You have no idea how much I love Stabilo. They make useful, functional, practical stationary without it costing the earth. And did I mention practical?
OK so I have to admit a bias. My son has been using Stabilo pens and pencils since Reception. He's now in Year 3. The reason is that he has a medical condition that affects his fine motor skills. Out of all the writing aids we've tried, just the simple approach taken by Stabilo has been all he's actually needed to get writing.
They do fun stationary too - it isn't all about the boring educational side of things! So here we're looking at some fabulous ideas from the wonderful designers at Stabilo, and seeing if they're really worth it.
The Stabilo EasyGraph (pictured above) is an ergonomic pencil designed to help children find it easier to write. Priced at £3.13 for a pack of two pencils, this is one product I would wholeheartedly say is worth every penny. A 322/HB pencil, it was easy to get a good, dark stroke down on the paper with minimal pressure. It is the pressure that my son finds particularly difficult. There's also indents around the sides, and a slight edge as well, that helps a lot with grip. This is now my son's special homework pencil, and I think one reason he loves it a lot is that it is also exceptionally easy to rub out!
In case you don't work it out from the name, the Smartball ballpoint pen (£10.49) is a pen that also doubles up as a stylus for a touchscreen. I gave this one to my 14 year old godson to test out, and sadly it didn't make it through one day at secondary school before he absent mindedly lent it to a friend to use and forgot. We'd probably have managed to get it back if it hadn't taken him nearly a week to realise he'd done this! Never mind, in the short time he used the pen he said it was quite handy, and really useful for use as a stylus instead of using the fiddly little one he has normally. If only you can remember it isn't just a pen! At £10.49 though both myself and his mum thought it a little bit too pricey to give to a teenager who, at the end of the day, doesn't really place a lot of value on stationary.
Actually had no idea that these pens were really known as Point 88 (£5 for a pack of 10). In our house they've always been called Fineliners. Which is really what they are. Fibre tips pens. Ideal for fine writing, drawing and sketching. I've tended to pop a pack of these in as an extra birthday present or stocking filler for son. He finds them really easy to draw and write with, and does love using them. We first had them recommended by his Occupational Therapist, and they really did encourage son to draw more.
However he is 7 years old and these do have a really fine nib. It is easy for this to be ruined by a heavy hand so if you are giving to a young child you may want to keep an eye on them. The other thing I really like about these pens is that they come in a fairly robust, plastic wallet. Really useful for keeping them all together and out of the usual pile of colouring in and felt tip pens.
Now these are really rather odd. Stabilo Boss Mini Ghosts highlighters (£5.49). We got some last year for son for Christmas - the pattern back then was based on sea animals. I wasn't really sure about them, I mean highlighters for a seven year old? But in the end they made a fabulous stocking filler and he loved them. What had clinched it for me though was the little girl, about my son's age, who got really excited in the shop when her dad agreed to buy them for her. Maybe it is the small size, or the glowing highlighter colours, or the illustrations. Or maybe it is a combination of all of them?
I gave these to my godson to try out as well, and I found out later from his mum that they caused a bit of confusion. The Woody 3-in-1 pencil come in a pack of six and are a colouring pencil, watercolour and a wax crayon. As a result of that though, they look thick and chunky like the sorts of pencils you give a toddler.
Which is what my godson thought they were. However, once I had explained he took them into school and tried them out on a few of his art projects. Overall, yes there's a lot of fun to be had with these pencils trying out various different types of mediums. He liked the effect given when using the pencils as a watercolour. But he asked me to advise readers not to get them for any child over the age of 6 as they look just too much like a baby's crayon.
And finally, last but by no means least, the EasyOriginal (£6.49 but shop around, Sainsbury's often does a really good deal on these). This is an ink pen designed in an ergonomic fashion to be as easy to write with as possible. When your child moves to using a pen at school, you may well want to consider getting one of these.
We've been using the EasyOriginal for about two years now, and this is our third pen. I'm really pleased to see that it now comes in a variety of colours. Originally you could only get blue or pink. My son loved the orange of the pen we received. It also comes with spare cartridges, and these are easy enough for a child to change.
And yet I still find that there's a little bit of a problem with the ink flow. This isn't serious. Just every so often the ink seems to falter when coming out, and when a child is already a hesitant writer this isn't a good thing.
Overall though we're really happy with our EasyOriginal, and I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it. Not necessarily the cheapest ink pen you'll get but we've definitely got our money's worth out of it.