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Now that my little girl is getting older we wanted to get her learning and doing toys this Christmas rather than just soft toys and things like that. She has a fairly big bedroom now so one of the toys we got her was this lovely double sided easel.
The Early Learning Centre call it an art centre and I think that's an apt name for it as you can really make and do different artistic creations using this easel. We got ours in pink for a girl but you can buy them in blue for a boy as well.
The easel is made of a thick sturdy plastic and has hinges at the top of it so it folds together flat which makes it great for storage although that is not really an issue for us as we just have it out and up in our little girls room.
Like I've mentioned above this is a double sized easel. On one side there is a wipe clean chalk board and on the other side there is a white board. Underneath there is also a handy tray in which we store all of our chalks and pens/pencils etc. Once the tray is secured into place the easel legs will not move and you will not be able to close the two sides together so this makes the easel sturdy and safe and I feel safe leaving my little girl to play on it herself.
The chalk board is black and takes up the whole of one side. Chalk writes really well on the blackboard and it wipes away really well also.
The whiteboard is shiny and you have to use markers on it. I actually cannot comment on how well this side works yet because at two years old I am not ready or willing to give my little girls markers to play with yet. However, this side is also magnetic so we use it to write words on with our ELC plastic magnetic letters. They stick well and do not fall off and the brightly coloured letters make a nice statement and contrast against the white of the board.
Each side has two plastic clips at the top that enable you to attach a large piece of paper onto it by sliding the paper under the clips which secures it there tightly. You can then use the paper to paint on or to use coloured pencils on.
The Early Learning Centre say that making art is a wonderful way for your child to express themselves and interpret how they see the world. Using their hands for all kinds of art helps your child gain strength and precision, which are excellent for dressing and writing. Creative expression is also a good way for your child to enjoy positive self-esteem, and creating artwork is enjoyable. I definitely agree with this statement and think that this easel is a great way for her to achieve that.
If I was going to list one negative about this easel is that on each side it has the letters of the alphabet on it but rather than a start at the top and the letters so down, a starts at the bottom and the letters go up the easel. I just think it looks strange and would not be the way I would read my alphabet but its just a small complaint and one that can be overlooked as the letters are actually there in the first place and its a good way of learning letters and having them in my little girls sight all the time when she is using this easel.
The size of this easel is given as: Length 106cm x Width 55cm x Depth 69cm. It costs £45 and is available at The Early Learning Centre.