In my opinion Hama beads are a fantastic invention, they have been around for many years and they are available in an array of different sets to suit all ages and both sexes. The beads are small cylindrical pieces of plastic which melt together under the heat of an iron and are available in different sizes depending on what age child they are meant for, you have maxi beads, midi beads and normal beads which are for ages 3 and up, 5 and up and finally 6 and up although my daughter has being using the beads for ages 5 and up since she was 4 with no problem it just depends on whether their fingers can manipulate the small pieces.
I remember my younger sister having a Hama bead set when we were younger and so once my eldest daughter was old enough I purchased a set for her to see how she would get on and she loved them. For Christmas I decided to buy her another set and as she was beginning to take an interest in Disney Princess items I decided that this set would be a great idea for her and was sure she would like it. I bought the set from The Entertainer and at the time think I got 25% off as an opening offer as a store had just opened near to us, the set ended up costing me in the region of £15.
The Hama set came packaged in a bright pink cardboard box with the Disney logo obviously emblazoned on it, the box shows Cinderella, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty as their characters from the films in the corner but then shows pictures of them made up in Hama beads for the main part of the box and each one of them is easily recognisable which was one thing which encouraged me to buy this particular set.
==In the Box==
Inside the box which is sealed at either end but not resealable once open you find, a plastic tray which holds onto all the pieces, a set of instructions to explain what to do with the pieces, an array of colours little beads, ironing paper for melting your creations together and pegboards to make your creations on. There are 6000 beads included in the set so there is plenty of scope for making loads of princesses, there is a large sheet of creations to make including little extras such as rabbits and butterflies. There are 4 square peg boards included with the set which can be joined together to make a rectangle or a larger square.
The peg boards in the set are see through so your child can lay them over the top of the creation that they want to make and see exactly where the beads need to go which I think is fantastic and this is the first set I have known of in which this is the case. I personally find that the charts are easy to read without needing to lay the pegboards over and Sophie can do this for some of the smaller items such as the squirrel but for the larger princess characters she needs to follow the chart closely. The only problem I find with the chart is instead of one big chart there should maybe have been a number of smaller charts so that more than one child could play with the set at the same time.
To use the set your child simply needs to select a coloured bead which is only a couple of mms in height and width and then place the bead over a spike on the peg board, you keep doing this one bead at a time until your design is finished and ready for fixing. To fix your design together you simply place a piece of ironing paper over the top of it and then with your iron on warm with no steam on you simply iron over the top of the design. You need to keep ironing over the design making sure you iron it all equally until you can see that the beads have fused together which you can see through the paper. Once you have finished ironing you are best to let your design cool before taking it off the board firstly because of course it is hot and secondly because the design hardens as it cools.
Sophie has a little bit of an issue to begin with that she thought she had to make the Princesses exactly how they are in the films and she couldn't deviate from this so she had a major problem with me when I made Snow White's dress pink although of course I did have to correct it so we didn't run out of the correct coloured beads to complete the set.
The princesses are not the easiest to complete and some adult help is certainly needed as they are very big compared to what you make with other sets we have used. Sophie enjoys doing the princesses as it means we are making something together just me and her which she doesn't get all that often with having a younger sister. I wouldn't suggest getting this set for a child that hasn't had Hama beads before as it takes a good couple of hours to painstakingly put each bead in place and I think a child that has never created with Hama beads before would be likely to get bored and not want to complete them.
==Expanding Your Set==
There are a great range of different items you can buy within the Hama bead range and there is no need to actually buy sets like this, you can buy mixes of beads or just bags of one colour at a time. You can get solid colours, glitter colours, glow in the dark, fluorescent and pastel mixes to name a few. There are a wide range of peg boards from simple shapes such as square, circle and heart to shaped boards such as animals and vehicles. You can buy your child inspiration books which will give them ideas of what they are able to create with their beads and boards and are simple to follow for your child to recreate.
