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This was purchased for my daughter at Christmas when she was two years old, she took a little interest in the ABC song and then it was put to one side and forgotten about. Now she is learning about her letters at nursery she has suddenly taken an interest in it and really likes the toy although I must admit I have reservations.
The toy was about £15 when it was bought but this was over a year ago and it now seems that it has been updated a little and probably wouldn't be found in main shops. The toy is magnetic so that the child can play with it at the fridge but my daughter prefers to play with it just as a normal toy. There is a base unit which supposed to be a shining sun over a blue cloud with rain markings on the cloud. There is a music button which plays the ABC song and then a space within the sun for each letter to be placed, when a letter is placed in the sun the child simply presses the letter down and then the toy will sing a little song about the relevant letter. There is also a slider which has three settings, off low volume and high volume. The toy takes 3 x AAA batteries but we haven't had top replace them as yet so it doesn't take much battery power to run it.
A white plastic little cartridge represents each of the letters of the alphabet, the letter is on the cartridge and all the letters are brightly coloured in blue green, red and yellow. The cartridges have one curved edge and one straight edge so they can only be placed into the toy one way so as the child learns the letters the correct way up. All the letters are written in lower case and are each magnetic.
Playing with the toy is very easy and my daughter has no problems placing the cartridges in the toy and playing the music etc, the letters are written in lower case however the ABC song is sung in upper case which makes me wonder how much this could confuse my daughter. Each letters song also refers to the letter in upper case and tells the child what sound the letter makes for example "S says sssss, S says sssss, every letter makes a sound S says sssss. The language isn't the clearest and when my daughter tries to make the sound ssss she ends up blowing down her nose trying to make the sound with her nose rather than her mouth as she thinks that's what it sounded like.
The toy is a good idea but doesn't really fit with how children are taught letters at school, my daughter is learning the lower case names with the sounds at school as they say this is the best way for them to learn although she doesn't seem to get too confused with the toy so maybe it's not too much of a problem. She really does enjoy this song and it has taught her the full alphabet in a very short time so I'm just hoping there is no confusion to come.
My 2 year old daughter received this set for Christmas last year, and with her being so young I didn't hold out much hope of her actually learning anything from it, especially at this early stage in her life. She could barely string words together, never mind recognise letters.
The Fridge Phonics magnetic letter set contains 26 lower case magnetic letters, and a small magnetic housing/letter reader that attaches to the fridge, or any other magnetic surface (radiator?) The idea of this toy is that your child can choose a letter, place it in the housing and then hear the sounds it makes, and also a little jingle.
For instance, if you place the letter 'a' in the reader you will hear something along the lines of:
"A! A says 'a'. Every letter makes a sound, A says 'a'"
At least that's what it sounds like to me. And these words are spoken by an English woman with a more than slightly irritating and overexcited voice.
There is also a little music button on the letter housing, press this to hear the well know 'ABC' song - this is actually quite good for getting kids to learn the alphabet. Well I say alphabet, my 2 year old has learnt the song, but when you listen carefully to her singing, she has no idea what she is singing about and the letters all mingle into one word - she actually starts the song with "AMYSEEBEE" - which translates to "ABCD", it is actually quite amusing!
The learning path that your child is meant to take with this toy is to start to understand letter sounds, letter names and fun songs.
**Why does it fall short?**
First of all, with this being a 'fridge' toy, I guess the idea behind it is that whilst you as a busy Mum (or Dad) are in the kitchen preparing breakfast, dinner or tea, washing up, ironing...the list goes on, your child can sit at the fridge and entertain themselves using this toy. And this is the first failing - I really cannot see a child actually learning something as complex as letter sounds from using a toy on their own, however good it might be. This sort of thing needs adult input, and busy kitchen time does not allow for adult input!
Secondly, although it is great that the toy talks to the child and basically tells them everything they need to know about a particular letter, the clarity of the voice is not great, and it is very easy to get the sounds mixed up. For instance 'F', 'S' and even 'X' all sound pretty similar when shouted through a tiny speaker; 'B' and 'D' also sound the same.
So you see, a child could find this very confusing. Also when the unit is making the phonics sounds, it is very difficult to pick up what sound it is actually making. I have no idea about phonics at the moment as neither of my children have started school yet, and this toy is making no in-roads in my phonics education, so I doubt it assists children very much either, especially 2 year olds.
Thirdly, and this is a major failing - the housing does not even recognise some of the letters correctly, I have know a 'K' come up as a 'Y', and 'A' as a 'D' and so on. I'm not sure why this is happening, but it has happened from the start of use and has not really improved. So again, this is just confusing for a child. But saying that, my 2 year old pays no attention to what she is putting in the letter housing and probably pays no attention to what it is telling her, she just likes to make a lot of noise while I am concentrating in the kitchen.
