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I purchased my son these rubbing plates when he was around 14 months and I wanted to encourage his creative side. I bought alongside the ELC Mini Artist My First Crayons (see earlier review) in the ELC sale. At full price, it is around £8 but ELC have a large number of sales throughout the year so it is always worth waiting for these. The toy is suitable from 18 months of age.
The toy itself is a plastic 'clipboard' in effect with plastic embossed rubbing plates that can be placed in a groove in the clipboard. Paper can then be clipped in place over this and crayons rubbed over the paper to create the picture on the paper. The toy includes the art plate tray, one large double sided stencil and three small double sided stencils. Therefore in total, there are 8 different pictures to choose from. However, no paper or crayons are included so, if buying for Christmas, make sure you have plenty of these to avoid a disappointed child.
The plates themselves 'sit' in the 'dip' in the art tray rather than being fastened in in any way. I think that this is a slight design flaw as when my son has been rubbing vigorously, they have slipped slightly and this totally ruins the effect as the picture becomes unclear. The pictures on the stencils do appeal to my so - especially the fish. The little girl and little boy pictures are somewhat less appealing to him and he never chooses the tree! I think other pictures would have appealed to him more - animals or transport would have been nice and given up more to discuss as he select which he wanted to choose.
The art board itself is light and portable so great to take with you when you want to keep your child occupied - restaurants etc. Whilst this can be an advantage in this respect, it also means that it can shift around when my son is rubbing the crayons over it - causing him much frustration. I also find that the board works well with the ELC first crayons but not so well with ordinary crayons. My son will use these as he should when drawing, scribbling over the board. This doesn't give a good effect and the crayons need to be turned on their side and 'rubbed' but I don't really want to teach my son this as this may confuse him when we do drawing/colouring in.
Overall, this was a nice idea and is certainly different to other toys he owns, but my son just doesn't seem to get a lot of use from it. He doesn't find it that interesting or engaging and it doesn't hold his interest for long either. All in all, a colouring book is a cheaper and more well received purchase in our experience.
Help your child to pick a scene then place it onto the tray. Use the paper clip to attach a piece of paper over the top then let your mini artist rub crayons over it to create little works of art.Contains 4 double sided plates to create different combinations of pictures. This product can be used by itself or can be clipped on to the Mini Artist drawing desk (available separately)Ideal for developing early pencil skills and encouraging your child to scribble and draw. Age range: From 18 months.