Purpllinker on Timberdoodle, I was intrigued.
What's a Purpllinker?
It's purple. It has 7 sections of 5" plastic "arms" that are jointed together at each end. Extended, it creates a purple "stick" that is about 2.5' long. But bend the joints and you can create any number of creations: letters, numbers, pictures, shapes, and more.
I asked to review it, thinking it would be great for my 5.5yo to use to explore letters. After I opened the package, we did that for about 5 minutes. Then, other family members started coming into the room. My 9yo grabbed it to make pictures. My teenagers took it and started twisting to see what shapes they could make. My husband snatched it and tried to make fancier letters. In essence, it made its way around the room, and the family, with each age level intrigued in different ways.
Always looking for quiet church toys, I stuck it in my bag on Sunday. My youngest made his own inventions with it, forming letters in his name as well as a variety of pictures. It was a great quiet toy. I just had to encourage him to make creations below the top of the bench so other congregants weren't distracted by a bobbing purple wand. :)
Over the last few days, Purpllinker has been sitting on my desk, waiting for me to review it. When my 5yo comes in and starts climbing on my back while I'm typing (not an unusual occurrence!) he'll often see the toy, pick it up, and start creating.
1. I'm not sure that I'd use this for teaching the alphabet. If you look at the suggested formation of letters inside the cardboard packaging, many of them look quite different than what a child would be taught. You simply cannot make every traditional letter--at least "normal" looking letters--using this tool. However,...
3. I would use it for creative play. Ask the child to invent his own picture. It's a nice quiet toy that folds very compactly to take along to appointments or long car rides.
5. I loved the minimal packaging. It came in one small plastic bubble with a small cardboard overlay. I was surprised, however, that the reference chart for how to make the shapes was on the inside surface of the cardboard packaging which didn't come off cleanly...at least for me it didn't. In our house, that chart isn't likely to last long. Since we won't likely use the number/letter visual models much, it's a minor issue, but if families buy it expecting their children to frequently refer to the chart, they may be disappointed in its ability to last over time.
6. I'm most excited about using this as a tool to explore geometric shapes. Ask the child to make a square. Then ask him to tell you about the properties of the square as he touches the model. "It has four corners. Four sides." Or a more advanced child might say..."It has 4 right angles." The teacher could do higher-level challenges such as, "Can you make a model of a hexagon?" For this purpose, it seems like it could be used in endless math extensions in a homeschool or public school classroom...at a variety of levels/grades.
I asked my boys to rate it. My 9yo gave it a 3 out of 5. My 5yo gave it a 10 out of 5. Maybe we need to do some number work with the Purpllinker. :) I'd give it a 4 out of 5. It definitely fills a unique nitch.
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Disclosure: As a member of Timberdoodle's Blogger Review Team I received a free Purpllinker in exchange for a frank and unbiased review.