Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hands-on Learning with Fundanoodle {A Back to School Review}

It is no secret that we love hands-on learning in our home. From the early "home-preschooling" days, the children were learning with hands-on activities. I love finding new products to use with my children that will allow them to work on their fine motor skills and that they can manipulate to get the tactile experience to enhance their learning.  That is why I was so excited when Fundanoodle agreed to join in with my Back to School/5 Year Blogiversary Celebration. 

I was thrilled when Fundanoodle generously agreed to send not one, but two of their hands-on learning products to try out and share with you. We have been using I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace! and I Can Build Upper Case Letters. I figured I would have one product to work on with Hannah and one for Harold. 

Hannah was excited to get started with I Can Build Upper Case Letters!

This kit comes with 1 set of 14 magnetic pieces for building the letters (called Magnastix), a magnetic dry-erase board, an upper case writing tablet, 6 muscle movers cards, a dry-erase pen, 1 die, and the instructions.

 Inside the lid of the case you will find a rundown of the benefits of using this kit along with which magnetic pieces are needed to build each letter. 

The instruction booklet lists the contents with images so you can see what is supposed to be included. It is recommended to follow a specific order when doing lessons with your child.

The Muscle Mover cards are to be used first to get the wiggles out and help the children remain relaxed and focused.

Then the child is to work with the Magnastix to learn how to build the letter, a wonderful tactile experience.

Finally, the child is to practice writing the letters in the tablet. You can find instructions and tips on the first page. Stickers are also included for encouragement.

How did we use I Can Build Upper Case Letters!? 

The first time we used the kit, we followed the recommended instructions and started by using the Muscle Movers Cards. I have to admit, there are times we just pull out the kit and start using the other elements. However, the children have already been playing at that point and it was time to sit and get some work done. Hannah rolled the die and chose the matching numbered card. Then she flipped it over and acted out the animal action. However, for some reason I did not get any pictures of this (oops).

We next moved into using the Magnastix. I showed Hannah how to form the letter and then she took a turn building it.

Here she is, telling me the name of the letter she just built.

 I then worked with her on writing her letters. There are multiple lines to practice writing on.  A row of boxes, a row of boxes with a dotted middle line, green start line up top and a red stop line, another row of  boxes with a dotted middle line, without the colored reminder lines. Then there are two rows of writing lines with a dotted middle line, the first one with those colored reminder lines.

Max the Monkey gives instructions on how to make the letter, while Alphie gives encouragement for a job well done.

At first I had Hannah work her way through the entire row. Then I realized that it was a lot of writing and probably not meant to be finished in one sitting. I decided to have her practice a few in each row at one sitting, and then when she comes back another time she can use a different color pencil so I differentiate and tell if there has been any improvement.

We will continue using this kit as we go through the school year. It is a great way to learn the shape of the letters, with lots of writing practice.

Even Harold has been getting lessons from his sister on how to form the letters! He isn't quite ready for writing the letters yet though. 

That is why I am so thankful Fundanoodle sent us two kits. Harold was much more interested in the I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace! Kit.

Enclosed in this kit you will find many different hands-on items to help improve fine-motor skills. There are 10 assorted-shapes ripping cards with adhesive backs, 3 assorted lacing/tracing cards, 20 wooden beads, 12 pipe cleaners, 5 beading pattern cards, 3 shoelaces, 3 strands of yarn, 300 assorted colored tissue paper squares and 1 crayon.

The instructions are again printed on the inner lid, along with the benefits.

How did we use I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace!?

I decided right away that these would make great activities for their Learning Trays.

Harold enjoyed trying to lace the beads onto the pipe cleaners. 

And Hannah worked on ripping.

Harold got distracted from his beads.  He was really interested in ripping up some paper and making a picture. We still have a ways to go when it comes to actually ripping the paper properly though.

This activity was so popular, everyone wanted to make one the next time. The only problem is, we are going to run out of the adhesive ripping cards. I'm going to have to see if I can find something similar somewhere.

It was Hannah and Amelia who were interested in using the lacing cards.

Tabitha decided it would be more fun to trace and draw a picture. 

So, yes, my 6 and 7 year old girls are having a blast with these preschool products along with their younger siblings. 

It is great to have all of these activities contained in these sturdy boxes that can be stored and brought out when it is time to use them. The children have been having a great time with these kits. 

My thoughts on I Can Build Upper Case Letters!:

There is lots of space to practice writing letters in the writing tablet, plus the dry erase board can be used and reused. I love that the dry erase board has the green (start) and red (stop) coloring on the top and bottom just like the tablet. Being able to build the letters with the magnets is one of my favorite aspects of this kit, though I am a bit concerned that the magnets are too strong. Even I struggle to get the magnets off of the board, Hannah has been unable to get them off on her own. The idea of the Muscle Movers is interesting, but to me they didn't really fit in with this set. Perhaps if there was a card for every letter of the alphabet and a card was just drawn instead of using a die, then it would fit in with a kit about learning letters. They are fun, but seem kind of random to me. The inclusion of the cards does not take away from the quality of the kit, however, so I can still highly recommend this letter-learning resource.

My thoughts on I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace!:

This is a fun kit for developing fine motor skills and the activities can be done, for the most part, independently. There is room for growth in the activities. For instance, a younger child can just lace the beads, a more advanced child could follow the pattern cards to lace the beads. The beading also goes in stages. There are pipe cleaners, shoelaces, and then yarn to lace onto. As a child improves their fine-motor skills, they can advance to the next "string." Most of the contents can be reused, except for the adhesive cards and the tissue paper. I have to say, I wish the company would make extras of the consumables available for purchase (you know, like a refill). This is also a great kit and one we will be using through the school year. I will be including these activities on the younger children's Learning Trays.

Both I Can Build Upper Case Letters! and I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace! can be purchased for $32.99 each.

 You can more about Fundanoodle at their site.

You can also find Fundanoodle on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Flicker.

The generous folks over at Fundanoodle have given me permission to give away one of these kits. Fundanoodle will be included in the Grand Prize Giveaway that begins August 17th and is over $300.00. You will be able to choose between I Can Build Upper Case Letters! and I Can Bead, Lace, Rip, Trace!.

Don't miss out on the Grand Prize Giveaway!
Click here to enter the giveaway.

How would you like some extra entries into this giveaway before it even starts? 
Head on over to the website and tell me something you learned. Leave the answer here in the comments with your email and when the giveaway is live I will email you the secret code to place in the Rafflecopter for a bonus 10 points. 

Don't miss out on the Grand Prize Giveaway!
Click here to enter the giveaway.


  1. Now this is a great hands on learning fun! My girls are older but I know they would've loved this when they were younger. #ProductReviewParty

  2. This is such a great company. I love the two kits you got and all of the different activities in each kit. Great job!

  3. These kits really are interesting. I love all the hands-on learning opportunities!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  4. These hands on activities are awesome! My child would be able to learn so well with this fundanoodle game and learning resource. I really wish I had the same creativity as the people who invent items such as these.

  5. So much loving this. I can see some great centers in my class.

  6. These two kits look like so much fun! My little ones love hands-on learning activities! I bet all three of my children would have fun playing with these.

  7. What great learning tools. I wish I had had these when my kids were small.

  8. What awesome kits! Looks like a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Fantastic review! Your kids must love art and fine motor activites like mine do. I know they would just go nuts over these two sets. Fun! Thanks for sharing the giveaway with us.

  10. Excellent review, you showed everything so clearly. :)

    I am Annette @ A Net in Time (


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