“ Brand: ELC / Type: Craft Supplies „
My little boy is Cars mad and also loves drawing and colouring so it was really a no brainer to get him these mats as part of his Christmas Present three years ago.
What the pack contains is basically 4 magic mats along with an aquadraw pen (this is basically like a biro but the top unscrews to be filled with water).
The child then uses the special "pen" which has been filled with water to colour on the magic mats and then magically the picture appears.
Four different pictures (mats) are included but we all found the pictures very similar (two of them were very similar and you had to look really hard to see the small differences).
Being quite small the mats are ideal to take on car journeys, holidays or when visiting friends or family etc as they are very light and also do not make a mess like normal colouring books and pens/pencils would.
The only downside is that if your child is like mine and colours quite quickly, each mat takes a while to dry so this set may only entertain them for a few minutes before them having to wait for the mats to dry out before they can be used again.
I had previously purchased the Tomy Aquadoodle Mini Mats sets for my twin boys and wanted to expand our collection. We purchased the Aquadoodle sets to encourage my boys creativity skills but limit the mess on occasions when we would visit family and friends and we had a few drawing on walls incidents. I noticed that Tomy offered a range of these sets which were usually themed with various TV series or films. My boys love the Disney Cars films so the Disney Cars Aquadoodle Mini Mats seemed like a good purchase.
*** Disney Cars Aquadoodle Mini Mats***
The Tomy Aquadoodle toys are is basically a mat in which allows children to develop their drawing skills by using only a small amount of water. You fill a special Aquadoodle pen up with water and allow your child to draw on the coated Aquadoodle mat and once the water touches the mat the doodles can be seen and images on the mat are uncovered.
The Disney Cars mini mats contain 4 different Aquadoodle mats and an Aquadoodle pen which contain a different Disney Cars themed image or scene. Each of the mats is a greyish colour and is around 19cm long by 15cm high. The image on the mat becomes colourful and bright once it is scribbled over by the water from the Aquadoodle pen.
Tomy state that these are suitable from age 18 months and over.
The Tomy Disney Cars Aquadoodle Mini Mats are sold by a variety of toy retailers including Boots, Toys R Us Amazon, Smyths, ELC, Tesco and Amazon. The price of the mini mats vary depending on the retailer however some retailers sell these for around £8 per set. Although the mats are reusable over and over again I do think for £8 this is extremely expensive, especially for this particular set which is in my opinion one of the poorer sets. However most retailers tend to sell this set for around £3-4 which makes this one of the cheaper Tomy Aquadoodle Mini Mats sets as some of the other themed sets you can't purchase for less than £6.
Mr Lools and I had previously purchased other sets from the Tomy Aquadoodle Mini Mats range so when we purchased the Disney Cars set this was to add to the collection for my twin boys and add more variation to the images they had to discover.
Like the other sets the Disney Cars Aquadoodle Mini Mats comes in a flat cardboard box around 30cm long and 20cm wide and is accessed by a small flap on the top of the box. The picture on the box shows what is contained inside although on the Disney Cars box I feel the image on the front of the outer packaging is a lot more exciting than the actual images on the mini mats! Inside the box there are four Aquadoodle Mini Mats and one pen in each set. If you have purchased only one Aquadoodle set only one child can play with these at a time because there is only one pen so we purchased a number of these sets (with different themes) to ensure that our twin boys could play together with the Aquadoodle Mini Mats and we did not have scraps over the pen. We have around five sets in total so now have a pen for each of my boys and spares in case they lose one or if they have friends over to play with them. The outer packaging the mats come in is compact and easy to take out with you in a handbag however the cardboard is not very durable and after a few trips out it rips making the box unusable. I tend to find that I pop the mats and Aquadoodle pens into a pencil case to take out with me. I do not place the mats directly in my handbag as they tend to bend and although they are protected by a plastic coating they do attract dirt.
