“ Brand: Chad Valley / Age: 3 Years+ / Type: Drawing board with 3 magnetic stamps, 2 pens, 1 magnetic pen and an eraser „
As part of the 3 for 2 on toys in Argos a few weeks ago this was one of the items we bought. It cost £10 and because it's from a well known brand I was hoping it would be good quality. We gave this to our baby for his second birthday just 4 days ago and already it is a huge disappointment. I am extremely disappointed by it and only wish I still had the receipt so I could take it back.
When Hope was a toddler she loved her magic writing pad but because she used it so much we ended up having to throw it away after several years as it was way past it's best but we did get a good two year's worth of play out of it. When I saw this magic writing set as part of the 3 for 2 in Argos I couldn't resist it and couldn't wait for our little boy to have his own which he would hopefully love as much as Hope loved hers. I thought for £10 and from Chad Valley it would be a very good toy.
What you get is a big board to write on with lots of plastic around the outside with little holes for various writing things. The space for writing on itself is about 20cm x 12cm so actually isn't that big considering the size of the toy in total. On the left side you get 4 stamps, 3 have shapes on them and one is an 'erasure'. the shapes include a teddy's face, a star and a swirl. On the right side there is a pen which is attached with a string and then 2 marker pens. At the bottom is a bright button which you swipe across to erase the writing on the board.
Now the board doesn't just write in one colour, depending upon where you write on the board you will get a different colour appear which makes it quite exciting. I couldn't wait for our little boy to get scribbling and hoped it would help him to learn to hold a pen without it getting messy... oh my goodness how wrong and disappointed am I?!
Firstly, I noticed that this is actually really flimsy, yes it's plastic but it's a very thin plastic, not robust at all. It is the kind of plastic that if you drop it onto a hard surface you would get a crack appear. It also means that when you move the swiping button it bows a little. The screen is also really flimsy, it is easy to push down and so not at all toddler tough- as soon as they apply any pressure with the pen it starts to bow. I hoped that this wouldn't matter and my little boy could still enjoy it... I was trying to be positive!
The stamps were the first things he went for. He could get them out of the holes fine but they don't actually stay in with any form of protection so just putting this on it's side will have the stamp fall out. The pictures appeared on the screen without him having to push too hard. He then went for the one which is an erasure but we have absolutely no idea how this works. It has no effect what so ever. We have tried rubbing it over the writing but nothing happens, we've tried pushing it down, swiping it... nothing! There were no instructions in the box so I am still in the dark about how this works. The marker pens he grabbed, took the lids off and scribbled all over the board. I couldn't really understand the point of these as surely a magic writer is to make the picture appear by the 'magic' not by ink and surely it's to make it stay clean, you don't have to worry about ink everywhere! Anyway, I took the pens off him- why does he need pens with this set?! And then tried to wipe it off the screen, the ink did come off eventually but with a lot of scrubbing with a baby wipe so they really are not meant for this at all, I still do not understand why they were part of it. The pens have been hidden since. The actual magic pen is nice and chunky, he was able to grab it and scribble with it which he enjoyed.
Erasing the whole screen is done by swiping the button along the bottom and it will gradually erase the images... however, this doesn't really work. At first it took about 10 swipes to get the screen clean and this was hard to do- even Hope struggled so there was no way our little boy could do it on his own. On his birthday evening we forgot to swipe the screen, the next morning I came to it and decided to wipe it off but the button was so stiff I could barely move it. I tried turning the pad upside down to try and move it and had to really, really force it and then it still didn't erase the image! My husband and I have ran this erasure back and forth about 20 times and although the colours have faded it is still blatantly there.
So now that the screen can't be wiped this toy is absolutely pointless. I am so amazingly disappointed by this. This is a kind of toy that has been around many years so how can such a well known brand get it so very wrong? Yes we got it as part of the 3 for 2 deal but you still expect a toy to work, what is the point of buying 3 toys if one just doesn't work?
I do not recommend this to you and suggest looking for a different brand if you're hoping to buy one of these. My husband and I have searched for our receipt but cannot find it, I wish we could as I would love to buy my little boy something else that would actually work, I feel so sad that this was a birthday present for him and he looked so excited when he opened it and now it just is a rubbish toy that cannot be used. Huge disappointment.
