Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Gift Guide - An Easel

A few years ago, while shopping at Ikea, my husband and I picked up an easel for my son. It has a chalkboard on one side, a whiteboard on the other side and a roll of paper on the bottom that can be threaded through to write on it on the easel (or rolled out on the floor, which is generally how we use it). The frame is constructed out of wood. If memory serves, it cost us around $15-20 and we have gotten more than our money's worth from that easel. (I wanted to share a link but when I went to Ikea's site I can still see pictures of my easel, but I can't find it listed for sale in the products?)

I have found that our easel, with the chalkboard and whiteboard provide endless entertainment for my children. They use both the chalkboard and the whiteboard, depending on their mood, to draw pictures. They will draw and redraw pictures, until they are just right. With our easel being two sided, it actually allows both of them to draw at the same time (if they can agree to each using a different side!). I've seen them use the board to "map out" their plans for playing - showing their path from the family room to the bed room to the basement.

We have used the easel to help my son learn and practice math. The easel is also a great way to write out the words for the kids to write in a card or thank you or other note. I write it on the board and then they can copy it into the note. Not only does this allow them write their own notes, making them more personal, but it also gets them in the practice of writing thank you notes and such, as well as a chance to practice their handwriting and learn spelling. (I am certain that this helped my son to get the nice handwriting he has). Now that my son is older, he uses the board to write notes to us and we write to him sometimes too.

We also will roll out the roll of paper on the bottom of our easel and use it to make long story board type stories in pictures. We have used it to paint and to draw.

From my experience, an easel with a chalkboard and a whiteboard is a great way to allow your child to be creative and to stretch their minds.