Pros: Fun to play with, educational, durable.
Cons: Magnets don't stick well to the fridge.
The Parents Magnet School has been in our house for quite a while now. I think my daughter got it for her birthday last year or something.
The Magnet School is really cute. It is a metal box similar to a lunch box, but shaped like a school. The lid is painted like a schoolhouse. On the back of the school, a row of typical three-lined handwriting paper is painted.
Inside the school are 26 cards, one for each letter of the alphabet. There are also 36 magnets: one for each letter, and another magnet for each number from 0 to 9.
Each card represents a letter of the alphabet, and is printed with a picture of a word that starts with that letter. For example, the G card has a picture of a Goat on it, in front of some mountains. There is a cutout for the letter G magnet to go on the card, and after the cutout, the capital letters OAT appear. If you put the G magnet in the cutout, you get the letter GOAT.
The school is really cute, and so are the pictures.
When my daughter got this as a gift, she already knew all her letters and numbers, and was starting to learn to read already. She was interested in this for a while, but it was never her favorite toy.
My little boy, on the other hand, is starting to get interested in the Magnet School, and will take it to me while I am trying to teach his sister. He makes me open it, and he plays with the magnets and cards while his sister does her school work. I'm sure that it will get more play value with him.
Our Magnet School has probably gone through more rigorous testing than most people will put their Magnet Schools through, as ours has been through a house fire. The Magnet School wasn't actually in the flames, but it probably got heated up a bit while the house was on fire. Not to mention, my kids sometimes don't always keep their toys completely picked up, and at the time of the fire, there were some cards and magnets scattered throughout the house.
While everything outside of the Magnet School was covered in soot after the fire and had to be cleaned, all of the cards that my kids had managed to pick up and keep in the School were clean. The ones that were on the floor were able to be washed with a damp, soapy washcloth, and they are as good as new.
The Magnet School probably could have been designed a little bit better. When your child puts it away, they have to put it away a certain way, or all the pieces won't fit back in. The cards have to all be together, and the magnets have to all be together as well. My little boy loves to help pick up toys, but it's hard for him to get the concept that you have to pick up all the cards or magnets first, then pick up the other. They could have designed this with a pocket for the cards; that would have made it a little easier for a child to put away.
The Magnet School magnets don't exactly hold your child's artwork on the refrigerator well. They do stick to the school itself well, but if your child is anything like mine, they'll want to play with the magnets on the refrigerator. When they do, the magnet usually wants to slide down. The same thing happens if you try to hold up something with it. Forget it.
The Magnet School would be a good purchase for a child who is learning their letters and their numbers. They will have fun playing with the magnets and matching the cards and the letters. It is not the easiest toy to put away, but for the price, a young child can get a good deal of play from it.