“ Brand: Flair / Type: Beads / Jewelery / Age: 4 Years+ „
My daughter is absolutely arts and craft crazy and much prefers to sit and colour or other craft activities than play with toys really so I was looking for something for Christmas for her that was a little bit different. As she was to turn four just before Christmas she is at the age that seems to be in the middle of all the craft type items - too young for most and others that she is a little old for now. I came across Aqua beads and thought that they sounded like something unusual and different to the usual sticking activities that she is used to.
What are Aqua Beads?
For those of you that haven't heard of them, Aquabeads are small beads that join together when sprayed with water, creating a nice little keepsake.You can make the recommended designs from templates or even make up your own.
Aqua Beads Art Deluxe Set
Rather than choosing a starter set I opted to buy her the Art Deluxe which is quite a large set but it was on offer when I bought it and worked out cheaper than the smaller set. Aqua beads comes in a striking pink box which is covered in different coloured beads. In the centre of the box you will see a large picture of the case full of the beads and the plastic board (the deisgner table) which holds the beads when making the pictures. In large lettering it says "Design beautiful bead creations" just underneath the huge Aquabeads logo. It states age four and above in the top corner of the box so at a glance you can see the age range the product is for. On the reverse of the box you are shown various pictures that can be made with the beads.
Inside the box you will find:
* over 1500 coloured beads
* 1 designer table
* 1 bead case
* 6 template sheets
* 2 square layout trays
* 1 water spray
* 1 bead plopper
* 1 bead grabber
* Instruction leaflet
When you first open the box you will find all the beads in small sealed plastic bags so the first job is to open them all and place them all in the compartments in the case. This in itself was a tricky job and beads were flying all over the place, and this was before even starting to use them!!! The template cards have a range of pictures on them varying in size so there are plenty to choose from. Pictures include flowers, fish, snake, duck, fox and cherries. There is the option to make a three dimensional item such as a little jewellery box also.
Using the Aqua Beads
My little girl was so excited when she opened the aqua beads and of course she wanted to open them immediately, but after a little persuasion we managed to leave it until Boxing Day to have our first try. As I said initially we had to remove all the beads from the bags and put them in a tray which my daughter insisted she was helping, but after the third bag went all over the floor I had to put a halt to the help and do it on my own! As there were quite a lot of bags she was getting a little irritated at having to wait to begin making her design but eventually we were able to get going.
Finally onto choosing the design to make, we looked at the various pictures on the cards and my daughter decided to opt for the elephant - one of the larger designs obviously (!). To begin you need to place the template on the design table and on top of that place one of the layout trays which is covered in indentations to hold the beads in place. The idea is to use the bead grabber to pick up a bead and then place it on the tray. Sounds simple doesn't it! Well, after quite a few attempts my daughter grasped how to pick the bead up with the "pen" as you have to hold down the button at the end as you pick up and transfer it to the tray, releasing the button as you place it onto the tray. Plenty of frustration then followed as she tried to put the correct colour bead into the correct hole in the tray without any of the beads already there falling out. Every single time she got a bead in place the others would roll out of the tray, this even happened when I (and my mum) tried so it wasn't that she was knocking it too much.
Fast forward well over an hour later and my daughter finally lost her temper with it and gave up. I perservered and finally finished the picture as I wanted to see what happened afterwards. When the design is completed, using the spray provided, spray water all over the design (making sure all beads have been covered) and leave for an hour. During this time the beads will magically join together and your design is complete! I have to say that it did take over an hour for the design to be ready but that is probably due to the fact my daughter came back and absolutely drowned it with the water!!
My honest opinion of the aqua beads is that it is simply aged incorrectly. A four year old child will struggle a great deal with something so fiddly and, as my daughter proved, will become extremely frustrated with it. The trays don't fix onto the design table, they simply rest so the tray moves about at the slightest touch, surely it would have been better to have some kind of clip in order to fix it into place to restrict the movement. The spaces on the trays are not deep enough so the beads roll about far too easily so again it would have been much better to be slightly deeper to minimise the chance of the beads just rolling out.
The pens are both quite difficult for a child to use, one of them involves pressing a button to move a bead which again I think is quite difficult for little hands to do. The other pen that can be used you simply push down to pick up the bead but it is tricky to release the bead and you have to sort of roll it out which again moves the other beads!
