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Last summer just before we went on our short holiday, we bought our daughter a couple of new things/toys, including this Tomy Megasketcher which currently retails at just under £15 although I have a feeling I got it closer to the ten pound mark when I bought it. My daughter had previously had a little non branded megasketcher, but problems started to arise when it came to rubbing out and it just didn't rub out the picture along longer. She had really enjoyed her previous one so we thought we would invest in a better quality one and I was immediately drawn to this Tomy Megasketcher given the brand name.
This Tomy megasketcher classique comes with a little pen attached by string that fits into a small compartment to store it when not being used. Tying the little pen to the board is a great idea and ensures it is unlikely to ever get lost unless severed. The pen has a fairly fine nib so it is suitable for older children practicing writing, rather than just scribbling from toddlers. Tomy actually suggest this product is suitable for children from 3+ but my daughter was just under 2 last year when we got it to her. I presume the 3+ age suggestion is related to the four small stampers that come with this megasketcher which a young child could choke on. My daughter has never shown any inclination to put these stampers near her mouth thankfully, but she was never left alone with this product as even in the car, where it was and is still predominately used, my husband or myself are always with her. The stamps that are included are a spiral, triangular shape, flower shape and a paw like shapes stamp.
On the right hand side of the board is the little nob that can be moved up and down to erase the picture s the child can start all over again. THis eraser works very well and even after more than 6 months of heavy use, it still works perfectly (moreso than the cheap one we previously bought our daughter).
I find this board terrific for the car. My daughter loves to stamp and scribble and it can occupy her for many a car journey and keep her going for a while on a longer journey. In over six months she has not grown tired of this product and I;m positive it has had a good effect on her fine motor skills as she has a good pencil grip when it comes to holding the pen. Recently she has become more interested in writing letters and some numbers, and this is a great medium to let her practice these - I can draw dots and she can join them up to get her used to writing her letters and numbers and she loves erasing everything again and again, just because she can!
All in all, a much better quality product than those cheap knock offs that are available - worth every penny!
My son developed a real love of mark-making/drawing between 18 months and two years of age and this was something that I was keen to encourage. Obviously, we invested in the usual - paper, crayons, colouring books etc - but I also wanted something that was less messy and that he could play with himself rather than being heavily supervised the whole time. We had an early version of an etch-a-sketch type product from The Early Learning Centre but the screen was quite small and the drawing implement was not pen-like. Therefore, I decided to invest in a larger version of a similar product and opted for this Megasketcher by Tomy. I purchased from Amazon for around £10, but I have seen the price of this fluctuate widely on Amazon - it has been less than this but it is currently priced at £14.29 (Dec 13).
The Megasketcher is aimed at children from 3 years plus but I had no problems letting my two year old son play with this. There were no real small parts (he didn't put things in his mouth anymore anyway) and nothing that I would judge to pose him any danger.
The toy is quite large in size - dimensions are 45 x 5.4 x 35cm but not overly heavy at 9g. It is made of a bright orange and blue plastic surround. In the middle is a rectangular grey etch a sketch style magnet based drawing screen. At the bottom of the surround, the words 'TOMY' and 'Megasketcher' are written in blue lettering. There is also a slot in which a yellow and green magnetic pen sits. This is attached to the board with a yellow string from it's middle. On the right hand side, there is the 'eraser' to wipe the screen clean after drawing. This is effectively a blue plastic sliding switch that can be pushed up and down. At the top, there are four plastic drawing stamps that sit in wells on the plastic surround. They each have a small cylindrical handle on their back to pull them from their slots and stamp them on the board. There are two in yellow plastic and two in green. The shapes provided are: a spiral, a house, a sun/star and a paw print. At the top of the plastic surround, there is a blue plastic carry handle for the child to pick it up by.
My son instantly knew what to do with this having owned similar toys previously but had this not been the case, the toy is very simple and self explanatory I can't see that there would have been any problem. The pen is comfortable to hold in his small hands and makes strong, crisp marks on the board wherever it makes contact. It is also sturdy and durable - having been dropped on numerous occasions where even it's string attachment wouldn't save it. There is plenty of room on the board to do a decent amount of drawing or even practice writing - where a decent amount of letters fit along the board.
The stamps are a decent size and easy for my son to grip. He does seem to apply excess pressure sometimes when he is using these but the board stands up to his heavy-handedness well. They make strong marks on the board, even with minimal pressure, and are clear and non-blurred. The resulting pictures are clear and it is obvious what they are - they can be used effectively to create bigger pictures or scenes, for example a row of houses or a trail of footprints.
The wipe clear slider is easy to use. It is not stiff and glides smoothly. Again, my son can be quite heavy handed with this and slide it too fast or with too much pressure but, again, it remains intact and fully working. This does need one or two swipes to completely clear the picture from the screen - I would have expected one full up or down movement to be sufficient - but this is not a big problem as my son enjoys the sliding motion of this.
As far as my son's development goes, this toy offers some good learning and developmental opportunities. It is good for his manipulative skills as various different grips are required - for the pen, stamps and eraser. It is a good introduction to the use of the pen for drawing and writing and we can use the board as we wish to teach him through play - letters, numbers, writing and recognising his name etc.
My son does, at times, get frustrated with some aspects of the toy. The pen being attached with string can irritate him as he doesn't always have the freedom he wants with it. However, from my point of view, had it not been attached we probably would have misplaced it by now so it does keep the toy well intact! He also sometimes find it hard to put the stamps back in their places after use (and remove them again) as they are held quite tightly in there and can be stiff to remove. Again, this is good for keeping the stamps in place when the toy is stored in a drawer/toy box though.
My son loves this toy and it has had plenty of use since we bought it - so it has been great value for money. It is very good quality and I think it is well worth the price we paid (and more). I would definitely recommend this for toddlers and beyond. It holds my son's attention well and he will play with it for a substantial amount of time. It is quite large though and storing it could be a problem - we store in a toy box but it does take up a fair amount of room and I don't like to stack too much on top of it because of the nature of the screen.
The crispness of the lines and clarity of the drawing on the screen makes this one of the best of these types of toys we have come across and I am very pleased with the purchase.
The premium screen of this much loved classic allows budding artists to draw clear, crisp pictures. The pictures magically disappear with a sweep of the screen eraser. The megasketcher pen draws thin lines with four shape stampers included to inspire their artistic creativity. Features - No mess, no fuss - Helps develop imagination - Suitable from 3 Years