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We bought this for our daughter when she turned three. It looked, from the picture, to be great fun and a chance for her to get a bit messy whilst painting without it being completely crazy mess-wise. We were disappointed by it to say the least and think that it has many areas in which it needs to improve.
What is it?
Well! The packaging makes you believe that it is a spinning table which will enable your children to have endless hours of fun creating messy pictures! In reality it is a piece of plastic rubbish which doesn't even work and if it did your little one would probably only have about 2 minutes of fun as the paint tubes they provide you with are tiny!
It is a blue plastic table in which you place a piece of paper which secures into place. This piece of paper then can be spun round by pressing a button. Whilst it spins round the idea is to squirt paint from the tubes into the table and onto the paper. The spinning motion will create lots of interesting patterns.
What you get
Well I cannot complain about the amount of paper that this comes with. I haven't counted them as I do indeed have a life but I would say there are about 50 pieces of paper which are cut to shape ready to be used. This paper is glossy. You also get three little paint tubes with lids. These are orange, green and purple. These are very very tiny indeed but quite easy to squeeze.
Playing with it
Well Little B was very excited by this as it did look very fun and Mrs B was eager to set it up to have some creative fun with her. It didn't take more than a minute to set up as all you have to do is put the paper in place and off you go! But in reality this is not exciting. The button you press is stiff and makes a big clunking noise and it only seems to spin the paper if pressed in a specific place and even then it's not certain if it will spin properly or just kind of slowly move round in a very fed up fashion. When it does spin round it is probably for about 6 seconds and so you need to press it again which makes it difficult for young children to use as it's hard to do that and squeeze paint. When it did spin round fast Little B would squirt some paint and then when it stopped we waited in avid excitement to see the swirls... there were no swirls, more like lines of paint which did not look very artisitic or exciting at all and if she used more than one colour they just mingled together in a grubby brown colour. What was worse was once it tried, because the paper is shiny, it all went very, very dull indeed unlike how you would expect as the paint colours themselves are very bright. What made it worse is that after just one play with this the paints ran out and all she did was create four little tiny square 'pictures' so we now have another 46 pieces of paper but no more paint. We could of course buy some more but we don't see why we should when it's such a poor piece of plastic that doesn't even spin properly and just frustrates our daughter!
What Little B thinks
This definitely did not entertain her for more than about 5 minutes and even during that time she was more frustrated than amused. She couldn't work out how to get it to spin properly and when Mummy B helped her to spin it it was disappointing to see that it only lasted a second and quite often this was not long enough for her to have squirted out paint and had it swirl round. She was disappointed when she tried to get it out to play with a few days later and realised the paint had ran out.
This is really a rubbish toy which could be so much better if they improved it. They need to make it actually spin with ease and for more than a few seconds. It also needs to come with more paint and for the paper not to be shiny so that it doesn't dry a dull brown colour. I am very disappointed with this and think it's not even worth £1 let alone the £8 we paid for it! It is very poorly made and you can tell it's not been trialed properly. We are not impressed and expected something from The Early Learning Centre to be much better than this. Definitely do not recommend.
My childhood holidays were always spent at Mablethorpe and I have such happy memories from going there. One place I used to love visiting was the indoor fun fair, where apart from the rides there was an 'Art Station' which consisted of several deep 'bowls' that spun around with paper attached in the centre whilst you aimed different coloured paints bottles towards them; thus creating colourful splattered pictures. I used to love this area and always came home with psychedelic creations that used to hang on my wall and so when the indoor fun fair closed down I was most disappointed.
Fast forward to around 3 years ago when I was browsing online for Christmas present ideas for my children on the Early Learning Centre website where I came across something called 'Twirl & Paint' - that works on the same principal. Priced at £8 at the time I thought this was a very reasonable amount to pay and eagerly handed over my bank card details to pay as I thought it would be just the thing to occupy my two boys (and myself!).
