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PBS Kids: Animal Sight Words (10 Giant Touch-And-Learn Cards) PBS Kids: Numbers from One to Ten (10 Giant Touch-And-Learn Cards) Review by Donna Campos

PBS Kids: Numbers from One to Ten (10 Giant Touch-And-Learn Cards)
Brighter Minds Children's Publishing
600 Lakeview Plaza Blvd., Suite D
Worthington, Ohio 43085

These are two individual sets of 10 giant flash cards that have a write on/wipe off space on each card. The thick, sturdy cards measure 4 x 7 inches. Each set comes with a wipe-off marker as well as a handy "Ideas for Parents and Caregivers" pamphlet. Each set comes in a very sturdy box with space for the included marker. The unique feature of these cards is that the letters and numerals are cut into the cards (but not all the way through) so that the child is able to feel and trace the word or number.

For the Animal set, each card has a different word on either side, making a total of 20 words. In the Numbers set, one side of each card has the numeral and the other side has the corresponding number word. The pictures are simple and easily understood without background disruption or excessive colors.

The write-on/wipe off surface offers a simple line for copying the word, and the Numbers set includes a traceable example of the numeral as well. The Ideas pamphlet encourages parents to have children trace their fingers along the cutouts and then write the words later when they are comfortable doing so. Another suggestion is to have the children trace the words with their fingers while their eyes are closed and then guess the word.

The listed age level is 3-5, but our 7-year-old son thought these cards were wonderful. Once we began playing with the cards, he exclaimed, "Wow, now we can't mess up!" As a child with Sensory Integration Disorder, he took to these cards easily and chose on his own to play with them repeatedly. He was thrilled with the sensation of feeling the words. We have utilized write-on/wipe off cards before with no great excitement on his part; it was being able to feel the words that kept his attention. I thought of another way to use these cards: place them under a plain sheet of paper and let the child lightly pencil over the words to see the effect. The write-on/wipe-off feature is wonderful because it enables you to use the cards repeatedly for multiple children.

The one flaw we found was in the cutouts themselves. While the bulk of each card is a sturdy write-on/wipe-off surface, the cutout section is a standard card surface. The tracing line in that portion of the card is not as durable as the other write-on/wipe-off surface. Even with this minor deficiency, the cards remained a valuable tool because of the touch-and-learn feature.

These card sets were a hit for our family. The large, durable cards were easy to handle and fun to pass around the table. They could easily be used by more than one child at the same time. Sensory learners will definitely enjoy them, and older students may even branch out into new ideas. (Our son began cutting out intricate letters on his own time after playing with the cards.) Our family absolutely loves flash cards, and these sets are a new twist on an old favorite!

Product review by Donna Campos, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2006