Monday, November 9, 2009

Review: I Can Trace!

Esmé's Mommy here...

My philosophy on educating my child is pretty simple:
  • I should set (realistically) high expectations,
  • I should provide lots of opportunities for learning, and
  • Learning should be fun.

I Can Trace!, a Big Skills for Little Hands book sold by Timberdoodle, is EXACTLY the type of thing that fits my philosophy! It builds early writing skills in kids ages 2-6 by walking them through 75 fun, colorful tracing activities that progressively lead up to actual number and letter tracing.

Esmé has had tracing opportunities since she turned two, and lately has started practicing her letter tracing quite a bit. She's pretty advanced for a 31-month-old, so I wasn't sure how she'd take to this book. She LOVES it! So far everything she's done has been well within her capabilities, but it's giving her extra practice in different types of motions, and she's creating colorful stories with her mazework and tracing! She loves reviewing the pages she's already completed, and she'd keep working through the book indefinitely if we let her!

The high-quality pages are printed on one side and perforated for easy removal - a big plus for keeping Esmé on task with one page at a time rather than rushing through the book.

My main regret is that I didn't discover this book sooner. Up to now I've mainly been pulling freebie tracing stuff off the internet, and it's been nowhere near as fun or as logically-flowing as this. And the book provides lots of helpful tips that I wish I'd had sooner - I'm starting to pay more attention to how Esmé is holding her marker and the direction in which she forms her writing.

If you have a toddler who you think might take an interest in tracing and 'writing' soon, I HIGHLY recommend using this book to get started. Not only does it provide a fun introduction to tracing, it comes with bonus activities and lots of educational information for parents.

I know I say a lot of good things about a lot of books on this blog, but I can't emphasize enough what a great deal this book is! If you're serious about homeschooling your preschooler, this is definitely worth the investment - at $10.50 it is the best buy I've seen out there in terms of workbook-type activities for the younger preschool set. I am all prepped up to buy the next books in the Big Skills for Little Hands series...

In addition to the book, we received a set of 12 Prismacolor Colored Pencils. I haven't had much luck with colored pencils in the past - we had a set of Crayolas that were nice and bright, but they broke a lot, especially while I was trying to sharpen them! These Prismacolor pencils seem more durable. I had one that broke twice while sharpening, but that was it. And Esmé enjoys writing with them. She particularly enjoys the bonus Art Stix (woodless colored pencil core) that came with the $8 set.

The pencils don't show up very well with the tracing activities. The book is so colorful that the pencil markings get lost, even though we use a blunt tip. So Esmé has been using her markers for tracing.

This is a Mama Buzz review. Thanks to Joy and Timberdoodle for the review copy of this book and pencil set.


Pepper said...

Just tonight I was making zane "dot-to-dots" and he seemed to like the before he got bored.

One thing with colored pencils you have to careful with them if you drop them or bang them you break the led inside the pencil. Higher quality is better w/ colored pencils.

ShEiLa said...

There is so much more available to Mom's than there was say... 20+ years ago.

Looks like a fun book.


Anonymous said...

I am a teacher. Just a tip. With this sort of book we laminate the pages so that children can use them again and again. Great if you end up having more than one child. You can use expo markers and they love doing it and also love rubbing it our\t if they do an oops and trying again.