Sophie now has a wide variety of everything from the Hama bead range and she really loves making her creations, the only thing is once she has crested something she expects me to get the ironing board straight out to fix it together. My younger daughter is not far off 3 and she is beginning to show an interest in the beads so I am thinking of getting her one of the maxi sets for her birthday to start on.
This set gave us a great deal of time just playing together and I think Sophie enjoyed that as much as the set itself. I think the set is great value as it does provide plenty of hours of amusement and it is really rewarding to see the finished creation after all the hard work that goes into it. Sophie has stuck her creations onto the side of her bedroom drawers and it certainly makes them more attractive than the boring wood they were. I would give this set 5 stars from 5 and i'm sure Sophie would too but you certainly do need a steady hand and a lot of patience to complete this set.
My daughter was five a few weeks ago and is all into anything "princess". Having never been particularly a girly-girl myself I find it difficult to know what to get, plus I think a lot of the girls toys out there can be a little inappropriate for girls, encouraging them to grow up before their time.
Hama beads are a tried and tested toy, but until now I hadn't bought any of the themed kits. To match my daughter's love of all things princess I was delighted to find the is a Disney Princess Hama set which although very pink and girly is not provocative like Barbie.
Its made up of Hama midi beads, the small beads, which are about 4mm high tubes which are then slotted onto a peg board to make the design. There are two large pegboards in the shape of Disney Princess Snow White and Sleeping Beauty and about 4000 beads in colours appropriate for creating princesses. Also included is a sheet of the ironing paper -will explain later what it's for.
Playing with Hama Beads
This set is a hit, just like the other Hama beads we bought. My daughter has spent hours creating her own imaginary princesses with imaginary names and stories to go with them, so I am really happy with this toy. It's a "quiet time" toy which we often play with early evening when I am trying to calm her down before bed, but I also find it is a hit with her little playmates when they come around.
There are two elements to playing with this toy, the creation and then the final princess "ornament" which is created. Therefore my daughter has fun creating them, which is good for hand eye coordination and creative play and then after now has a set of her own princesses to play with like dolls.
How Hama Beads Work
The beads must be a special type of plastic which easily melts. The child (or adult, I haven't been able to resist making the odd Hama creation myself!) places the beads on the notches on the pegboard, when the pegboard is full it's ready to iron. Using the ironing sheet, which is like grease proof paper over the beads on the pegboard the parent needs to iron over the sheet of special paper until the beads have melted on top and thus stuck together. I have to check the beads when ironing to see how melted they have become so to get it just right.
I paid £15.95 from Hama's online shop for these so I feel it's quite good value for money considering the hours my daughter has spent playing with them. When we run out of beads I will buy replacement beads from Hama online however the 4000 which came with this kit is rather a lot so should last some time yet.
I'm very glad I chose this set, it's proved a hit and I'm sure we will get value for money from it.
*** Hama Beads ***
Hama Beads are a brilliant creative outlet for kids of all ages. The beads range in size according to the age they are recommended for; for example - the maxi beads are for three and up, the midi ones are for ages five and up, for when little fingers are more dextrous and capable of holding smaller beads (and being more aware about not placing them into different orifices of the body) and the ordinary run of the mill Hama bead, for ages six plus.
The Hama range consists of beads, peg boards, and sets containing all the things required to make something both fun and creative, and these sets also range in age ability. If you wish to make something a little out of the ordinary, or feel that the kits are too young or babyish, inspiration books are available to purchase, to give both you and your child hundreds of creative ideas.
The 'Giant' Disney Princess set is the purpose of my review today, and is at the more experienced end of the Hama spectrum. My daughter had received this set off Santa last Christmas (2010), at which time we had lots of fun making some of the Princess's and additional characters, but almost a year later she is still using the remainder of the beads, in both her own designs and from the Hama Bead inspiration books.
*** Contents ***
What you receive in the box is two packets, each containing 3,000 beads, two sheets of ironing paper, and three large charts with the design of the Princess's on, plus their matching Disney characters - a squirrel with Sleeping Beauty, a mouse with Cinderella, and Mrs Pots (the teapot) and Chip (the cup) along with Belle from Beauty and the Beast. You also get four square peg boards which interlock together to make a larger square.
