Thursday, January 6, 2011

Phonics Toys That Ticked Me Off

I love educational toys. Love love love educational toys.  Because I have young children, and I do daycare, and I teach preschool to these children, I get to research them, buy them, and use them whenever I want.  For the most part I'm pretty good at picking out educational supplies and toys, but sometimes they wind up backfiring on me.

These magnet letters for the Leap Frog Fridge Phonics dealibobbers are one of those toys.



In general I love these dealibobbers! (fun word huh?) The single Fridge Phonics one teaches the letters and the letter sounds, the Word Whammer teaches the letters, letter sounds, and has different settings for spelling real words and creating words on their own.

                                
 
Both Thingymajiggies have a music button that when you press it, it sings the alphabet... this is a VERY popular button let me tell you.  And, thank the creators for including a volume switch!


These have both been well-loved toys.  Sadly though, the Word Whammer was purchased way back when Sweet Pea was 2 or 3 years old and we've lost most of the letters for it, and it doesn't work anymore, so that's a bummer.  Also sad, I have tried replacing the batteries for the single unit but it doesn't seem to be working anymore either.. it is only a couple years old. 


The only problem I have with this toy, and it's an annoying one, is that we have been using the letters as fridge magnets for holding various art and papers to the fridge... except they don't ever stay on the fridge. 

The are big enough to not be a choking hazard if they fall onto the floor and into the hands of a little kid, but they are also big enough to be really easily bumped into when walking around the fridge.  Not to mention Little Man's favorite thing to do with the magnets (since the doohickies aren't working) is to swish all the magnets within reach onto the floor, which means they fall to the floor, get kicked around, stepped on, and are always in the way when sweeping!

groan.

this has been an all too common sight for far too long.

I finally got sick of it and put up the thingymajigs and threw all unused magnet letters into a bag and hung that bag up in a cupboard.  I did not do this with any kind of cheer or good feelings... I threw the letters in the bag and stuffed that bag away as quickly as possible... I had kicked my last magnet across the floor!

Or so I thought.

Because we're still using some of the letters as fridge magnets.. because they are holding stuff up... they are apparently still determined to be on my floor.  When I knocked one down today I wanted to throw the damn thing out the window!

I guess a run to the store is in order where I can find a better type of magnet for my fridge... big enough to not be choked on or swallowed, strong enough to hold up paper, and flat enough to not be a shoulder hazard.

All this lamenting aside, they are great toys, but only under these circumstances:
Your fridge is located in a spot where you will not walk past it and brush it with your arm.
or
You keep the magnets in a container only to be brought out when used and put away when not.
for example
You wouldn't even need to use them on the fridge, play with them at the table, also baking
sheets make excellent surfaces for playing with magnetic letters or numbers.

These circumstances are what keep me from throwing my Fridge Phonics thingy away all together.  If I can get it working again (perhaps different batteries.. the ones I tried were unused but pretty old) I'll bag it up in a zippered bag and it will come out to be used at the table

I really don't know why I'm hanging onto the non-functioning-letter-missing word whammer.

That I should really just go toss out now.

All in all, it's a pretty great toy... just don't count on those fridge phonics magnets necessarily staying on the fridge.

3 comments:

CJ said...

You know? It would be a really neat and interesting weekly/monthly feature if you were to do toy reviews. Even I was interested, and I have no reason to have any toys around. Lol. Maybe you could even become a professional reviewer and be sent toys for free. ;)

Abby said...

That's a pretty good idea!

Amanda Hora said...

We have the exact same problem with the magnets all over the floor. It is good to know that we are not alone in that problem.

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