It’s a while since I last did a product review here, but when I was offered this one, I thought it was something that readers might be interested in – particularly people looking for art inspired Christmas gifts which are reasonably priced, educational, good to look at, and offer some lasting value.
Scratch off posters and maps have become a popular product in recent years, but this one is a little different in that it can also operate as an educational game as well as a piece of wall art. I’ve not had experiencing of using anything other than standard promotional scratch-cards before, but there is undoubtedly something eminently satisfying about the process of revealing a hidden layer beneath, which is perhaps why they have become so popular.
Measuring 59 x 42cm, the Scratch Off National Gallery European Artists Print is a map featuring 13 unique masterpieces from the National Gallery in London. The idea is to guess the name of each of these European artists and which work it is, by scratching off each country. There is an inset map showing where everything is, which is particularly useful for children or the geographically challenged! You can check your answers, country by country with the scratch off panel at the bottom of the map.
The map looks good as a piece of wall art even before any scratching off has been done, in that the obscuring layer is a metallic gold, printed with a monochrome version of the work of art beneath. In some ways I feel it would be more mysterious and exciting if you weren’t given that clue, but had no idea about what was beneath, but there’s no doubt it wouldn’t look as good!
Once completed, the map is a decorative piece of wall-art in its own right, which would look equally good hung as a poster, or framed.
So having had a go at this activity with the family, what was our experience?
- Everyone agreed the map looks good.
- We all learned something, either about geography, or about art.
- It was lots of fun scratching off the gold layer to reveal the colourful artwork beneath.
What was less successful?
- The scratching off is a somewhat messy process, though this is something that all scratch off posters have, and it’s easily cleaned up.
- There were a few white specks left on the print after scratching, and some gold speckles that wouldn’t come off, but again this may be common to all scratch off posters. I didn’t think we had scratched too hard, but it’s something to be careful of. Note, there are also a few deliberately left white areas relating to small countries and principalities such as Luxembourg and Andorra – so we learned something when we checked them out against the inset map!
- The answers in the scratch off panel at the bottom needed a magnifying glass to read, and did not always line up completely with the name of the country on top, so for example when we went to check out the answer for the Netherlands and scratched this off, the answer for Italy was mistakenly revealed beneath, which slightly spoiled things.
However overall I feel these are very minor faults, and think this would make an unusual gift idea for an art lover, educational gift for an older child, or someone who appreciates maps.
If you fancy one of these for yourself or as a gift, I’ll be offering one as a giveaway very soon on the Artful Kids Facebook Page.
Alternatively you can purchase one here.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of the map for review, but did not receive any payment.