Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Magnamagic Part 2: New Space Brings New Potential

Number 1 will make a crazy maze for the ones he loves.  He made three here. I like that they are curvy.

WHAT: Magnamagic Magnetic Wall Chalkboard Paint
DOES: promotes out-of-the-box-thinking, helps strengthen your body to promote better skills in handwriting and even paying attention
INVEST: $39.99 for a quart (has both chalkboard and magnetic features in a single can!)
TOOLS: Express Yourself, Family Fix-its (saves space), More Make-Believe Please, My Body Needs to Move, Think Like a Scientist Engineer

Giveaway for Super Strong Pushpin Neodymium Magnet Here

Cont'd from: Magnamagic Part 1: Show Them Anything is Possible

Yesterday, I showed everyone my newfound love: my Magnamagic wall of magic!  I have a special attachment to this story because in a sense, it simply is what all "toys" are: a bunch of ideas in a box, or in this case, a can.

After talking to Aimee, I wanted to see how I can make him write more on the wall and also wanted to see if he learns better standing up.  So of course I pull out a memory game.   Think Fun's Cartoon It! is played by looking at a picture for 30 seconds and then copying it from memory using a helpful drawing guide.
Sometimes I think kids do better when they learn on their feet.  He did really well in this round.
This can of magnetic magic is really is full of surprises.  When I talked to Aimee Prainito of Prainito Pediatric Therapy in Snellville, Georgia, I was so happy to hear how writing or working on a wall above your "horizon" can work on shoulder stability which will help lead a child to better handwriting and other fine motor skills.

Don't Sit Down!  Rather, STAND UP to Pay Better Attention

Aimee also helped me understand what I had suspected to be a reason that some kids are not so great at paying attention.  Their stomach muscles are just not all that strong.

I think I slouched a lot when I was little and certainly my own two boys can get pretty bendy.  I noticed that they also are not so great at doing sit-ups even though I consider them to be very strong.  It just doesn't make sense but lots of kids can be "low-tone" there.

This is an issue for younger and older kids.  In fact, Aimee said that older elementary kids can definitely benefit from activities like writing on a wall.  She spoke of her students in 4th and 5th grade,  "we write on the board constantly."  Aimee continued, "We work on basically, their stomach muscles and their back muscles so that they have control."  This kind of control is what she calls "core trunk stability."

Number 1 liked this idea of Giant Magnetic Clean Up with the Lauri Super Magnet.  I wish I could clean my house like this.   Not long after using this giant magnet, he started experimenting with metal screws by making them stand on top of each other held together by magnetic force.  Very cool.

Problems in this middle region can lead to some difficulty in the classroom, namely, a child's ability to pay attention.   "They're busy just concentrating on just sitting, they're not necessarily paying attention to what the teacher is saying," said Aimee.   Right away I picture all the kids I know who may be spilling over their desks even though they aren't really all that tired - just an important part of their body is tired and it changes everything, like the way, a sore toe can make you very immobile. 

So if you have a desk sprawler, then consider some of Aimee's tips.  She had a billion but here are just a few as related to my magnetic wall of magic.

Number 1 was so proud of himself that he detailed his work with more colors, emphasizing that he remembered the extra details (the earring) that scored him an added point.  He even created an arrow to show his success using our new magnets.

Ace Tips from Aimee:
  1. Draw a curvy maze: have your child go through it with just their finger.   Try to make your maze from going left to right or from top to bottom.  This is how we read and write.

  2. Try creating lines using tape on the chalkboard to have them practice writing on top of the line.  (Painter's tape might be good)

  3. Draw a maze and then step back and run through it with a flashlight.  Get visual tracking practice and work on shoulder stability too. You don't have to turn off the light.  You can use different color flashlights.  I wonder if there is such a thing as glow in the dark chalk..... hmmmm... oh no...  here it is... Crayola Glow in the Dark Chalk Maker.   If it is anything like the Tulip 3D Glow-in-the-Dark Paint, then your kids will be able to write in the dark. 

  4. Hate chalk?  We feel your pain.  Aimee says to put on a glove or use a little plastic baggie.   I like this because it creates a barrier on the whole hand and not just the fingers.  That means you should easily be able to pick up any color chalk to create whatever you like.

    These RoseArt chalk holders were just $1.50 for a pack of two (shown here) in Staples.  If you need more chalk you just click it, like a pen.
  5. Get some finger strength action going and move a magnet through your maze instead of using your finger or chalk.

Don't Worry If You Don't Know How To Paint

Thank goodness this paint cleans up easy!  Remember I said it was my first time painting a wall?   Whatever made me think that I was supposed to start at the bottom?

As you can see, I cleaned away that mess.  It wasn't hard at all.

A Practical Note about Applications

Please do read the directions.  I am really bad at reading directions but I still managed to make a great wall.  What I am about to show you is not that hard but if you skip this step, you might become mad at yourself.

This bumpiness is called "texture" in Magnamagic talk.  You will see it when you start your 2nd coat (you have to do three and the paint dries quickly but not so quick that you are racing to fix these "textures")

You use a brush to smooth out the texture after each coat.  It's easy.
I decided to make sure I got a lot of paint out of the brush to help with smoothing out the texture spots.  I think it helped.

I don't know how much these tools in the picture above goes for at big box stores but if you are a novice and want to save time, the Painting Kit with Foam Brush is just $8.99 at the Magnamagic site.  I am impulsive and lazy, so it was so nice to get my paint and the painting kit in the same shipment.  I was inspired to get started quickly and I did!

Magnamagic's Chalkboard Wall Paint engages children in a children's center in Iraq.  photo courtesy: Visual Magnetics

Guest star appearances in today's episode of the Magnamagic Show:

Disclosure statement: Toys are Tools has not been compensated in any fashion by the manufacturer or retailer of any of the mentioned products for the publication of this post.  The product was given to Toys are Tools to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised.   


  1. The ability of the magnets to stick is dependent on the amount of metal particles in the paint. I used 4 coats of paint of the brand that I used and it was barely enough. 

    For a happy result make sure to test the strength of the hold after each coat has dried. I also put a coat of color paint over the magnetic paint to match the room and I think that reduced the holding power. 

    Other than that I think it is a great ideas especially if you get "magnetic poetry" which are magnets with words to make your own stories, notes and of course poetry.

    Lot's of fun!! Even for the kids. LOL 

  2. I cannot wait to get my hosue decluttered so I can dive into projects like this.  And, when I do, I will need the chalk holders you picture b/c my son (and me to a degree) doesn't like the feel of chalk on fingers.

  3. Always looking for ways to help my ADHD son improve his skills...think we could use these :)