Monday, 24 August 2015

Product Review - Magnetricks

Hello again my lovely readers, I am back again to share more joy with the people. This post is actually a long time in the making, mainly because I tried really, really hard to get professional looking pictures, but given that I am *not* a photographer, and my biggest skill is basic editing in Photoshop, it took me forever to get anything even remotely good enough to do this post justice.

Now today I am going to do a very rare product review. As you guys know, I don't do a lot of these, because I don't want this blog to become a giant billboard. But every now and again an offer comes along that I cannot pass up, because I really feel it is a great product that needs to be shared. This is one such product. I was recently contacted by an amazing woman who has started her own business despite being a single mum to TWO kids under the age of five. I'm not sure if she's a genius or slightly mad, either way the products she sells are amazing, and I am honoured to have been asked to share them with you.

So today I am reviewing a product called Magnetricks. Michelle started making magnetic routine charts and reward charts for her children as a way to help maintain a proper routine etc, and was soon encouraged by friends and family to start marketing them for other mums and teachers trying to find a less wasteful way to manage the day to day routines.

So we were given two sets of magnets to check out and review, one was a reward chart in the shape of a race track (because thanks to Mario Kart Miss K is racing car crazy right now), and the other was a set of magnetic shapes, designed to teach children about shapes and geometry, as well as being heaps of fun.

I decided to use the reward chart in an attempt to get Miss K to start listening more. We're having a real struggle with her ignoring direct requests, or even using sass towards adults telling her to do her chores. I wanted to squash any feelings of entitlement she was developing, as we don't work that way in this house, all good things are earned, and one way to earn in this house is by being respectful. So the day the magnets arrived, Miss K and I sat down and I explained that every day that she showed that she could listen to all of the adults who care for her during the week, she'd get a new race car for her track. By the end of the 8 days she had managed to gain all of her 8 cars, and as a reward I took her for her first trip to the library. She was so excited to get to go and see all the books, and we even borrowed her very first book.

So the reward chart was a total success. I've tried reward charts in the past with minimal success, so I wasn't sure if we'd have much luck this time around, but she really responded to the magnetic cars, and the fact that I'd let her race each new car around the track when she earned it was always a treat. The colours are lovely and vibrant, so very pleasing to the eye, and they were a good size for little hands. I was also able to put the yet to be earned magnets higher on the fridge so she could still see them, and see how close she was to earning all of her cars, so that was a good incentive too. The beautiful thing about using magnets is that the reward chart is completely reusable. If I wanted to I could go back and do another week of concentrated listening, or I can use any of the other 8 options that come with the reward chart. It even includes two blank magnets so you can come up with your own behaviour you want to practice. The only issue I can see with that is that the pictures on the magnets are printed on glossy paper, so the blank is a one time use only, as any markers you draw on it with will not come off, and trying to clean the magnets will destroy the printed image. However I think you could make it reusable by covering it with clear contact, or another type of plastic/acetate adhered to the top of it, so that's always a good option.  The Magnetricks website even includes a post which helps you to get the most out of your reward charts, with handy tips and tricks you can use to get the most out of any effort to teach a new behaviour, or correct an old bad habit.

Just some of the behaviors you may wish to modify as a stressed parent.

The other magnetic product we had to play with was the shapes. This set came with 43 magnets in 7 different shapes and various sizes to play with. Miss K and I both had a lot of fun playing with these magnets and trying to come up with different pictures we could build using the shapes.

These are great for encouraging imaginative play, and I was amazed at the different pictures Miss K was able to come up with on her own once she got started. She made shooting stars and people and a tree, and together we built a robot and a train. The magnets have gotten plenty of use over the past few weeks, and I love that she's got something to occupy herself while I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner or cleaning up, (on the odd occasions when that actually happens,) so it keeps her out of my hair right when I need it. The other thing I liked about these was that the magnets stacked on top of each other well, and were easy to separate when you wanted to build a new picture, making the possible combinations endless.

A train, complete with gigantic smoke stack.

The images are printed on thin magnets, which I thought would make them less likely to stick onto metal, but the magnet is surprisingly strong for something so slim, so you don't need to worry about them ending up all over the floor like other magnets for kids I've seen in the past. The other good thing about them being so thin is they ship flat, so postage is cheaper, and apparently they are less likely to cause harm if swallowed by small children. Of course given the risk, you do need to supervise small children when they are playing with these magnets just to make sure that doesn't happen.

I *think* this one is a robot. 

All in all I am super impressed with these magnets. They are so bright and cheerful, fun to play with and very easy to use. They were shipped to me very quickly, (which is always a good thing) and the available range is pretty big. Aside from the reward charts and shapes there are routine magnets, vocabulary magnets, communication aide magnets, and some just for fun sets (including Minecraft characters for any of you Minecraft nuts out there.)

So if you or anyone you know is in the market for a fun, educational toy for your kids, or something designed to make your life run a little bit smoother, then head on over to the Magnetricks website now and check out their awesome range. 

Now because I live in Australia, I don't actually have to disclose when I receive goods in return for a blog post, usually because it is implied, however in the interests of transparency, I will say that I received these magnets in return for reviewing them on my blog. The opinions I have given are all my own. The fact that these magnets are freakin' awesome just made my job even easier.

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