I personally think the age on this set should be higher, maybe from age five as a four year old will struggle with this activity. My daughter is very used to doing a wide range of craft things and they all keep her attention whereas sadly this set just made her very frustrated and in the end upset. Even my mum and I got extremely frustrated with this and find it hard to imagine any child of this age being able to make up the designs.
As I said earlier in the review, there is the option to make a three dimensional item but you can probably guess that we have given this a complete miss and more than likely won't be using the set at all again. I also think that it is quite hard to tell what the actual pictures are on the template cards, some of them just look like one of those colour blind tests you get at the opticians!!
One good thing with the set is that the beads are stored in a sealed plastic case with plenty of compartments so the various colours can be kept separately and there are plenty spare so if you do wish to add more colours there is space in which to do so.
It is a great shame that this turned out to be a bit of a flop as I did have high hopes for it. You can buy the Aqua beads art deluxe set on Amazon for around £20, thankfully I bought it half price in the toy sale at Tesco!
See the full aqua beads range at www.flairplc.co.uk
Thank you for reading my review.
This all comes well packed in a box as shown in the picture above. The packaging is pretty eye catching and made my daughter want to buy this, as it does sell the product and it makes it look fun and interesting, for any child who likes arty things.
The box opens at the front, but its not like your normal box where u slide the contents out, the lid lifts up which makes it easy to store all the beads away, as in a normal box they would just fall out of the box they are stored in. So when they have packaged this they have pretty much taken all this into account.
I bought this for my daughter for £5 from B & M and I really don't think it could be found cheaper anywhere else, most other places I have seen it they have been over £10, so I got this at a bargain price.
THE CONTENTS OF THE BOX
1,200 beads in 8 bright colours
1 bead holder
1 water sprayer
3 layout trays
8 template sheets
1 base tray
1 tidy away tray
Instruction and handy tips sheet
The beads come in 8 different colours, so you can make pretty and colourful patterns with them. They are quite small, so I would not recommend them for someone of a young age, as they can be put places they would get stuck, as my nephew once did at nursery and got a bead stuck in his ear. so I would say to make sure your child is supervised while using these.
The beads come in their own plastic packet to keep them apart until you are ready to open them, then they can be stored in the bead holder, which has 8 different compartments, one for each colour.
WHAT TO DO WITH THEM
The template sheets are placed under the bead tray,and you can place the beads where the pattern goes to make the patterns on your template sheets, or you can choose to make your own pattern. Once you have the beads set in place then you spray with the water sprayer that comes in the box. Then leave to dry.
They do say that no heat is needed to dry these, but I found they took ages to dry normally, so I placed it on the radiator to dry for a while, still on the bead tray, if you take it off the bead tray too early it will break up.
The beads while wet are very sticky and gooey to touch, so I would not touch them till they are dry. But once dry the pattern comes out really nice and stuck together, they can be broken up but you do have to pull them pretty hard, and then they can be reused.
MY OVERALL OPINION
This is good for children who like to make things, my daughter keeps making me things and expects me to keep them all somewhere . This is a good way for kids to learn how to follow simple templates and to make pretty pictures at the same time.
This can keep my daughter occupied and quiet for a good couple of hours at a time, so I would recommend it if you like to have some peace loll. The only downside to this is the beads do tend to get everywhere, if your child is not careful with them, I have picked endless amount of beads up off the floor, but apart from that these are a must have for your child, and for £5 you can't go wrong.
Flair Original Aqua beads deluxe set is a creative toy using tiny coloured beads, made with PVA besed glue, and water.
In the box you get: 8 packets of multi coloured beads, bead tray, 8 template sheets , a base tray for the templates, 3 dimpled layout trays, water sprayer and a bead stylus pen.
It's described as being suitable for age 4+
What does it do?
Aqua beads are used, along with the templates or your own imagination to make small designs. You place your selected template in the base tray (examples of templates are a straberry, flowers, a love heart, star etc) and then cover with the relevent dimpled layout tray. Using the bead stylus you pick up the beads and deposit them into the layout tray, following the template. Once finished your design you spray with water and leave to dry (about an hour). You can then remove your design from the layout tray, and the beads are stuck together. Quite what you do with your finished product is upto you. We just put them in the box, although they could be used to embellish cards and other handmade crafts.
