It was after reading a review by Kingfisher on a review site thast I decided my daughter would love this toy and decided to keep an eye out for it, I ended up buying it in the 3 for 2 promotion that Boots ran before christmas so although it should have cost around £10.50 it works out cheaper for me, Argos also include this in their 2 for £15 range so you can get ot for £7.50. As the art set is made by Crayola and after reading the review I knew that this set was going to be good quality.
The set is packaged in a bright yellow cardboard box which is pretty sturdy which I am pleased about as alot of boxes on these sorts of sets are flimsy and fall apart with continued use. On the front of the box there is the title of the product which is written in little squares in bright colours which is a nice touch, you also have the Crayola logo and the picture on the front of the box shows the contents of the actual box but is displayed in a really nice way. The picture shows the coloured foam squares fanned out to shows each colour and the felt tip pens are displayed in the bottom corner also fanned out so showing lots of the colours. The box shows that this set is meant for children aged 3 and up and I would say this is a pretty accurate guide.
Inside the box you find a plastic tray holding 12 squares of different coloured foam squares, the foam is very spongy and about 3mms thick, you get 100 squares made of foam about 1/2cm across in brown, pink, lemon yellow, sunshine yellow, dark green, pale brown, dark blue, pale blue, orange, black, pale green and bright green so as you can see there is a huge choice of colours. In the opposite side of the plastic tray you have 16 different coloured fine tip felt pens, on each pen you have a little pen shaped character with big eyes and a cheeky grin with the name of the coloured pen. The pens are packaged in colour order and look lovely like an extended rainbow. Inside a plastic packet there are the pictures for your little one to create, each picture is on cardboard rather than paper which is great and makes the pictures easier to display, the pictures are a butterfly, a giraffe, a fish, a toucan and a flower. Each picture has lots of little squares drawn on it with some extra detailing to be coloured in such as trees and flowers.
Once your child has chosen which picture they would like to create they simply peel back the foam squares off the backing one at a time and place them over a square on the picture. The squares are easy to peel off however if you end you with two stuck together they will not peel apart again and have to go into the bin, there is a foam frame surrounding each of the sheets of foam squares which i presume is probably to ensure the squares all stay in place on the sheets but my daughter is going to use these frames for her other creation so that is an added bonus. The strength of the sticky on the squares is very string so if your child makes a mistake about where they want them they won't be able to get them back off. The pictures don't have nay guidance about what colours should go where so it is entirely down to your child what they are creating. This set is very easy to use and my daughter has got to grips with it very quickly, once you have finished placing the sqaures or before if your child prefers you can use the pen to colour in all the surroundings of the pictures.
Although this allows for a child to be creative I think it might have been nice for a couple of the pictures to be a stick by numbers to show children what sort of colours look good together. The pictures when finished look great and it has allowed my daughter a different way of being creative without having to have the mess of paint and glue so I am very happy with this set. My daughter hasn't completed all of the pictures yet but i would say there will be some extra squares left at the end that she will be able to make extra pictures with and I know she will love this as she would make pictures all day long if she was allowed to. I would happily recommend this set and only wish they made a variance of pictures so I could get her some more as I can see these ones are not going to last very long.
Both of my daughters are very much into their arts and crafts so it came as no surprise when my six year old received lots of craft sets for her birthday. One gift was Crayola Mosaics which is something which she has really enjoyed using and has delighted in the pictures she has made. It is very simple and easy to do, and, best of all in my opinion, there is very little mess.
The kit contains a few essential items. These are five pieces of card that have basic scenes printed on them. There is a giraffe, a flower, a fish, a bird and a butterfly. These are very easily recognisable but I do think that it is a bit strange that the pictures almost seem as they have been cut off. The butterfly is missing a tip of one wing, the bird has lost its tail and the flower seems to be missing a third of its petals. It is a little bit like what some trendy photographers do! My daughter does not seem to mind too much that some bits are missing but younger children may be a bit perplexed by this!
There are also twelve different coloured foam adhesive sheets that are broken up into squares that are easy to peel off. There are also sixteen mini supertip pens for colouring in the backgrounds.
It is quite easy to create a mosaic picture. Just choose the image you want As far as I can remember there were no instructions which I quite odd for Crayola so it is possible that we have lost them. Without instructions though, you can soon work out what to do as each of the five images is shown complete on the back of the box. Basically you colour in the backgrounds using the felt tips provided. After this you select the different foam squares that you need in order to complete your mosaic picture. These detach very easily from the different coloured sheets. You will notice that these are very sticky which may cause a slight problem because once you have placed them on the card template they are quite difficult to remove. Because of this, you don't want to be changing your mind about the colours that you are using! (They will lift off but not very easily).
The pictures do not take that long to complete and as I mentioned earlier there is very little mess! The size of the picture is about A5 size so not incredibly big which is why they don't take too long. This is particularly good for younger children who might not have too much patience. My daughter can complete these in about an hour. This does cause a slight problem for me though (or it would do more if I had actually bought the set myself). As there are only five pictures to complete it is not going to take long to finish the whole set. As it costs £13.74 at present on Amazon (April 2011), this does not feel like very good value for money even though you can use the pens afterwards. Other art sets we have been given have lasted a lot longer, or have included things to play with once complete. I accept that these are quite attractive pictures and you could frame them, but I do still have a problem with the price.
Overall, this is a lovely set and my daughter thoroughly enjoyed making the pictures that she now has up in her room. I like the fact that it was something that she was very proud of and the fact there was no mess; I can't say that I am in love with the price though!!