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Back To School in Style with Maped Helix!


2266_image1.jpgEverybody loves stationery and as a child there is nothing better than getting ready for the new school year with sparkling new equipment and the West Midlands based stationery giant, Maped Helix are synonymous with school stationery.

Although you may not realise it, everybody at some point has used a Maped Helix product at school, home or at work.

Established for over 125 years Maped Helix have been supplying both traditional and innovative school stationery and office equipment under the Helix and Helix Oxford brands.

They say that the original is always the best – and nothing could be truer than for the famous Oxford Mathematical Set, the first of its kind when it was launched in 1935.

A complete and accurate set of geometry equipment for school children in a traditionally-designed tin, it contains a self-centring compass and pencil, 15cm ruler, 45 and 60 degree set squares, 180 degree protractor, 10mm lettering stencil, eraser, sharpener and a timetable and fact sheet. More than 150 million Helix Oxford Maths Sets have been sold since its launch and it continues to equip millions of pupils worldwide.

Following my recent visit to Helix and the sight of those iconic Oxford maths sets, memories came flooding back of my own school days; of covering the inside lid of my Oxford Maths tin with Tippex and then etching the name of each member of Spandau Ballet in the white paint. (When I wasn't looking, my best friend would Tippex over Martin Kemp's name 2266_image2.jpgand replace with Simon le Bon, just to annoy me!)

The thrill of seeing all those brightly coloured pens, holding new packets of pristine erasers, fondling brand new felt tips was all very reminiscent of that ‘back to school' sentiment. To offset the disappointment that the school holidays were over, our parents would let us choose some new stationery for the brand new term. I remember the anxiety over which pencil case to choose? The pink folder or the green one? Do I go for the fibre tip pen or the biro with 4 different colours that you could interchange?

For children today the choice of products available is astounding. What impressed me about the Maped Helix product range is the thought that has gone into the ergonomic design of each product, from the triangular grip pens and crayons, to the rubber back ruler (which stops the ruler from slipping).

The new Bunny Innovation pencil sharpener is a cheeky chappy, sure to be a big hit with children this Easter. Not only is he way too cute to be a pencil sharpener, he also serves to teach children the correct clockwise motion for sharpening a pencil. Get it right and his little incisors munch up and down to produce a perfectly sharpened pencil.

Among the most popular of Maped Helix's recent creations is the award-winning Jungle Innovation, which is injecting a burst of colour and fun into classrooms. Having already won two accolades at the prestigious National Stationery Awards, it 2266_image3.jpghas also been shortlisted as a finalist at the Education Resource Awards and is fast becoming the must-have colouring set in classrooms.

I was particularly struck with the Jungle Innovation. When we were younger, my brother and I used to spend hours making our own comics, creating stories and colouring the characters in. These felts tips would have been perfect for the task – the holder keeps all the pens in one place, and there's no need to scramble about looking for pen tops. My own daughter was thrilled when she saw it and straight away put the pens to use making a birthday card for a friend.

The felt tips come in a closed, flexible holder that opens out like a palm tree to showcase the 12 brightly coloured pens. Children can simply pull the pens out of the caps which are permanently fixed into the base and return them once they are finished with their colourful creations. As well as the innovative design, the pens are washable so teachers and parents need not fret about ruining clothes, while the ink used is long lasting so the pens will not dry out as quickly as standard felt tips.

In the age of iPads and electronic gadgets, it's easy to overlook the sheer unadulterated joy children (and adults) can get from colouring and drawing. I still encourage my children to make birthday cards and Christmas cards for close family and friends. It's a battle sometimes but the 2266_image4.jpgresults are always worth it – and the effort put in to their creations is always appreciated.   I found my time ‘colouring in' at Helix recently most therapeutic. Perhaps ‘Colouring In' sessions should be provided on the NHS. I'm sure they can be far more effective than pills at lowering blood pressure.

The thing that strikes me is that we have such an affection with stationery because it appeals to all our senses: all those bright colours, the smell of a new rubber, the sound of felt tips on paper.

Long may it continue!

Right, I'm off for a spot of colouring.
Feature by Sally Walters, Editor of Raring2go!

Maped Helix can be purchased at all major retailers as well as independent stationers and the full range is available to view on the Maped Helix website.

Also available on the website is various downloadable material for schools and home, as well as a link to the new Maped Helix interactive app.

Sally Walters

Sally Walters

Editor of Raring2go! for the Kidderminster and Stourbridge area since 2008. Mum of two, wife of one, font of all knowledge. Recently discovered a love of running/jogging and tennis -  helps keep my sanity. What I lack in skill, I make for in enthusiasm!

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