months, he gets a lot of pleasure from this - he understand how to draw, can grip the pen well and loves to watch the effects of his actions. He also likes the colourful border on the mat and enjoys pointing at the animals so that I tell him what they are.
Overall, I would say that this is a decent toy but I still intend to get my son Tomy's version - Aquadoodle. This is a little more expensive but, from my experience, the mat is a better quality and bigger and the pictures disappear a lot quicker after drawing. My son quite often will get bored with the mat as there isn't a great big area to fill and it does take some time for the pictures to disappear. You could also do with having two pens for this so that you can play with your child or that they can play with a friend (not that there is a lot of room for this anyway). I would say that this could be a decent stocking filler for a toddler but it won't hold their attention for too long.
Fill the pen with water and then draw to your heart's content on the rewritable aqua mat. 68 x 54 cm approx. Age range: From 1 year. depth: 54 cm width: 68 cm