What do I think?
This isn't a toy I chose, it was bought as a gift for my 4 year old daughter. It requires quite a lot of patience and dexterity, one wrong move and the beads are everywhere. The sylus is difficult to use and its a struggle to pick up a bead with it and then deposit in the correct place, I prefer to use my fingers for quickness, however my daughter insists on doing it properly. Its very intricate, and while my daughter can do this, she often ends up bored and frustrated.
Its aged at 4+, and I would deffinatly advise against giving this toy to a child any younger due to the very small size of the beads and the level of concentration required. Infact I'd be inclined to say that perhaps an even older age guide would be more suitable. I can see children aged 6+ enjoying this and finding it rewarding Under that age it requires a lot of adult participation, my daughter usually wanders off leaving me to finish up.
I also struggle to find any real use for these little creations, other than for the pleasure of creating them. There is a template to make a photograph frame, but I quickly dismissed this as being far too complicated for my child right now.
I think that once sprayed and stuck, the beads can not be broken back down and re-used. Theres nothing in the instructions saying that you can, but there are tips on what to do should your creation bend, break or doesn't stick properly.
As I didn't buy this myself I'm unsure how much it cost or where it was purchased. However a quick google showed it was available from Amazon for £14.97. That seems a fair price, as I'm sure lots of older children would get plenty of enjoyment from it.
My four year old daughter has been asking for some of these beads for over a year. I had previously felt that she was too young and so had ignored her pleas. When asked by a relative shortly before Christmas what my daughter would like I was stumped for ideas until I remembered her requests.
The set comprises over 1200 beads of various colours and some star shaped beads for decorating you designs. You get three trays for making your design on and a water sprayer. Our set came with a pen that is used to pick up and place the individual beads but it did state on the pack that this was a bonus item. You also get some templates that include flowers, cherries and even a small box and picture frame. The idea is to create things using the sticky coated beads. You arrange all your beads into your desired pattern and then spray with water. This causes the beads to stick together and hold in the desired shape. If your shape comes apart after it has dried you simply have to wet it again to stick it back together. You can make flat shapes and three dimesional things like the frames or trinket boxes.
My daughter was really excited to finally receive this much coveted gift. I was nagged constantly on Christmas day to help her. The trays are marked differently depending on what you are making and the template is held in place by a plastic base that fits under the tray. The beads are very small and fiddly but the pen does make picking them up much easier. It took us a little while to make our first item because once you get a few beads in place you tend to move them when trying to place others. It was quite a fiddling thing to do and even the pen dislodged the beads. We eventually got our design finished and sprayed on the water as instructed. It states in the instructions that the drying time is about one hour but ours took a bit longer than this. Maybe we used too much water but I would say it took about three hours to get properly dry. It came off the tray easily but others that we made have stuck a little and had to be prised off.
I like the toy because it kept my daughters interest for quite a while. It also uses water to fix the designs and doesn't need to be ironed like some other versions I have seen.
I found it quite frustrating as the beads kept moving about after we had placed them. Also the beads are very small and so do need to be kept away from younger children. Other than that I have no real criticism of the toy and my daughter has thoroughly enjoyed making things with it. Not sure what I am going to do with all these little things now but never mind.
The recommended age range is 4 years and over and this seems about right to me. It is definitely not suitable for a much younger child. I am glad I waited to get this item for my daughter as she would previously have struggled to arrange the beads and would have lost interest more quickly.
I would recommend the set to anyone with little girls who like to make things. There are many other sets now available including sets of beads to replace those used.
The deluxe set is priced at about £15.00 and is available from Toys R Us, www.amazon.co.uk and www.johnlewis.com. Other sets are available at the same retailers with prices starting at about £9.99.
The Aqua Beads Art Deluxe Set includes everything you need to get creative with Aqua Beads.Lay the beads out using the picture sheets and templates as a guide.Simple and easy for young children to follow, these templates allow you to place the beads in exactly the right positions required to complete beautiful bead pictures.Alternatively older and more dexterous children can create pictures using their own imagination and style