Update 4/13/16: I have been using the Wipe Clean books with Autumn since last September and we’re still using them daily. I’ve gone through and added pictures of her using the books in our normal places so you can see how we use them and why we love them.
Last month, my dear friend Lindsey asked me to throw an Usbourne party since she was a new consultant, and since she’e awesome I said yes. Plus, seriously, who says no to getting free books? Well, the party was fun and I actually ended up ordering some books just because I wanted to, one of those sets included the Wipe Clean Starter Kit. It has 7 workbook style books that each come with a whiteboard marker and different activities. At first I felt really guilty because I felt like I might have wasted money on some silly activity books, but now I actually realize they were an awesome investment. Coming from someone who avoids spending money on unnecessary educational frilly things… that should say a lot.
Autumn is only two, so some of the books were a little beyond where she is as far as writing skill, but that doesn’t keep her from enjoying them. We started using the Alphabet book right away, since we’re learning letters right now it’s the perfect thing for her. Just so you know what exactly we are using, I got the Wipe Clean Starter Pack, which has these books in it:
- Wipe-Clean 123 (here)
- Wipe-Clean Alphabet (here)
- Wipe-Clean First Drawing (here)
- Wipe-Clean First Letters (here)
- Wipe-Clean First Numbers (here)
- Wipe-Clean Mazes (here)
- Wipe-Clean Ready for Writing (here)
We pretty much use them all the time, and they look like they’ll really grow with her which excites me.
Update 4/13/16: I’m pleased with how the wipe-clean books have helped challenge her, but the content was entertaining enough on it’s own even she was still at the “just coloring” stage of writing. To me, that makes them worth the investment.
How We Are Using Them
I knew we didn’t need to give them all to her at once, because she wouldn’t appreciate them fully if we did, so we started off with the Alphabet book and then when that wasn’t quite so new and fun we switched it out for the 1-2-3 book. We set aside the First Letters book and First Numbers book for later on when she’s ready and then had the other three leftover put away for Autumn’s box of special things for her when Baby #2 comes along.
Appointment time – I go to the doctor more during pregnancy than I do any other time, so that meant a lot more time than she would normally have to sit and be bored. While sitting and being bored patiently is a good skill to have, it’s also nice to have something for those afternoon appointments when the wait is crazy long.
Long car rides – I’m a firm believer in using the time in the car for learning, so this is one more way to integrate something useful into our trips.
Meal and activity time – Usually Autumn helps a lot with meals, but sometimes when she needs to be doing an independent activity, this keeps her close by at the table and happily occupied. We call just about everything an activity, most of our day is structured into 15-45 minute times increments. They aren’t “scheduled” because I hate solid schedules, but having a timer for activities ensures she is continually happily occupied and not being destructive because she is bored and has nothing better to do.
Family trips – When we’re going to somewhere like a family member’s house I’ll throw one of the wipe-clean books in my bag with a marker. Ian and I both have big families, so sometimes Autumn needs something she can go do quietly in a corner that allows her to introvert (which, yes, is a verb in our family… basically we just let her go do that weird being along thing introverted people need – being an extrovert I don’t get this way often, but she does a lot).
What I Love
The books are great for taking places and I love the fact that I don’t have to go through tons and tons of paper to teach her tracing and drawing. I don’t mind using paper to teach her, but especially right now when is isn’t formal and she is learning as she plays, I don’t think it’s necessary to waste paper on formal work.
I love how sturdy they are. I have been using them for a while and love them. Seven months of use and none of the books, even her favorites, are showing ay wear. Part of that is that Autumn takes really good care of books, part of that is that we rotate them, but they are also just really well made. I think I have abused the poor books more than Autumn and I can’t even tell. 😉
I love the wide range of skill sets the starter pack had. When I went on the Usbourne website, I also noticed that they’ve released more wipe clean books recently, which made me excited.She doesn’t need any more, but later when she’s doing things like learning advanced pen control and times tables, they have books for those too.
What I Didn’t Love
I know it’s a little thing, but I need to find some kind of way to keep the markers attached to the books. Even the most responsible three year old is still a three year old, and I’m constantly having to go search for a marker because it got dropped or she forgot to put it away, or it got left in the car last time we took it out… that’s annoying. But I guess that in the overall scheme of things, that isn’t a big deal. There are a lot of ways I could do it myself.
The only other thing is pretty obvious, but sometimes work gets wiped off before Autumn can show it to me (not that I require that, she loves to show off her “tracing projects” and “writing projects.” I did figure out that I could have her use wet-erase markers to solve that issue. (Apparently these aren’t new, but I just found out about them. Where have these been hiding all my life? Thank you Amazon for bringing them into my life! 😉 This is the set we got, just in case you live under a rock like I do.)
That’s it. I love them and don’t regret getting them at all. I am actually looking forward to when I can get more that she’s ready for!