**What is it?**
Twirl & Paint is a moulded piece of plastic that has a dish type area with an approximate depth of 1 inch and is a deep blue in colour, whilst in the centre of this is a contrasting canary yellow plastic disc with four clips at each side for attaching the paper to. The actual bowl is a circular shape with an integrated 'tail' area that veers off of one side giving the product the shape of an apostrophe. This 'tail' area has three indents which is where the paint can be stored and next to these is a large raised red button for activating the disc to spin.
When the paper is attached to the yellow disc you simply press a button which causes the disc and paper to spin whilst you aim your paint towards the spinning paper and create colourful pictures.
**What's included in the set?**
Twirl & Paint comes housed in a similar coloured box to the actual product, being a deep blue with white lettering for the logo. There is a large photograph of the product on the front and on the back is a list of what's contained within which is:
*Twirl & Paint unit
*100 pieces of paper
*3 different coloured bottles of paint (orange, green and purple)
**Price and Availability**
I paid £8 three years ago as mentioned but the price has since risen to £10 which is still reasonable. I did see this in store at the time but ordered via the website though having been into the large ELC in my home town recently I noticed it was no longer on the shelves but it is still available to order from their website and through their shop on Amazon.
**Our experiences of using this**
One thing I do like about ELC products is though the price may seem high at times in comparison with other brands the quality more than makes up for this and everything I've ever bought from there has lasted several years without breaking. My boys are now both aged 7 and 8 years old and this was bought when they were 4 and 5 respectively and has been used a lot over the years as they are both keen on arts and crafts.
The recommended age for this is 36 months + which I think is appropriate due to the paint but the actual machine itself features no small removable parts or sharp bits so would be safe enough for children aged around 2 years as long as there is adult supervision.
Twirl & Paint was a relatively simple product to set up as it is already mainly assembled with the only part to attach being the yellow spinning disc. This easily clips into the centre of the unit and is just as easily removable making it easy to attach the paper before hand (and removing afterwards as well).
One of the main things that appealed with this product was the fact it doesn't need batteries, which in this day and age of children's toys is amazing. The large red button when pressed spins the disc accordingly and works via a clog type mechanism underneath in a sealed compartment.
There is an abundance of paper included but my only criticism is the size; at approximately 3" x 3" it doesn't leave a large enough area for making much in the line of art but then again the paint bottles that are included are very small and from experience can tell you they don't last long at all.
Both of my sons have always found this extremely easy to use on their own (though I always supervised when they were younger as my youngest son Zak had a tendency to aim the paint anywhere than were it should have been aimed!). The paper can be clipped and released easily by young children and though it isn't tightly held in place it seems to have adequate enough grip when spinning around.
I have been fairly happy with my purchase and 3 years later it is still going strong and is a well loved art and craft toy which gets used on a regular basis. The lack of batteries is noticeable, despite being a refreshing change, as the disc spins for a limited time only - literally 5 to 10 seconds - meaning that one hand should be kept free to keep pressing the button (if using the unit alone otherwise an adult could do this whilst the child is painting). The paint that was included is quite insipid and lacks vibrance so any finished pictures look a little pale in comparison with the brightness of the picture on the front of the box, though we've since used bottle paints from ELC and Asda which have sufficed just as well if not better so it's worth bearing in mind to have extra paint bottles in stock at home if thinking of buying this.
This may not be as exciting and certainly not as authentic as the Art Station in Mablethorpe all those years ago but for the money it is fascinating toy to any child that loves painting. The plastic this is moulded from seems quite thin and though I did worry at first that it would break easily I've been impressed with the sturdiness of it despite it being dropped and knocked off of the table over the years. It's easy to wipe down when paint gets splattered on it as there are no hidden crevices on it so a wipe with a soapy cloth generally suffices.
I would recommend this as it's stood the test of time with my children and it's something they go back to again and again despite being 7 and 8 so it was well worth the money in my opinion. It may not spin round for long but the fact it doesn't need any batteries makes up for any other slight misgivings I may have had. Even when the paper eventually ran out the clips on the disc are wide enough for more or less any thickness of paper to be cut to size so it's not as if it's a toy that wont work properly once everything has been used up as it's very accommodating as non ELC products can be used with it.