**Are there any good points?**
Well both my 4 year old and 2 year old like pressing the music button and listening to the ABC song. They tend to run in the kitchen, press the button and run out again and dance with their toys. This sequence is repeated several times over.
The magnetic letters are quite entertaining for my 2 year old, she likes to put them in and out of the housing, but she also likes to move them about the fridge. I have often found them wedged on top of the fridge, down the side, and also in my pan drawer.
My 4 year old likes to line the letters up on the fridge in colour sequence, there are blue, yellow, red and green letters. She's very organised like this and having colours to sort through is very therapeutic for her I think. With her being older, she also tends to get more use out of the actual phonics side of things, but often asks me what the unit is saying as she cannot understand it most of the time.
So although it is a toy that gets played with (if only briefly) most days, it is definitely not an educational toy by any means. Not in our house anyway.
I do not really recommend this toy, either as an educational one, or just for entertainment value. The voice is irritating and unclear, the letters are not always recognised in the housing, and I basically think that too much educational hope is hinged on toys like this. If you want your child to learn phonics, then an electronic toy such as this is not the answer.
I think Leapfrog have upgraded this toy to a newer version, but the one in the picture (the same as the one we have) is available from Amazon, Toys R Us, Argos, and Tesco Direct. Prices vary but they are £14.97 from Tesco & Toys R Us, which is about average.
Recommended for 2 years +
Requires 3 x AAA batteries which come supplied with the unit.
I bought my daughter the Fridge Phonics set for her 2nd Brithday and have been really pleased with it.
The set comprises of 26 magnetic letters, all of which are about 5 cm wide, 4cm high and 2 1/2 cm deep. They are nice and chunky, so easy for little hands to get a grip on.
The main unit takes 2 AA batteries and also attaches to your fridge magnetically. There is a switch on the front of the main phonics unit which allows you to turn it on and off and hs 2 volume settings. There is also a button which when pressed sings the alphabet song.
Each of the letters can fit into the main phonics unit. When pressed in the unit says the letter name and sings a short phonic song relating to that letter.
I have a silver coloured fridge and found that the letters scratch the surface when my daughter slides them around, so they are now banned from the front and have to be used on the side of the fridge.
My daughter has learned a lot from this set and we often use the letters on their own just to make up words on the fridge.
The letters are a good size, so not a choking hazard and would be very difficult for a child to swallow.
I often see this toy on offer for less than £10. I was lucky enough to get it for £4 at which it was an absolute steal. Even at the standard price however, I would say it's well worth the money as it's very educational.
I hadn't seen this before it was bought for my son a couple of years ago for his fourth birthday. It comes with all of the letters of the alphabet and a magnetic console that fits one letter in at a time. He seemed relatively impressed and we set about putting all the magnets on the fridge.
The basic principle is that you choose a letter, insert it into the console and it sings a little song that tells you the name of the letter and the phonic sound it makes. It also sings the alphabet and has two volume settings.
My son used to love this, he would spend ages singing along with the alphabet song until he could sing it on his own which is definitely a positive even if a little parrot fashioned. My son is now six and a little old for this but my two year old can now recite the alphabet too. The problem is the song could be learnt with some sing songs with your children, not spending money buying this.
Although they have both put different letters into the console, it hasn't helped them to learn the phonic sounds. I think this is for a couple of reasons:-
Firstly, the letters are all capitals not small letters; children learn their phonics using the small letters so this is a contradiction of what they will be taught in school. Secondly, the rhyme isn't particularly catchy and 26 different rhymes is a lot for any child to learn.
I find it much easier to use books to help my son learn his phonics, not a gimmicky toy. I think leap Frog are just jumping on the phonics bandwagon, thinking that by including the word in its title will make people believe it will help their child learn.
The kids do play with this, but don't really use it as an educational toy as it is meant, so that is why I have given it 2 stars.
This has to be one of the most annoying yet educational toys ever.
It is really well designed with 26 capital letters included and magnetic reader. Simply place the magnetic letters directly on the fridge to spell out words or put one of the letters on the reader and it will tell you the letter and a word which starts with that letter when in letter mode. It also has a separate mode for songs. The songs are all about letters and the alphabet. They are really annoying and I find myself making dinner and humming along with this leapfrog products.
It has now been on our fridge since Christmas and my children all love playoing with it. Even my 21 month old is trying to sing along and repeats the letter that the reader tells her. I dont think she will have any trouble when she starts school. So far the batteries are showing no signs of running low which is excellent as this is used everyday.
The "Fridge Phonics" toy is an educational toy made my Leapfrog. "Phonics" are taught in many schools across the UK these days. Instead of teaching the alphabet A to Z, the phonics (the sounds each letter makes) are taught. The first group of sounds to be taught are S A T I P N. This is because, these 6 letters make up more simple 3 lettered words than any other in the alphabet. There are also double sounds, such as oa, ai, sh, th etc.