Playing with and filling the pens up is very easy. You simply screw the pen apart fill with around 20ml of water. Screw back together and the pens are filled and ready to be used to draw on the mats with. The pens are quite chunky around 2.5cm in diameter and 12cm long. The nib of the pen is made from a hard spongy material that even when jabbed into the mats cannot bend so are very durable.
We bought the Disney Cars Aquadoodle Mini Mats when my boys were around 20 months old. They had been playing with some of the other sets from the Aquadoodle Mini Mats range so pretty much knew what to do and how to "play" with the sets. I found that because they had been playing with these sets from quite a young age (around 14 months) they had developed motor skills and hand eye coordination so could hold the Aquadoodle pens using a pincer motion and could easier scribble away and reveal the various images. With the Disney Cars set they took a lot of pleasure scribbling on the mini mats and uncovering the images but did not take as much of an interest in the images on the mat as they did with other sets (for example the Peppa Pig and In the Night Garden sets). I feel this was for one of two reasons. Firstly my boys are not huge fans of the Disney Cars films. They have some books and have seen parts of the film but it is certainly not a favourite. Secondly I feel the variation in the images on the four mats is not as great as in other sets. I feel the images look very similar as three of the mats include Lightening McQueen, and there are really only two other characters present in the scenes (Mater and Sally). With most of the other sets the images are so different on the mats that even if a very young child did not know or recognise the TV series they would be uncovering a different image each time.
The mats once wet immediately change colour so a child instantly sees a change in the mat and after about 5 minutes they "dry" and turn grey again ready to be reused although with the Disney Cars mats my boys tended to only every scribble on these once and then looked for something else to do.
I think the main benefit of the magic mats is that they are mess free. Although the pen and mats use water this is such a small amount it does not leave a wet mess that you have to clear up. The sponge nib on the pen does not leak and a small amount of water uncovers a lot of the image. This means that the pens do not constantly need filling up and the pen can uncover each of the four mini mats at least twice.
The age guidance on all of the Aquadoodle Mini Mats sets is from 18 months. Personally I found my boys at around 14-15 months were fine to play with both the mats and the pens and I felt the toys were "safe". Although I would not really recommend this particular set for a younger child because the images on the mat are so similar they do not have the same entertainment value as some of the other themed Aquadoodle sets. In terms of safety and usability however the pens are quite difficult for an adult to screw apart and a young child would not be able to do so and the pen is large and chunky enough to not be a choking hazard but still small enough for small hands to hold. Plus at this young age I tended to supervise my boys closely with most creative type toys.
At just over 2 years old they still enjoy playing with the Aquadoodle Mini Mats but they do not have the same appeal and entertainment value as they did when they were under 2 years old; especially the Disney Cars set.
This is not a "bad" toy and for a child that really likes Disney Cars I think that this would be an excellent purchase especially as it is one of the cheaper Tomy Aquadoodle Mini Mats sets costing less than £4. However compared to the other Tomy Aquadoodle Mini Mats sets I think the Disney Cars set is one of the poorer examples and the lower price takes this into consideration. For a child that does not own any of these sets I would probably only recommend if they were a big fan of Disney Cars.
I do like the Tomy Aquadoodle Mini Mats and think they are a great toy to take out to entertain a child and allow them to be creative without having the mess and fuss that goes with colouring in (and leaving a young toddler with a crayon). But I think what lets this set down is that the images on the mini mats are very similar as they mainly all are of Lightening McQueen and for a very young toddler it is quite difficult to distinguish between the mats as they look so similar. With many of the other sets there is a much greater variation between the characters and images.
Not a bad toy but one of the poorer sets from the Tomy Aquadoodle Mini Mats range.
Simply fill the pen with water and children can Aquadoodle their favourite Cars characters and scenes. No mess, no fuss and it?s impossible to go out of the lines, ideal for very young children taking their first creative steps. Scenes magically fade to colour over and over again. Each pack contains 4 different scene cards and 1 Aquadoodle pen. Age range: From 18 months.