Blackboards, whiteboards and magic slates have always been popular toys for kids - I played with them in my own childhood back in the seventies and all three of the Madhouse kids have played or are still playing with them. There's something slightly addictive about writing or drawing then rubbing it all out and being able to start all over again with a clean slate. Dragons' Den winners Magic Whiteboard have taken this idea and transformed it into a range of A5 and A4-sized reusable whiteboard notebooks for children.
They can be used with any dry marker pens and are easy to wipe clean with a cloth, tissue or pencil eraser (or fingers, as is often the case with Pierre !). The great thing about them is, they don't smudge when you close them.
There are various formats available - plain white, ruled with margin, handwriting, manuscript (for music), squared/gridded (for maths) ... They even do branded ones for businesses.
Pierre has been having great fun writing little messages and copying words from around the house - although he obviously needs a bit more practice to stay on the lines ! I was surprised to see that big sisters Juliette and Sophie have also been asking to use them, so they obviously appeal to all ages.
Even more innovative is their wipeable and reusable colouring book, which is unlike anything I've ever seen.
When I saw that it only contained eight pages (like the writing books, but they also come in 40 page versions), I wasn't sure that that would be enough to keep Pierre entertained, but the fact that you can wipe them clean and start all over again as many times as you want means that that's plenty to keep you going.
You can use dry marker pens or dry erase crayons (in other words, wax crayons) which are both easy to wipe clean. The wax crayons don't work that well in terms of coverage - they were good enough for Pierre but the girls wanted a more precise and neat effect so they were slightly less impressed - so I'll be looking into buying some more coloured marker pens, because at the moment they only have a choice of blue, black or red.
We were impressed with the concept though and I'll definitely be adopting the notebooks instead of rough paper when doing homework. It saves on waste paper and also makes it easier to correct mistakes rather than scribbling out and rewriting words or numbers several times which makes them hard to read. They're also great for games like Pictionary or keeping score at Scrabble, or even for quick games like noughts and crosses and hangman - I'll be popping them in the Trunki to keep the kids entertained at the airport this summer !
If you're looking at this thinking that they'd be great to use at school, you'd be right too. Even better news is that Magic Whiteboard will be giving away free classroom packs from September - click through to find out more.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £2.49-£2.99 for the writing books, £1.99 for the colouring book
for more information : http://www.magicwhiteboard.co.uk/category/magic-notebook/
Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.