The lovely Merry over at Craft Merrily sent us these kits to review this week and the kids had much fun this morning absorbed in both activities. The timing was perfect as with the move imminent (only three more sleeps!), I’ve been packing up all our craft materials, puzzles, board games, books…well you get the idea! So it was great to be able to produce something new and exciting for them to do this morning. I felt a bit less guilty about the fact that everything they have been asking to play with or do has been packed into a box this week leaving them with minimal choice left.
We started with the Djeco light clay super heroes kit as Isaac has an ongoing playdough obsession so I thought it’d be right up his street and hopefully keep them entertained for a decent amount of time! They were both very excited upon opening the box and even more so when they got the hang of what they had to do.
I have to admit, at first I wasn’t massively impressed as I felt like it was quite a closed activity in that the object is to make the six super hero animals and there isn’t much scope for using the clay in any other capacity. I however, stand corrected for two reasons. Firstly, I forgot how much Sophia loves following instructions so having a very specific goal to aim for was great for her. She liked sorting out the parts for her super hero and then rolling the clay to the right shape before putting their legs, arms and head in. Secondly, if you did want to make the super heroes into different shapes or do something else with the clay, at the end of the day nothing is stopping you from doing so!
Isaac initially got quite cross with the clay, it was quite sticky and wasn’t doing what he wanted it to! But he got over it and was very excited to use which super heroes he was going to make and with (a little) help very much enjoyed doing so. He is being remarkably patient (for him) as they are currently drying overnight and is looking forward to playing with them tomorrow.
I asked the kids what they thought of the kit afterwards. Isaac said he likes his crocodile, tiger and giraffe and Sophia said she LOVED making them and LOVED her creations! So I’d count that as a success! For what my opinion is worth, I thought the kit was ace. The clay is very tactile and easy to use and the results are brilliant and easy for small people to achieve. They have a whole range of different kits with the same ‘light’ clay that you can find here and I think they are really good value for money. I’d certainly consider buying one in the future, especially as a gift for Sophia’s friends.
After a bit of a break we moved on to the maxi hama beads. I knew these would be a success as Sophia has had a kit in the past and loved doing them. She was over the moon when she saw the rocking horse set and even happier when Isaac declared he wanted no part in it which meant she could settle down to do it by herself. I’d been wondering whether she would be able to move on to the regular sized beads yet but actually, I think the maxi size are still the best size for her to use. She initially decided she was going to make her own pattern which surprised me but soon decided that actually she would copy the suggested pattern that came with the kit.
I left her to it and went to occupy Isaac and do some more packing. Before I knew it, she called me in and presented me with her finished rocking horse. As I think the picture clearly shows, she loved doing it and was very happy with the finished (pre ironed) result!
Unfortunately for me, Isaac then decided that he wanted to play with hama beads as well. Unfortunate as I wasn’t sure if there was enough beads left for him to do a complete horse. There wasn’t but he had enough to do the body of a horse with shortened legs and tail! He couldn’t care less about the loss of limbs and much enjoyed getting involved in some beading. I was surprised by his manual dexterity in filling the board without knocking them off their little pegs and by his concentration in staying at the table until he’d finished.
As I suspected would be the case, maxi hama beads were a roaring success in this household! I knew Sophia would love them but was pleasantly surprised to find that Isaac could manage to do them and enjoyed them too. I have been meaning to buy Sophia new beads for almost a year now, in fact after Isaac decided to destroy some of Sophia’s previous creations I did end up pulling them completely apart so that the beads could be reused. Bit scabby! So I’ll definitely be buying beads for both of their stockings this year and possibly a new board each as well, just for fun! You can find the whole range (including maxi, midi and mini!) here at Craft Merrily. I remember them from my childhood, we used to have a humongous box of beads that was regularly topped up so it brings me much pleasure to see my children getting the bug for them as well. A staple in any families crafting collection I think!
I’m looking forward to doing more and more crafting as the cold days draw in and am really pleased that Isaac has just reached a point where he’ll actually sit down and join in rather than throw the component parts around or try and eat the materials. I’m especially grateful for this new found skill on his part in the light of the new baby arriving in February. It makes me a bit less panicky about how I’ll manage continuing activities with the big two whilst tending to a tiny one.
A very big thank you to Merry at Craft Merrily for sending us these kits to review, they were much enjoyed by both my small people and provided a welcome break from the monotony of the fifth house move in as many years! We’ll definitely be returning to Djeco and Hama Beads for more crafting opportunities before too long.