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When my son was younger, I regularly took him to local playgroups where he could interact with other children and adults, but more importantly make a mess of somewhere else that was not our home! Always a very creative child in regards to drawing and putting things together, but he also loved playing with plasticine. I decided to be brave ( Ive seen the mess he got up to with this type of thing in playgroup! ) and bought his this set from Argos roughly around 18 months ago. Price would have been between £5-7.00 as it was on sale. Don't think this set is available anymore though.
Why did I buy it?
When watching my son play with similar products outside of the home, I found that he was being very creative, used his hand and eye co ordination very well but was actually quite shocked how he would stay still for such along time and the sheer concentration on his little face was impressive. I felt also it would make a good contrast to the other toys he had at home.
How is it packaged?
It came in a cardboard box 10 inches in length, 5 inches width and 10 inches high. On the top is a carry handle to make moving this around easier. The box itself is quite colourful and eye catching. Top left hand corner on the front it has the ' Chad Valley ' logo with the words Create- Shape n Create Activity Case. Next to it, it has a picture of what you get in the box, who its suitable for and mentions some help for children will be required.
The plasticine and tools were all housed in two plastic ' shelves 'inside the box, which meant they had a specific place to be put into and could remain quite safe and secure.
On the side it tells you what this product will do for children and on the back has a breakdown on exactly what you get.
What does it include?
24 slabs of plasticine, all different colours. 6 animal cutters, 2 modelling tools, 1 roller, 1 playmat, 1 instruction leaflet.
What does this do for the child?
Encourages them to be more creative and use their imagination. Great way of getting to know different shapes and animals ( from the cutters included ).
How do we find it?
When I bought this for my son,I didn't really take on board his sister at the time. She was still very small so I knew it was something she couldn't really get into. When she reached the stage of getting inquisitive and slightly destructive, my son could only really play with this when she was having a nap which wasn't the best solution but allowed him some time to play with it without being interrupted by his sis.
I loved the fact that there were so many pieces in the box. Lots of variety in regards to the colours available in the plasticine, but the tools also meant he had the chance to cut, roll and stamp which meant he had lots of fun.
Downsides for me were the fact that the plasticine really needed to be worked into as it was so hard, I couldn't just let my son get into it straight away. So I would sit there for a good few minutes trying to soften it so he could use it. That was the case for any of the plasticine that hadn't been used before. Also, the number of tools is great for one kid, but when you have two not so good. My daughter now is at the age where she can play with things like this, and hopefully I have got into her head that you don't eat any of these pieces. So to have only one set of tools is limited, as they tend to squabble a lot as one wants what the other has!
Despite this coming with a mat, which I think is far too small anyway, you will find bits of plasticine everywhere. It's a good job they are brightly coloured as you can see them, but I do find it alittle hard to get out of the floor and rug In the living room. Its removable, but with some effort.
Overall it's a nice set. Easy to store in its original packaging and doesn't take up too much room. Despite the fact that we never shut the box properly, the plasticine doesn't dry out and is in exactly the same condition as it was when bought ( the non used bits that is ). Theres a huge variety of pieces to this and to be honest we still haven't used all the plasticine as its near impossible. It's a bit of fun, not too messy ( could be a lot worse ), allows children to be creative but importantly ( I did buy this for my son only ) this is something one child could use on their own, or more children could use at once.
Would I buy this again? Yes and no. The reason I say that is because it was fantastic value when I bought it and for all the reasons above, but since discovering Play Doh I would want to stick with that type of modelling material as its much easier and probably more fun to use for both of my children.