This was a present for my 3 1/2 yr old daughter. She's been able to recognize the letters for a while now and knows all the sounds they make, but she hadn't even begun to start writing them yet. She's in preschool and she'd bring home worksheets where I could see they were trying to teach her to write the letters but she didn't seem to be getting it at all. This is definitely one of her favorite Christmas presents and she's still playing with it almost every day. She TOTALLY knows how to write a bunch of letters now, though! It's amazing!!! I'm sure that her preschool also helped some, but it's like this gave her the ability to do it with confidence (since she's just tracing over the lights) and it's a fun way like a video game. She still can't write all the letters, but she knows at least 2/3 I'd say and the best thing is she can write them in upper and lowercase, which is something my older daughter really struggled with since she only ever practiced capital letters. Her favorite thing to do while we're sitting in church now is for us to take turns drawing letters on each other's backs and then guessing which letter it was. I honestly can't believe how much this has helped her learn to write letters and it hasn't even been a month!
There were 2 things that weren't what I was expecting when I got this, so I'll quickly share those, too. The screen that they write on is sort of like those old wax boards we had when we were kids (in pre magna doodle days =), where you'd write with the pencil onto the thin sheet on top and when you were done you'd lift it up to separate it from the piece underneath and erase it (hopefully you know what I'm talking about). When you move the slider across to erase it's separating a top layer of that type of thin paper stuff from the underneath. I don't mean it's wax underneath, but it just reminded me of those things. Like, for example, you can just use your fingernail to write on the screen instead of the pencil thing it comes with. It seems a little more fragile than a harder screen like a magnadoodle or the things you sign your name on in the grocery store credit card machines, but it's still okay, and because it's like that probably lends to the very low price. My kids are really rough on toys so they've been able to put a few minor indentations in it from pressing a ball point pen onto it (the pen marks washed/rubbed right off, though!), but it still works fine and isn't too distracting.
The 2nd thing is because I thought it was more like a computer screen, I thought it would be able to know what the child wrote and say something like "great job!" if they traced it correctly or "try again" if they didn't. It doesn't know what they write so when they're done writing the letter and they press the little paw button to say they've finished it just says the letter and says the sound it makes. Then it tells them to use the slider to erase and points up for them to pick another letter. BTW, it has really great instructions in a clear, easy-to-understand voice which is nice because my daughter is never bringing it to me saying she doesn't know what to do next.
My daughter loves writing notes for me now and when she asks me how to spell something and I tell her a letter she doesn't know how to write, she just pulls this over and uses it as a tool to learn how to write that letter! It's such a wonderful toy and I would highly recommend it! At such a low price, it's a perfect gift, too! I'm more than pleased with it!
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