Art and craft in my mind equal mess and stress however both my children love to draw and are very artistic. We often make long journeys and I am often on the look out for things to occupy the children however drawing in the car is banned ever since the youngest drew all over her seat!
I was very irritated that hubby had banned drawing as they would happily draw away for hours meaning less time spent listening to children's songs or playing eye spy the youngest can only every spy something beginning with P which is always herself!!!
I spotted these in the Argos book and at decided to purchase them.
What are they?
Essentially these are plastic art easels with a plastic stylus pen attached which allows you to draw a picture or right and then you can rub the picture away again.
Cost and stockist
I purchased these from Argos and they cost £10.99 however until January they are part of the 2 for £15.00 offer and there are 192 toys in this offer and for £7.50 this is a really good price.
Well without being too obvious no mess and of course being portable this can come anywhere long journeys to Nana's are far more interesting with drawing, we also play guess what the drawing is I am sure the 4 year old changes her mind at each persons guess but a very good game to while away the miles.
I also use this when we are doing home work as it is a good way to practise writing without having lots of paper and rubbed out mess on school books.
I really recommend this it is a toy we have had for a long time and with the pencil attached you do not have to worry about it getting lost, however the additional stampers are not attached and do end up disappearing (I expect they are with the matching socks!) However the loss of the stampers doesn't cause a major problem.
My budding Van Gogh's really love their art centre and for a toy that holds so much value it is easy to transport on journeys doesn't require batteries and can be used in all sorts of ways from the traditional drawing to playing games such as Hangman and noughts and crosses, as well as being used for educational purposes a good tool for learning spellings and doing sums on as well.
A brilliant essential in my Book and Daddy stops moaning about pen in places it shouldn't be!
I bought one of these for my six year old son and my five year old daughter last Christmas from Argos for £10 each because they had outgrown their toddler ones but they still like to do a drawing each night which they leave at the end of their beds for mummy and daddy to see when we turn in (aaaah!!! - I know, cute). They are also quite handy to use when testing them on their spellings which also saves on paper!
This item is made of sturdy colourful plastic and is a two-in-one product. First, there is a magnetic pen which is attached to the board and sits in its own slot (which is handy as it can't get easily separated and lost). This can be erased in the traditional way with the sliding mechanism at the bottom of the board which is easy for little hands to grip and move to and fro.
Second, there are two marker pens to write on the board with, one coloured blue and the other red. These have to be erased with a special 'dry' eraser (which has got a felt covering on the base) which like the stampers has its own slot on one side of the board. This magically erases drawings done with the markers. The three included stampers which have a raised picture on (namely a van, a heart, and a flower) can be used to embellish your child's/children's creations. The stampers and dry eraser are yellow, circular in shape and have a tubular handle that again, makes them easy to grip and use.
My children were very pleased with this present and immediately started playing with it despite there being several more pressies to open. They loved the fact that depending on where they drew with the magnetic pen or when they used the stampers, different colours would appear on the board (namely red, blue, green and yellow), making it a much more colourful affair.
There are however, some drawbacks with this product. The two marker pens did not last very long and soon ran out after about a month, if that. I do not know if you can get replacements for them from Chad Valley but there are similar wipe clean pens on the market that can be used with this board and special eraser to similar effect. However, after a while (even when only using the magnetic pen and stampers) the erase function does not leave the board as clean as it did with in its first few uses.
Most disappointingly, their pictures they like to leave at the end of their beds do not remain as vivid as they did at first and tends to fade somwhat so by the time we get to see them, they are a mere shadow of their former glory!
Perhaps they have just used this product too darn much which isn;t actually a bad thing - at least they enjoyed it!! However, seeing as we are only at the end of March, the deterioration in the quality is fairly marked but this can be picked up pretty cheaply so perhaps it's merely a case of getting what you pay for.
These boards have now been usurped by white boards with marker pens from the 99p shop. Although I am sure that they will go back to them they are not as enamoured with them as they first were. I know that can be said of a lot of toys but their love of drawing never seems to fade so if the quality had not diminished they would still be using these every day.
Thanks for reading. x