These are reusable and can be used in various ways. Use them singly, or interlock two side by side, and you have a large rectangle for making name plates for doors, or book marks, or any design requiring that size. I do think that this is a great benefit of a kit, because once you have completed the designs, as long as you have more beads, you can always make more designs.
*** Easy to Follow Charts ***
The chart is a large A3 size and very clear to read. I think that a great benefit of this kit it that the peg boards are manufactured from clear plastic rather than the traditional white, and younger kids not able to fully follow a chart, may lay the peg boards over the design and follow by placing a coloured bead over the corresponding colour on the chart beneath. My daughter, just eight at the time, had no trouble in following the chart but I would say six year olds might, and can follow my tip above.
*** Beads ***
The actual beads in this set are little tubes of plastic, about two mm by three mm. They are simply placed on a peg on the board, and continue until your design is finished. The pegs hold the tubes in position until the time comes for the next step in the process. I would like to point out though, that the tubes may be placed next to the pegs and not over them, so it looks like four little fingers are holding each peg in position. This way is not recommended, as when you get to the final step of fusing the tubes together, the pegs create a barrier and the design falls apart - we made that mistake once on a fairly intricate design. My daughter was so upset that all her hard work had gone to waste; we make sure never to repeat it again.
*** To Finish ***
When your design is finished, you need to place the ironing paper over the top, and making sure the iron is on a warm setting, with no steam, gently iron on top, this job, of course, is one for the adults. My tip would be to glide the iron over the design rather than hold it in one place. This means that all the beads are melted equally, and preventing a few missed beads from ruining your finished article. This process generally only takes a minute or two. If you should tear or lose your ironing paper, greaseproof paper works just as well, and is cheaper than buying Hama branded replacements.
The princess's when completed are on the rather large size at 12 inches high, and each one takes approximately three hours. My daughter and I made hers over the course of three evenings. Towards completion, she couldn't wait for each to end, and you could see her enthusiasm grow as the picture began to take shape.
Once they have been fused together to become one solid design, they are still rather flimsy, so we have used blue tack to stick them to her wall, as something a bit different to ordinary well decoration. You could also omit to place one bead in her crown, and use this to thread string through, and make a mobile from the three princesses and their corresponding characters; a great addition to a Disney Princess themed bedroom.
*** My Thoughts ***
My daughter loved this kit, and it was well worth the £19.99 I paid. I also purchased another two sets of these, for both my daughter's friend and my niece. They were greatly received by all three girls, and have been a big hit, both for keeping the girls amused on rainy days, and just general playtime. It can now be found for the bargain price of £10.99, so if you can find one at that price, snap it up, it's sure to be a resounding success, and a gift that will be played with for a very long time.
Five out of five stars from both my daughter and I.
Thank you for reading my review, which may also be posted on other sites
My daughter has been a huge Hama beads fan for years. This craze started when she was five with a simple square board and basic bag of beads she was given for christmas. At this age 'miss independent' enjoyed making her own designs and had no time for following pre designed patterns or instruction leaflets, so I just let her get on with it. Now, at the age of eight, she has acquired slightly more patience to follow a guided pattern and, as a girly girl, the Disney Princess Hama bead set was perfect for her. I found this set on Amazon for £9.99 which I believe is somewhat cheaper than the r.r.p.
Once it arrived she couldn't wait to get started. Inside the box contained three plastic grids, the design patterns and two ironing sheets. The set also contains 3000 beads which are all assorted colours but ensures that there is more than enough to create the enclosed designs over and over again. My first impression was that the designs were much bigger than I expected and the clear plastic grids clip together in order for the larger pictures to be created. This seemed very complicated to me and I wondered how a child would be able to follow such a large complex pattern without loosing there place on the grid. After reading the instructions, I realised that that the pattern is intended to fit under the clear plastic grid in order for the child to just place the correct colour on top. This made life a lot easier, only wish I'd reaslised this before getting half way through Snow White!!
