Oct 3, 2013

Getting It Write

Product Review
(Daddy writes)

It is the final school term of the year and for parents with primary school-going children and above, you know what that means. It's EXAMS time! And what better way to dispel some of that stress than some cool back-to-school stationery?

Did I mention that we love stationery in this house? Actually it's the wifey who has this obsession with all things stationery. Pens, pencils, notebooks, pencil cases, anything. When she was younger, the new school year was a chance for her to completely overhaul her stationery tools. So when the chance came for us to try out the EASYergonomics Experts (EEE) range from Stabilo, I reckoned she was the more excited one compared to the 2 boys.

The Stabilo EEE range was created with the growing child in mind, with the designs incorporating soft moulded rubber grips for relaxed gripping to reduce muscle fatigue and painful bumps. In addition, the presence of unique writing zones on the writing instruments help guide fingers to the correct writing position.

Ayd naturally zoomed in on the EASYergo 3.15mm Retractable Pencil (S$14.45) first, which is an innovative graphite retractable pencil and has been specially designed for children who are just learning to write. The pencil has a non-slip grip zone and an ergonomic pen design which allows a relaxed hold and glides softly over the paper with only a small amount of pressure.

To advance the 3.15mm HB lead, one simply just has to push the button at the top - just like a mechanical pencil. I like the fact that the pencil lead is rather thick, which makes breakage a tad harder. To refill the pencil lead, simply unscrew the barrel and insert a new lead into the pencil. The pencil lead can also be sharpened with the supplied pencil sharpener.

The EASYball Ballpoint Pen (S$10.50) was next put to the test and it is developed specially for those who write a lot. I tried it out and I was pleasantly surprised to note that the pen sat perfectly in the hand and rolled along very smoothly when I was writing quickly.

The EASYoriginal Rollerball Pen (S$16.05) is a contemporary alternative to the classic fountain pen: an ergonomically designed rollerball pen which comes with 3 ink refills with it that are very easy to install. As with the previous 2 writing instruments, the pen has an extremely comfortable and easy grip area. Also, all three come with space for a name tag too!

The thing is; although all these writing instruments are designed ergonomically with the child in mind, they are often designed for kids who are right-handed. Left-handed children are sometimes disadvantaged when it comes to the conventional writing equipment on the market because they are not designed to be held by the left hand. And studies have shown that these may sometimes result in a poor writing posture in children which will in turn affect school performance and even can result in health problems.

Now Ash is left-handed. This was a first for me and the family because none of us are left-handed. And it certainly posed a challenge for the wifey and me - imagine a right-handed parent trying to teach a left-handed child how to write. Everything is the wrong way round. For starters, it will certainly help a lot if there are enough stationery on the market that caters to kids who are left-handers.

So imagine Ash's (and our) joy when we discovered the Stabilo EASYergonomics Experts (EEE) range comes in a dedicated versions for left-handers too!

Ash tested out the left-handed versions of the EASYergo 3.15mm Retractable Pencil, EASYball Ballpoint Pen and EASYoriginal Rollerball Pen. And his verdict? He loved it! He said that they "fitted his fingers", are comfortable to hold but easy to grip. Simply put, he wanted to put them into his school pencil case immediately!

The final product in the Stabilo EEE family range to be tested was the EASYcolors Coloured Pencils Box of 12 (S$31.65) which consist of ergonomic coloured pencil with triangular design and unique non-slip grip moulds to ensure a relaxed hand posture. 

On a side note, I have to say I love the design of the packaging box. It is designed for re-use, with a little bar that you can slide up that keeps the pencils in. It functions as a lovely little case on its own, and is perfect for keeping the pencils tidy and in one place where you can quickly find them.

When it comes to writing, drawing or colouring, some kids may find applying pressure when holding a pencil a bit difficult. But with the EASYcolors Coloured Pencils, it will be a thing well of the past. The nib is soft, and spreads colour easily without the need for pressure. Just look at how much fun Ayd had during colouring.

And I really have to commend Stabilo for its attention to detail - each coloured pencil comes with a space where you can print on the child's name.

As with the pencil and pens, the coloured pencils comes designed for left-handers too.

And yet again, Ash remarked that he found the pencils a lot easier to use than his current set of coloured pencils.

So the left-handed products from Stabilo were a great success with Ash and they most definitely left the wifey and me impressed. But more importantly though, we love the concept of the pens and pencils being shaped to make gripping easier and more comfortable.

But no matter whichever hand a child is using, the first school years is an exciting time for him/her and the least we as parents can do is to ensure that our kids learn to write with joy and develop correct writing posture without having to suffer cramped hands. And of course, anything that aids this process is a good thing to have.

Winner of numerous European and International design awards, the products in the EEE range are designed and manufactured in Europe. They can be found at:
  • crosscom: 583 Orchard road #02-22/31 Forum the shopping mall Singapore 238884
  • ErgoKid: 501 Orchard Road, Wheelock Place,#03-07A Singapore 238880
  • Selected Popular bookstores
  • Online Shop at www.stabiloshoppe.com.sg

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