What fun! I had the pleasure of reviewing five educational magnet sets from Dowling Magnets: the Double-sided Play Board, Lowercase Letters, High Frequency Words, Bills, and Coins. As soon as my children saw these sets, magnets appeared all over my refrigerator, filing cabinet, and cookie sheets! From playing school and store to creating silly sentences, my children didn't wait for me to teach a lesson before they started learning from these sets.
The Double-sided Play Board is a very sturdy, two-sided, write on/wipe off board that also happens to be a magnet. One side of the board is blank like a white board, while the other side has handwriting lines on it. It comes with a magnetic dry-erase marker that has a built-in eraser. Because of the 8½ x 11-inch size (approximately), it's very handy for using just about anywhere.
The Lowercase Letters set contains 125 letters and nine blank magnets that are a little less than an inch each. A sturdy magnetic board comes with the set, so you can use the letters wherever you like. Both the magnets and board are contained in a reusable plastic bag, so all the pieces stay together nicely. A pamphlet of activity ideas for parents and four activity sheets for students are included in the package.
The High Frequency Words set is intended for children in first and second grades. The company also offers a similar set geared for kindergarten and first grade. Included in the reusable plastic bag are 60 colorful word magnets and a small booklet that's jam-packed with activity ideas. This set doesn't include its own magnetic board, but the words are easy to use on any magnetic surface around your house.
The Bills and Coins sets are realistic looking magnets, although the bills are smaller than their real counterparts. Plenty of money is included in each set for just about any hands-on money practice or play you can imagine. These sets don't come with a reusable plastic bag, but they are easy enough to store in your own zipper baggie or small lidded container.
Dowling Magnets offers many other magnetic sets that support math and language arts learning. Math magnet sets include fraction bars, fraction circles, pattern blocks, base ten blocks, clocks, and numbers with number signs. Language arts sets include word families, blends, long and short vowels, sentence strips, story sequencing, and more!
The only downside I found is that some of the magnets are rather small and can easily be lost. However, isn't that true of just about any manipulative we keep in our homes? Because of the small parts, the magnets are not recommended for children under three. All other children are fair game, and I have a feeling there aren't too many who won't absolutely love playing and learning with whichever magnet sets you choose.