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Filo-Design with Laces

International Playthings

75D Lackawanna Avenue
Parsippany, NJ 07054

This is not your usual lace/sewing toy! I was quite surprised when I sat with my children to explore this product. Instead of threading the laces through holes, you thread the lace through a hollow pen, push the laced "pen" through a rubberized blank "canvas," which then holds that section of thread, and then continue with this motion until your lace is used up and you need to reload. The kinesthetic exercise is actually quite satisfying and unexpected. It is a cross between drawing and sewing by hand--quite a unique art product that is non-consumable.

This toy contains 4 hollow "pens," 8 colored laces (2 each in yellow, green, blue, and red), a red tray in which to hold everything, 18 large design cards, and a white rubber board with holes throughout that nicely adheres to and closes the tray. A wordless instruction and example booklet is also enclosed, offering over 20 additional examples of designs and pictures one may follow. The manufacturer suggests that children four and older are best suited for this toy. It retails for $20.99.

I have never seen a product like this one, though I immediately thought it to be like the lacing cards most families possess. My three-, four-, and six-year-olds have really enjoyed this product. I plan to pull this out for my littlest one while homeschooling the older ones. This toy would also be a nice, quiet form of entertainment for preschoolers during church service. You could use this just as you would use paper and crayons, and yet it gives your children an alternative means of artistic expression. Just have your camera ready, because the picture is erased as the laces are pulled away from the board.

Product review by: Tammy Walker, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, August 2008

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