Before I had children of my own, I worked in a daycare for a year. I've tried to remeber some of the fun craft ideas that I did with my "kids" and some of the art supplies we had in my room and have them on hand for my own girls to use. One thing we had at the daycare were some wonderful large stamps and stamp pads for the kids to use. Although I had searched teacher stores and catalogs, I hadn't been able to find them until recently. We tried playing with some small rubber stamps for scrapbooking, but they just didn't work quite as well.
I finally came across Center Enterprises' Ready2Learn stamp sets and ink pads. They agreed to send me the Giant Imaginative Play Sets 1 and 2 along with the Jumbo Circular Washable Pads for review. The girls were both very excited to use these and after the package arrived, they asked daily if they could use the stamps yet. (We had a few busy days so it took a while before we had a free afternoon to play with stamps.)
I was very happy with the large size of the stamps - perfect for little hands to hang on to. Both Lucy (4) and Julia (almost 2) were able to use the stamps easily. The handles are rounded and fit into their hands nicely. The sets that we received have a nice variety of images that we will be able to use for any number of projects. The ink pads worked well and inked the stamps nicely. Both girls were able to produce clear images with their stamps. The girls didn't care for the green color as it was more of a dark forest green color, but otherwise very much enjoyed stamping.
We used a big sheet of paper for our stamping project - the stamps are fairly large, so I thought that they would fill up a regular sheet of paper too quickly. The large paper worked well and I saved it to use as wrapping paper! The Imaginative Play Sets that we received have a nice variety of images that we can use to create scenes. Lucy really liked the castle stamp; Julia enjoyed them all. These particular sets include stamps that relate to at least eight of our MFW Kindergarten themes - (moon - star, leaf and tree, apple, turtle, us - handprints on the big ink pads, insect - ladybug, butterfly, and frog). I'm considering adding the Giant Farm Animals sets to our collection as that would cover several of the animals we study this year as well.
The large ink pads were a great size and fit the stamps well. I only put out one color at a time since Julia hasn't learned to keep stamps to one ink pad yet. When we were finished, the stamps easily washed off in the sink. I also wiped them with a baby wipe to be sure they were clean. Although the stamps come in a reusable plastic case, I found it easier to store them all in a big plastic tub along with the ink pads. I'll definitely be keeping these handy and using them often. Both girls enjoyed the stamping and it made a fun art project.
I really liked the full color catalog that Center Enterprises set me along with our stamps. I enjoyed looking through it and found many unique items that would work wonderfully in our homeschool. There are stamps that go along with the Cuisinaire rods that we'll be using this year and would be great for creating any number of activities. Blank clock faces for learning to tell time, bead pattern stamps, money stamps (stamp and laminate to make your own play money!), and of course all of the shape stamps... my teacher's brain is going crazy with all of the fun learning ideas these stamps present. Go take a peek and see what you find.
Center Enterprises has been around for 35+ years and their thousands of products have been used by parents, teachers, and youngsters around the globe. The wide range of curriculum, theme based and artistic stamping and craft items is their field and it encompasses education, craft, hobby, toy, scrap-booking, early childhood, and homeschooling niches. There is definitely something here for everyone. Center Enterprises has always had very positive feedback and they are recognized for quality, creativity, and customer service as a leader in many ways.
Center Enterprises is offering my blog readers a special code "CVW09" good for a Free Surprise packaged with any retail order that they ship directly. The order can be from their website by email, fax, letter (USPS), or telephone, and must include the code for identification purposes. The code is good until 12/09.
Thank you Center Enterprises! We enjoyed the stamps and will be purchasing more of your unique stamps in the future.