Fridge Phonics consists of a small main unit and 26 magnetic letters, which are all upper case. The main unit is battery operated and takes 3 size AA batteries which are included. It is also magnetic. It's not to large for small hands - my 13 month old holds this with ease. On the front of the main unit there is a recess for the letters to fit into. Underneath is a volume switch with a quiet or loud option and there is a button in the shape of a musical note, which sings the alphabet song when pressed. It is mainly green and blue in colour.
The purpose of the toy is obviously to assist in learning the alphabet and reading. When the letters are placed into the recess, they will hold in place with the magnets and when pushed, will sing a song about the letter and the sound it makes. For example, when A is placed in the main unit, it sings "A says ay and A says ah. Every letter makes a sound, A says ay and ah". The letters don't need to be pushed hard, so it is easy enough for young children to use.
The letters are also colour coded in their "groups" (eg S A T I P N are coloured red).
I have to admit, when I bought this I didn't think it would be played with much. I hadn't set out to buy it intentionally, in fact, the only reason I did get it was because I was buying 2 items in the Boots gift range last year and so needed a third free item.
My oldest daughter is 6 and she has no use for the base unit. She knows all her letters and sounds and can read and write very well, but this is not to say that she doesn't use this at all. She loves to play with the magnetic letters. She spells out words and leaves me messages on the fridge door. Out of my 3 children she probably uses this the least though.
My son, who has just turned 5 and is in his first year at school is currently learning jolly phonics in the classroom. He has probably had the most benefit from this toy. He is difficult to teach as he has a short attention span and if he has no interest in something, he just wont do it. He has what is called a "sound book" at school where they stick the letters in and learn an action to go with the sound. For example for A you use your fingers of one hand to mimic ants crawling up your other arm and you say "ants, ants, ants on your arm". It's a very effective way of teaching, however, my son doesn't take to it very well. I'm supposed to go through the sounds with him every night at home, but he has no interest and refuses point blank to do it. His teacher doesn't think he knows his sounds, but if I sit in front of the fridge with him, I see something very different. My son can tell me the sound that most of the letters on the fridge make. If I use the letters to make 3 lettered words, he will say the 3 sounds one after the other and then tell me what the word says without any help from me. He will also use the letters to make words. If I ask him to make the word "hat", he will sound it out "h" and find the H, "a" and find the A, "t" and find the T. We usually take turns about at this, so when he asks me to make "car" and I remember it begins with C but get stuck on what comes next, he will know and find the next letter for me. There are about 4 or 5 exceptions, where he hasn't learned the sounds yet, but when he comes across this, he will put the letter in the base unit to find out. Likewise, if he is trying to make a word and doesn't know what letter makes the sound he needs, he will try all the letters he doesn't know in the base unit until he finds the right one. For my son, this really is an invaluable learning tool.
Now I come to my youngest child - my 13 month old daughter. Now being only 13 months, she isn't too bothered about which letter makes what sound. However, she does love music and putting shapes into holes, so she will spend hours putting the letters into the recess, making them fit and then pressing them, to be rewarded with a catchy little tune. She will also press the button to play the alphabet song every now and again and has a wee dance. She never seems to get bored of this. When we're running around daft on a morning getting ready for school, I sit her at the dining table with the main unit and a few letters and she'll sit and play for as long as it takes us to get ready.
Fridge Phonics is strong and sturdy, made from hard plastic and very durable. It has been dropped from our table onto wooden flooring many a time and is still going strong. The batteries last well too, we still haven't had to replace ours in the year we've had it.
There are 2 slight disadvantages of this toy that I have found. The most important being that it does not include any of the double sounds. It makes up for this by singing that some of the letters have 2 sounds. This hasn't caused any confusion for my son (or my oldest daughter), but it may do in the future and is something I would've liked it to have.
The second disadvantage is very slight and one that's easy enough to live with and that's the songs. They are very catchy and stick in my head so I go around singing them all day. For me personally this is worsened by the fact that they are sung with a very strong English accent. I am Scottish, so when I go around singing alphabet songs in a proper English voice I do not look (or sound) like the sanest of people. However, as I said, this is only a very slight drawback (most people thought I was insane already), so it wouldn't stop me using the toy, or indeed buying it again.
Fridge Phonics is available from Boots for £15.00 and is included in their 3 for 2 range.
I would definitely recommend this. In fact, I noticed that the one in Boots this year has lower case letters, whereas ours has uppercase, so I'm 99% sure I'll be buying that one as well. The one in Boots just now is also different in appearance, but has the same functions and purposes etc.
