Sunday, January 30, 2011

pen palz

My 3-year-old daughter can write most letters of the alphabet. But does she have the patience and attention span to do so? That's another story. For the most part, she is interested when she wants to get her message across. But then there are times she could use a little encouragement.

Introducing PenPalz, not the kind we knew of when we were kids (the ones you contact via pen, paper and stamp). These are creative cuddly plush companions whose sole mission is to encourage children to write and create.

The brainchild of a school teacher looking for a way to make writing more fun and encourage penmanship practice, the collectible plush toys slip on a child’s wrist and remain there to encourage writing and creativity.

Recent studies by researchers are finding that writing by hand engages the brain and can improve idea composition and expression, and may aid fine motor-skill development.

Shakes the Puppy Dog, Benji the Turtle and Haiku the Panda each come with a pencil and a literary tie-in that will spark questions and encourage further discussion. PenPalz easily stay on the wrist via an elastic strap and magnetic paws. They have received rave reviews from teachers, especially those of special needs children; occupational therapists and parents across the country. They come with a pencil, but not a sharpener (and if you have preschoolers who don't yet need school supplies, you may not have one handy!) But once sharpened, they get the job done.

My daughter tried it long enough to write her very short name: A-V-A. Then, she decide to forego writing to play with the plush pals (she's sleeping with one now!) That said, I think it's a great idea for kids who are just learning how to write and are intrigued by this creative tool.

Hey, maybe we adults should try them too. In this digital age, we need all the penmanship help we can get! Go to for more info.

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