Sometimes the simpler toys are the ones that can give a small child the most benefit. When Zackary was younger, we used to sit down together and play with flash cards and as a result of this simple “game,” he was able to recognize every letter of the alphabet and every number up to 20 by the time he was two-and-a-half years old. Benjamin, as the second child, doesn’t get quite as much of that one-on-one time but because he spends so much time playing with his brother, he seems to be developing just as quickly.
I’m starting to talk with him a bit about letters, numbers and sounds to prepare him for reading one day and I always have my eyes open for new toys that I can use to introduce my son to the world of reading. So when I saw the fabulous magnetic letter and number sets from Mudpuppy, I knew they were just what I had been looking for. I was delighted when I got the chance to review one of these beautiful sets for myself.
I received the Wooden Magnetic Letters in Playful Patterns to review. Initially I thought that the solid colours of the Painter’s Palette set might be better for letter recognition but the adorable patterns on these letters just looked too cute to resist. When they arrived, I knew I had made the right choice. The dots, checks and other designs on the letters were too cute! The letters came packaged in a fun little package shaped like a milk carton with snaps to close the top. I really liked the fact that the container could be saved and used for storage, but I knew that I wouldn’t be keeping these letters hidden away very much!
My stepdaughter was the first one to take the letters out and start playing with them. Despite the fact that she is thirteen years old, she had a great time arranging the letters. By forming a crossword-style design she was able to put the name of everyone in our house and the word “family” up on the fridge. I couldn’t believe how good it looked!
Benjamin soon became interested in the game and started pulling down letters and carrying them around proudly. I didn’t do much when he had a handful of letters but as soon as he picked out one letter and gave it extra attention, I crouched down and told him about it. “That’s a B. It goes buh, buh. B for ball! B for Benjamin!”
Benjamin loved this game and happily brought me letters to hear what I would say. At eighteen months, I know that what he is mostly picking up is the sound of language to prepare him for fluent speech, but even that is an important developmental step and the continuing repetition of names and sounds eventually begins to become associated with the letter in my hand.
The entire family enjoys playing with the magnetic letters to form words and phrases. I really appreciated the fact that the set contained two of each vowel and of the more popular consonants. After all, my oldest son’s name contains two As. With some alphabet sets, we were forced to use an upside-down V as a substitute. How nice that we didn’t have to worry about that with the Mudpuppy set! The bright colours and cheerful patterns give the letters great style and I adore the fact that they are made of eco-friendly 80% recycled wood instead of out of plastic.
I am so happy with the Mudpuppy Wooden Magnetic Letters and I have no doubt that it will continue to be a favourite toy as Benjamin starts to move beyond verbal speech and onto visual associations with the letters. For a useful and enjoyable classic set of letters with an artistic and eco-friendly twist, check out the magnetic letter and number sets from Mudpuppy today!
Buy It: Mudpuppy is very generously offering Mommy Kat and Kids readers 15% off their order! Use coupon code ZZZ2
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Giveaway ends 11:59 pm CST on May 15, 2011. Open to US and Canada