Overall it may not look great value for money, but it's definitely money well spent if your child is about to embark on learning to read and write.
I gave this to my daughter last Xmas, when she was 19 mths old, 10 months later, it is still very popular in our house.
In the set you have all the letters, in uppercase form, from the alphabet; and a "reader". All parts are magnetic, so as my daughter found will stick to our fridge, freezer, washing machine and tumble drier! She's had great fun moving this around our kitchen.
When a child selects a letter and puts it in the reader, the reader cleverly knows which letter it is, says the sound the letter makes then sings a song. Also the reader will sing the alphabet when a button is pressed. It has an on-off switch and two volume levels.
My daughter quickly realised how to put each leter into the reader, and in the early days was quite happy doing that and doing a little dance when the song was playing. Now she'll sing along with the songs, including the whole of the alphabet song and she recognises some letters and the sounds they make.
My older children also enjoy making words up on my fridge with the letters.
My only critisim is that I would also like a set of lower case letters and some doubles of the most commonly used letters.
This Leapfrog alphabet magnetic set is fantastic, I can't praise it enough. My youngest Daughter got this for Christmas when she was 18 months old. Straight away she loved pressing the button to make it sing the alphabet and she would dance to it. She could straight away place the different letters in the allocated 'hole' in the main part so that it would sing to her what the letter was. Soon after she would sing along and by the time she was two she knew the alphabet off by heart. She's now three and still plays with it with her younger sister who is now 18 months and she too has great fun playing and dancing along to it!
I don't think my Daughter could have learnt the alphabet any quicker.
The Fridge Phonics magnetic letter set includes 26 easy-grip magnetic letters and a magnetic letter reader that attaches securely to the fridge.
My parents bought this nifty little toy for my daughter at christmas-she was three this month. At first when they told me they had bought her fridge magnets i was a little dubious of them getting scattered everywhere and lost, but i have to say that now, i'm tempted to get another one, as my younger daughter (17 months old) is also obsessed with it.
The main compartment is a little green plastic magnet, around ths size of the palm of your hand, and has an indented section in the middle, where the letters can be placed. There are then 26 smaller magnets (but too large to be hazardous to younger children) each depicting a letter of the alphabet.
when a letter is placed into the indented space on the main magnet and pressed, it will sing a rhyme about that letter-for example the letter A sings 'A says AH! A says AH! every letter makes a sound, A says AH!'
this is to teach children that the letter makes different sounds-on the letters that make 2 sounds it makes each sound once, instead of repeating the same sound.
My children jump up and down excitedly when it's pressed, and my eldest shouts out the words-it took her 2 weeks to learn the alphabet song by heart from this toy-something she's never been interested in before-at the bottom of the main magnet theres a musical note button that when depressed sings a really catchy version of the alphabet song, that strangely enough even gets me and my husband dancing along!
It has been an absolute godsend, as i have two children that don't want to stay in the lounge when i'm busy in the kitchen, and used to follow me round grabbing at my legs! now they sit at the end of the kitchen, by the fridge and dishwasher and play with this! It also comes with a button to change the volume-it has a loud or a quiet setting.
I dont know what this cost, as it was a present, but it was definately worth every penny!!
This unit is amazing, we've had it 3 days and already our 2 ½ year old recognises 5 letters from the alphabet.
A little about the unit.
It is 4" x 4" with a "shaped" space at the top where the letters are placed. At the bottom right is the switch that turns the unit on; this has two settings for volume, which are quiet & loud. In the middle at the bottom is a musical note button, when this is pressed the unit will play the alphabet song. The unit and the letters will go onto a metal surface, as they are magnetic. The unit itself also has "keyholes" on the back that can be mounted on screws on a wall. 3 AA size batteries are required, although I do believe a set is supplied but may not last long as people obviously try them out in the shop.
I should point out that everything is in English phonics on my version i.e. the letter z is pronounced "zed" not "zee" - I'm not sure if this is different if bought in the USA.
The toy comes with 26 letters, as you would expect, in 4 different bright colours, the vowels are red and the other letters are Green, Blue & Yellow. When each letter is placed in the space on the unit (they only fit the correct way up) the unit plays a tune. This tune is a little repetitive and can get on your nerves, but you soon learn to "switch off". For example when the "A" is put in the unit sings "A says AAH, A says AAH, every letter makes a sound and A says AAH" right through to Z says Zzzz.
We paid £14.99 for ours and it's the best money I have spent in a while. Like I said our son has played with it every day (unlike the other annoying plastic letters that just get flung around the kitchen). If you ask him for the D for Daddy he will pick it out, and he does this for about 5 others as well. At this rate by the end of next week he'll have the alphabet sorted!
The only thing that would improve this, in my opinion would be to have a set of lower case letters as well.