The next problem was the varying shades of colour. There are a few different shades that are very similar, such as 'cream' and 'white' and different oranges and pinks which under certain electric lights can be very difficult to distinguish. This can be a little frustrating. Fortunately the set comes with a little sorting tray in which you can put the correct colours you need for that section. I have found this very handy as the wrong colour beads seem to stand out better when they are all placed together in this way. Having said that, this has not really proved too much trouble for my daughter who seems pretty quick at sorting them all out. Perhaps it's my age!!
These beads are perfectly sized for little fingers. Any smaller and they would be impossible. Although a little fiddley at times, their small size has never proved a problem for my daughter, those with larger fingers beware!
Once assembled the finished pattern looked very effective and I was very impressed. The next step is to iron them which is very straight forward and only takes a couple of minutes. The kit comes with special ironing paper that is placed on top of the design before ironing. The iron needs to be quite hot in order for this to work properley as I have found that in the past these designs can easily fall apart if not melted sufficiantly, which causes a great deal of stress and more than a few tears!! The design is then left to cool down (be warned it is hot!) and then can be removed from the template. As fragile as they look I have found that if melted properley these finished products seem to have a very long shelf life. It is also possible to buy little Hama beads stands in which to display your childs masterpieces however, we didn't get any as part of this set.
Probably the only critism I have with Hama beads is that I've found after using and ironing the same boards numerous times, the actual pegs of the grids can start to melt, twist or change shape. This can result in them becoming so flattened and distorted it can be impossible to fit the beads on them properly again. Just a word of warning because there can be nothing worse than getting half way through your work of art only to realise that the beads no longer fit on some of the pegs. I have found no way round this problem and usually we have to start all over again with another board or by turning the board 90 degrees to ensure the 'dodgy' pegs are up in the corner, well away from our design. As I said, my daughters Hama beads are well used, but I still feel that this is a serious flaw in it's design.
All that said, they remain a firm favourite in my house and after a short spell with Bindeez and Aqua beads, her interest has always quickly returned back to Hama beads. I would recommend them to anyone who has a child who like all things arty as it has given my daughter hours....well years of entertainment.
This review may also appear on Ciao under the username of Supersweep.
It is my daughter's 5th birthday next Wednesday as as usual, I have the trouble of finding presents that my daughter will like. What I mean is that my family end up giving me the money and I get their presents for them. I find this really difficult as she has a lot of toys and she hasn't really asked for anything. My dad usually gives her, her present early too as we have a large family and becomes bombarded with presents on her actual birthday.
I noticed Hama beads in Argos and thought that my daughter would have a great time with these. I decided t buy from Amazon as at the time it was cheaper and I managed to get the Disney princess set for just under £15 with free postage. I think this is a fair price to pay as the set does give your child to have hours and hours of fun using this set, although it does not look much. I made my purchase and it actually came this morning. I had the usual moan for my daughter as she did not want to go town and instead play with her new toy but we managed a hassle free shopping trip and she looked forward to coming home to play with her new set.
When I opened the box there was a large bag inside which contained 3000 brightly colored beads. There was a special section within the box so your child can open the bag and put the beads loose inside making it easier for them to access the beads. The set also contains 3 plastic grids to work the design on, one pattern template and two ironing sheets. I found the instructions very simple to understand and once I read what to do and explained it to my daughter we were off...
I found this set great. I really enjoyed myself to be honest. There are different patterns that come with the set allowing you to make a lot of different characters from the Disney films like Ariel and flounder the fish. I was quite surprised to how well my daughter took to completing these patterns considering she had never even attempted to do anything like this before. The beads were quite fiddly but she managed well and I even had a go myself. It is very time consuming and the slightest knock send your beads flying everywhere as they are not very secure on the grid which I found a bit annoying at times. This happened to me on several occasions with made my daughter laugh knowing id have to start again.
