TDmonthly Magazine!
February 2009 | Vol. VIII - No. 2


Kids Drawn to Magnetic Sets by Discovery Post

Fairy and Dinosaur Collections Yield History and Imaginative Play

“Sara (7) wanted to plant the fairy gardens right away.” Robbin Dawson
Five families in TDmonthly Magazine’s Grade School Roundtable played with Discovery Post’s Discover Packs and Magnet Display Boards in the Fairy and Dinosaur series. Reviewers raved about the packaging but gave mixed reviews for play value.

Fairy and Dinosaur Series by DISCOVERY POST
Age: 6 and Up
Gender: Boys and Girls
Category: Playsets
MSRP: $29.95 (Magnet Display Board); $9.95 (Discover Pack)

TDmonthly rating:

What It Is: Discovery Post’s Discover Packs contain fun facts, a trading card, a collectible magnet, a magnet stand, removable cling stickers and more. The Fairy Discover Pack also includes a secret declaration and seeds for a magic fairy garden. There are eight different kits for each of the Fairy and Dinosaur Discover Packs.

Each Magnet Display Board is freestanding and measures 33” x 14”. The Fairy Display Board depicts a scene from the Great Wood and comes with four collectible fairy magnets, 16 accessory magnets and magnet stands. The Dinosaur Display Board features a scene from the Mesozoic Era and comes with collectible dinosaur magnets, stands and a large educational poster.

What the Moms Thought: “In the case of the dinosaur set, there was quite a bit of factual information that was a fun complement to the more ‘fantasy’ elements of the toy,” Richardson said. Flamenco liked the educational information provided with the dinosaur kit and, as a teacher, thought it could be utilized in a classroom.

Thomas liked the fairy accessory magnets, saying, “The 16 rubber magnets give [Rose (7)] more possibilities to play with friends.” Dawson raved about the materials. “The magnet board and box are, far and away, much sturdier than those of similar items I’ve purchased,” she said. Richardson praised the “solid construction” of the pieces.

Richardson commented on the “rich colors, glossy cover, and very nice detail.” Flamenco found that the use of bright colors on the packaging and board “draw consumers to take a closer look.” Although Jones commented that “the packaging made it attractive,” she reported that the contents did not live up to her children’s expectations.

“I loved the idea of collecting little pieces that you could add to your set and being able to ‘mail’ others to share them with friends,” Richardson said. Thomas enjoyed the “fairy declaration.” “By signing it, [Rose {7)] believed she would be one of the secret keepers of the fairy land,” her mother said. Dawson appreciated that the packages could serve as story starters, and that “a portion of the profits goes to charity.”

What the Kids Thought: “That fairy is so cute! Which one is the mom?” asked Jessica (6). She and Alexander (8) enjoyed “making the set come to life.” Dawson reported that “Sara (7) was impressed by the fairies’ statures, as compared to the woodland frog and bird.” She amused herself by setting up scenes with the magnets on the magnet board, and “enlisted my help, on the coldest day yet this winter, to find petals, moss, berries, etc., to construct a fairy house outdoors,” Dawson said.

Matthew (12), Jonathan (10), Emilio (8) and Brandon (6) had a good time acting out scenes with the dinosaur magnets and were intrigued by the representation on the magnet board of what the earth may have looked like during that era. Reece (9) was most interested in the information on dinosaurs included in the set; his siblings Cameron (7) and Meg (5) spent their time playing with the magnets.

Thomas noted that the stands help Rose (7) “place the fairies wherever she wants.” Jones added that “they enabled the kids to be more creative in their play.” The Flamenco brothers (12, 10, 8 and 6) enjoyed the “activities, stickers and information provided,” observed their mom.

“Sara (7) wanted to plant the fairy gardens right away,” Dawson said. Rose also enjoyed the seed packet. “She [was] so excited to plant it and patiently waited to see it grow,” Thomas reported.

What the Kids Learned from this Toy: “It's a fun way to learn about dinosaurs,” raved Jonathan (10). The Flamenco boys, "not only learned the names of the dinosaur figures that were included in the product, but they also learned the names of the plant life during [the dinosaur's] eras,” Flamenco said. She added “They learned that the continents on Earth have moved during the different periods of time.” Reece (9) learned a few new facts and “enjoyed reading the enclosed booklet,” commented Jones.

“My daughter asked me to read her the brief overview of the fairy world several times, and my son enjoyed reading aloud the facts about the dinosaurs,” Richardson said. She also pointed out the benefit for children of escaping into a fantasy world and exploring their imaginations.

How to Improve It: Richardson thought the dinosaur set should be marketed for younger boys, since Alexander (8) told her “8-year-olds don’t play with magnets.” Alternatively, she suggested that if a game or puzzle could be incorporated, perhaps older children would be more interested. Flamenco, too, would like to see another element, such as an audio CD or DVD that relates and/or animates the information on the poster.

Richardson recommended including a book with the fairy set to provide context, since Jessica (6) wanted to know who each fairy was. Dawson thought the Fairy Discover Pack did not meet its packaging claims of educational value ("Smart fun in a box!" and "Layers of Learning!"); she concurred with Richardson on including a booklet filled with fairy lore, specifically “folklore or history that reflects the diverse ethnicities of the Great Wood population” or “nature facts, disguised as information on fairy habitats.”

Because playing with a magnet set does not require reading, Richardson suggested lowering the target age for the fairy set, pointing out that it did not hold 6-year-old Jessica’s interest for very long. That proved true for Dawson, who observed a visiting 5-year-old girl play with the set for an hour after Sara (7) had decided to play other games.

Jones would like to see more pieces (especially dinosaur magnets). “I believe the kids would have been a lot more interested in continuing to play with the set if they had a dozen or so characters to manipulate,” she said.

Would You Want Another Toy Like This? “This is a wonderful experience for my daughter,” summed up Thomas, adding that she recommends Discovery Post's Discovery Packs to other moms.

TDmonthly Magazine Roundtable and expert reviewers are independent and are not compensated monetarily. Manufacturers pay Magazine to set up reviews, but payment is not reflected in the rating or evaluation given. A manufacturer can opt to withhold from publication a review of fewer than three stars.

Roundtable participants are former corporate accountant Robbin Dawson with Sara (7); substitute teacher Veronica Flamenco with Matthew (12), Jonathan (10), Emilio (8) and Brandon (6); stay-at-home mother Heather Jones with Reece (9), Cameron (7) and Meg (5); World Bank policy advisor Gail Richardson with Alexander (8) and Jessica (6); and machine operator Geena Thomas with Rose (7).

Susan LedfordWriter's Bio: Susan Ledford is the writer, editor and publisher of the "Homeschool Resources Directory for S.C."  She has been evaluating toys and games for TDmonthly's Roundtable reviews since 2005. She also is a homeschool veteran of seven years. Read more articles by this author


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