I've read other reviews that have painted this in a negative way (no pun intended) but I have nothing overly negative to say about this toy at all. It does what it is suppose to and keeps children entertained (and myself) and that's what counts at the end of the day.
My daughter loves getting messy so for her third birthday I bought this twirl and paint because it helps to keep messy play contained in one small space and I thought it looked like fun. I have to admit though that it is very limited and definitely did not hold her attention for long enough and I can see why. It is a disappointment and I do not recommend it which is a shame as I had been expecting to have lots of fun with this.
On the box it shows pictures which look quite effective, very bright in colour and simple to do!
What you get
Inside the box is a plastic stand/turntable, three paints and a packet of paper. The plastic stand has three places for the paints to go to keep them upright and these fit in easily and look quite tidy. The turntable has a little ledge which you can lift off for cleaning purposes and has tiny clips in which you have to put the paper to keep it secure. There is a ring which you position at the top of the turntable which makes the paint less likely to go flying off in all directions when it is spinning around. On the stand is a big button which when you press it the turntable spins quite fast.
What you do
You take a piece of paper from the packet and secure it onto the turntable. This is easy enough for me to do but there is no way that Hope would be able to secure it into place herself. You then take one of the little bottles of paint and get ready to squirt it into the turntable. You press the button which then spins the turntable and squeeze the paint into the turntable. The paint then spreads around the paper as it spins. You can add as many drops of paint as you like and use all of the colours. You have to keep pressing the button to keep it spinning and the more 'sharp' you press it, the faster it turns.
The result is a piece of paper which looks like a lot of colours have been dropped onto it and made a rather messy looking image. The colours tend to blend into one so the majority of pictures are brown and when you take the paper out the paint is so runny it often just drips off the sides and makes quite a bit of mess!
What I wasn't happy with
The above description doesn't really make this product sound all that bad, in fact it may make you wonder why I have only given it one star but this toy has many limitations.
The first thing I don't like is that the paints themselves are tiny. My daughter only made 4 of the pictures and this used up over a third of each bottle (yes she used probably a bit too much paint per picture but she is three and this is what three year olds do) so they are not likely to last very long. I suppose we can use other squirty paints but it does seem a shame that we will need to be replacing them within a couple of days. The paints are also quite hard to squeeze. If you give a gentle squeeze it takes a long time for a drop to eventually come out of the nozzle so instead an eager toddler is likely to use both hands, give it a big squeeze and then it results in a lot of paint squirting out making a big mess which then drips off the paper when you lift it out.
Another thing that I am not pleased about is that the turn table element just does not spin fast enough. You have to be very quick with pressing the button to make it be fast enough to actually move the paint but it still doesn't create a really effective mess of paint, instead it just spreads it out a bit and it doesn't spin for long either so I would keep pressing the button whilst Hope was squirting the paint so it did feel as though I had to be constantly present to help her.
The paper is shiny which I presume is so that the paint moves on it easier as it spins. This is all well and good but it means that when the paint dries it is faded and looks quite dull, which is nothing like what it looks like at first when it's damp as it's bright and very colourful. The paper is also fiddly to get out of the turntable and I did end up with my hands covered in paint and with it all dripping down the sides so do be prepared for this!
My daughter did enjoy playing with it but she was bored after doing 4 which only took a matter of minutes. I think perhaps if there were more colours then it would be more exciting or if the turntable actually spun very quickly then it would create a better effect. My daughter was more interested in watching the colours change as they mixed together as apose to the new shapes that were being created.
This is definitely a limited toy which is a shame as I had something similar when I was younger and remember playing with it for hours. I think it is a good idea but just not right. It is good that it doesn't require batteries and it is simple to set up but what good is that if your child isn't really interested in it anyway? I am very disappointed with this.
I paid £8 for it which I think is expensive when you see how tiny the little bottles of paint are. I am definitely far from impressed by this.
Press the button to start the spinner, then squirt in the coloured paints to create your unique swirly picture.Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts Age range: From 3 years.