When you have finished your pattern, you then have to iron it to make the beads stick together. You do this by placing an ironing sheet over the pattern and then it says to run the iron over the top. This then melts the beads and they stick together. I had to keep doing this as the beads were not melting properly and this took a bit of time so longer than stated on the instructions. Once the ironing bit is finished you can then peel the pattern from the grid and when you turn it over it looks perfect. You have your very own Disney princess picture. I found these to be lovely and a really nice keepsake. My daughter has made quite a few to send to family and friends. I think it would be a lovely idea to stick these on the front of Christmas cards etc...
If you would like to try Hama beads. I would recommend that you purchased a set from Argos. I bought another one this afternoon as I was so impressed with this one and it is so much more value. This set is not a themed one but has patterns to make rabbits and flowers etc. The set contains more than double the amount of beads (7500) and is also cheaper. The set costs £9.95 but is in a 2 for £15 offer. I got two sets as I thought this was a bargain. I am either going to put the other set up for Christmas as a present for my niece or use it as a spare for extra beads for my daughter.
My five year old daughter is very much into everything that she can lay her hands on to do with Disney Princesses. She also loves making things so when it was her birthday I bought her the Hama Beads Disney Princess gift box. She had previously brought home some simple hama bead designs when she was at nursery but this was our experience of having them at home.
The gift set contains 3000 beads, 3 plastic grids to work the design on, one pattern template and two ironing sheets. If you are successful you should have everything you need in order to make an Ariel, a Jasmine and a small fish and bird. There were some very scant instructions on the back of the box which I have to confess I overlooked to start with. Because of this I did not realise that the plastic boards are reusable and there was a short while when I felt annoyed that bits were actually missing. It was down to my five year old to explain to me how the Hama bead designs actually work and to point out that we weren't actually missing anything after all!
If you are not familiar with hama beads this is how they work. You have to place your plastic pegboard over a design template. You then place the different coloured beads on the pegs and lo and behold you will have created a picture! Once the picture is complete, you place an ironing sheet over it and then press carefully. All the plastic beads will fuse together and you will be able to remove it as a complete shape from the board.
This set is lovely and the finished princesses are exactly as they are in the Disney films. My daughter was delighted when she opened this present although at just five she did find it all a bit fiddly even though five plus is the recommended age for this set. I have to admit that my bigger fingers find it even more difficult to place the beads carefully in the exact spots.
All the beads come in a plastic bag that can be emptied in a tray. All the colours are all mixed in together which my daughter finds quite problematic. This is actually the only bit that she asks my help for! Luckily, the beads are only in basic colours because if we were trying to sort lots of different shades I do think we would be in trouble!
After her initial excitement, my daughter did not really bother with this set for a few months but now at almost five and a half she is well in to it. She is very proud of the fact that she has completed the smaller fish and the bird and she is halfway through making Ariel. This is no mean feat as there are a lot of beads to place even on the smaller pictures and there is nothing to keep the plastic board from moving while it is placed over the pattern. If you are not careful you could easily end up placing all the beads in the wrong places. Luckily this does not seem to have happened yet!
The instructions for ironing were not great - and this is obviously something that an adult should do. There were some instructions inside the box but these seem to be generic for all hama bead designs. That is not really a problem in itself apart from the fact that it tells you that you have to have your iron on different heats depending on whether the beads you are using are mini, midi or maxi. I wasn't sure and there was nothing on my actual box to guide me so I just plumped for the middle size and heat and crossed my fingers! Luckily this seemed to work for us!
The set is quite expensive as it can currently be found on Amazon for £12.60. This may seem quite a bit but the kit will keep them busy for weeks so it will be money well spent. I have noticed that there is another set with Snow White, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and I think Father Christmas might be bringing that one in his sack!
I think that the age guide is right and my daughter has actually surprised me with her patience and her accuracy. She really loves her finished results too. Although I have one or two niggles about the instructions you can easily get over these and then I think this is an excellent craft kit for a young girl.