Having already reviewed both the Boogie Board Sync and Boogie Board Jot 8.5, I was eager to check out this new Boogie Board with a focus on kids and learning.
Disclosure: I received compensation and a Play N’ Trace for this review. Opinions are my own.
Because my kids already have Boogie Boards of their own, I wasn’t sure whether the Play N’ Trace would spark their interest above what they already had. My first impression when I saw it was that it was clearly designed for small hands. It is shaped much like an artist’s pallet, has a stylus with a dual tip, a bright blue translucent screen and comes with a few basic templates (letters and numbers). It runs on battery power and like other Boogie Boards, just press the button to clear the screen. It’s light and although a little bigger than other Boogie Boards, I think that’s just fine for this product as it gives kids more room to create. Just like other Boogie Boards, you’ll appreciate not worrying about the potential mess that comes with markers, crayons and pens (especially while in the car).
The entire concept behind the Play N’ Trace is to let kids build fine motor skills, to learn to write, all while having fun. I knew this would be perfect for my 5 year old twin girls. They are both pretty adept at writing their upper-case letters. And just as we got the Play N’ Trace, we also got a progress report from their preschool. They both needed work on those tricky lower-case letters. I immediately had them working on the Play N’ Trace using the lower-case alphabet template. I moved them on to practicing their names and other simple words just by having them trace what I wrote on paper. A day or so later, I caught my daughter writing her name freehand with practically perfect lower-case letters – something she hadn’t been able to do before.
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What was unexpected about the Play N’ Trace is how much my son would love it. He’s 9 and a pretty amazing artist. I would have thought that tracing wouldn’t interest him because he can already draw most anything he sets his mind to. But then I realized he’s just like any other kid, or like me when I was young and had tracing paper. It’s just fun. He took the Play N’ Trace and had a hard time sharing. He traced book covers, photographs, lettering, patterns on blankets, even his dad’s face.
Two minor things. Keeping track of the stylus is a real problem for us. The problem is real. Just keep that in mind. Also, as with all Boogie Boards, when you erase, it erases everything and you have to start over. It doesn’t bother me, it is just part of the deal with this technology.
All around, we think this is a winner for kids. It is a great way to keep your child engaged, learning to write and beyond. There are accessory packs available for purchase and an iPad app is available which works with the Play N’ Trace which I did not review. I found my kids were plenty entertained and loved practicing letter and number writing without needing an app to encourage them. They found countless things to trace.