Perfect for everyday spellings, hangman and for writing rude messages to your partner
When your ice cream falls on the floor. When your stickers lose their stick. When your poo won’t come out. All these things make a six-year-old angry, but they’re mere pimples on the bottom of life when compared to spelling practice.
Being asked to think again when you spell “they” as “fai” is clearly on a par with a green vegetable on the side of your plate, or being instructed to “wipe it again, because it’s not really clean.”
And then there’s the indignity of being asked to sit at a table, with a pencil, without Cheerios. On a Saturday.
Here’s one half-answer: mix it up a bit, with the aid of some [amazon text=Magic Whiteboard&asin=B001P5UAV8]. If you’re an office drone like me, you may have come across this before in the stationery cupboard (a theme to which we’ll return shortly); it’s a roll of static-charged white film sheets. Devilishly simple, you just rip one off, slap it up on a nearby bedroom or living room wall and you’ve got yourself an instant whiteboard. Use it for spellings, use it for pictionary, use it to teach your child about binomial distribution, however you get your kicks. Keep it handy and do daily practice, or take it down and forget about it until homework is next due.
Better still, hand the whiteboard pen over – go on, be brave – and let them be the teacher. With a little back-of-the-class guidance, they can write their own spellings, with the irresistible attraction that any mistakes can be rectified with a quick wipe. And they can tell you how to behave and threaten to give you a detention, which always goes down well.
Magic Whiteboards: a SWOT analysis
OK, so maybe there’s no need for a SWOT session, but it’s not perfect. Firstly, anyone who gets a bit carried away will end up writing high frequency words directly on your kitchen wall, especially if there’s not much contrast in colour between the wall and the sheet. I do hope you used Dulux Washable paint.
The second drawback relates to the way it’s sold. You’ll see from [amazon text=Amazon&asin=B001P5UAV8] that these are sold in rolls of 25 A1 sheets, for a not-inconsiderable £26. They do wear out after a couple of dozen use-and-reuses, particularly if you leave the pen on for a day or two, but you certainly don’t need 25 sheets.
Basically they’re made for the office, and the importers are yet to see the potential for other markets. If they would split ’em up and sold each sheet for £2 you’d start to see them everywhere, because the ability to put the sheet up in a flash wherever you are, and then fold it up, is fantastic. But right now the patent is held until 2020 by Magic Whiteboard Limited, so yah boo sucks to all you parents.
The couple who started importing this simple-yet-effective product got a boost courtesy of Dragon’s Den back in 2008. You could watch the clip, but not only will you get a dose of Peter Jones being obnoxious, you’ll also find out that each roll costs them just £7 wholesale. Ouch.
So for now, you can buy a whole roll if you’re minted; or buy a whole roll and then flog off sheets to your mates; or, ahem, ‘liberate’ some from your work stationery cupboard. Only with full permission of your Office Manager, of course. And no, I aint saying how we got ours, but it certainly was cause for a ‘Big Bum Sellbrashn”.
Despite the snags, this is a good product. If you can hang around until 2020 it’ll no doubt be sold for a quid a roll in the pound shop, but in the meantime it’s worth a case of gross misconduct to get your hands on some. And that’s why it has earned a place in Dadhacks’ ‘Good Stuff‘ gallery.
Like the sound of Magic Whiteboard? Do yourself (and us) a favour, and please share this post. Who knows, your mates might spring for a roll and give you a sheet or two.