I remember hama beads from when I was younger and then I passed them onto my sister and then she passed them onto a friend so I knew they were a brilliant creative toy that last ages.
Last year when I was looking at items for Christmas for my daughter I was looking at the Maxi Hama beads but then when I had a look into all the different options I decided that I was sure even though my daughter was only 4 she would love playing with them and there wouldn't be any issues with them.
I looked on Amazon as I had some credit on there and looked at all the options, there are so many different sets you can buy that I wasn't sure which to choose but then I decided that I would prefer to buy a basic set so that it could be added to over time. Hama beads are sold in just about any place that sells toys and you can buy huge tubs of them at really great prices in Ikea.
I paid about £10 for this set from Amazon with free delivery which I felt was a good price, the set was delivered quickly even with the Christmas service slowing down and I had it in plenty time for Santa!!
When I got the set I was actually a little surprised at how big the box was, on the front of the box you are advised that the set is for ages 5 and up and then there are loads of little pictures of what can be made from the hama beads to give you some ideas. The box is sealed at either end rather than the end just being folded in which means of course once open the flap does just that flaps about and doesn't hold the box secure so we have ended up putting the contents into a Tupperware tub.
Inside the box you get 7500 beads which trust me is an awful lot especially when they are all over the bedroom floor, a piece if ironing paper and 4 different shaped peg boards along with a little booklet which folds out into a large piece of blue backed thick paper with lots of ideas on for what your child can make.
To use the set you take the beads which are basically hollow tubes of plastic and comes in a wide range of colours and you place one over each little spike on the white plastic board. Once you have filled the board or as much of the board as you wish to you can use the ironing paper to place over the design and using a hot iron you go over and over it to melt the beads and fuse them together.
My daughter was learning about patterns at school when she got this set and she spent ages making patterns on the boards and then getting me to iron them only for her to break them apart again, she didn't seem to understand that once the beads are melted you cannot use them again. Once the beads are melted the top just looks the same as the beads did separately but the back is all melted together so there are two different effects. The set contains a couple of little stands also made out of the hama beads for your child to stand their creations into.
My daughter really loves this set and does play with it nearly every day, she plays happily in her bedroom with the beads as she has a 2 year old sister and they are no good near her due to the small pieces being a choking hazard.
This is a great set which provides hours of fun and it was a great price too, my daughter enjoyus making the designs simply to take them apart and do it all over again which means we still have plenty of beads. There are also character sets available such as Hello Kitty and Disney princess which I am looking into for Christmas this year as I know she will love more of them. He only drawback is that the designs even when ironed are not very string and need to be handled with care but of course most 5 years olds are pretty heavy handed.
Working with children is a joy, but keeping their attention for even a short period of time can be difficult. If you want your child to sit at an activity for more than 10 minutes then hama beads may be the answer for you. This set contains 7,500 beads, 4 pegboards, some ironing paper, and a book with ideas for designs. Though having checked the Argos website (which is where I got these initially) their bumper set now contains 6,000 beads, rather than the initial 7,500 I got when buying the set. Still at £9.99 or two for £15 this is still great value for money.
The idea of this craft set is to take the beads and arrange them on pegboards to form a design. An adult can then iron them, the heat causes the beads to fuse together. Really easy, and keeps most kids amused for hours. I've found that children of all ages and of both genders really enjoy hama beads, so this is a great inclusive activity. Saying that, the set isn't suitable for children under 5 due to small beads that can be easily swallowed - particularly because the bright, attractive colours of the beads might make them enticing to small hands. You'll be amazed at how quickly you go through these beads, especially because most of them end up on the floor! The beads are quite inexpensive to buy though, and for the hours of enjoyment that they provide they are well worth the money.
Eventually you'll need to replace the pegboards, as the pegs can become slightly melted when ironing the beads, and over time this can make putting beads on them difficult and frustrating for children. Also be careful when fusing the beads, as it's easy to over iron them and ruin the design. Children who have spent hours perfecting their creations can become very upset (and rightly so) at the loss of their designs. There are only two pieces of ironing paper provided with the set, so you might find it runs out quickly. Although it can be reused it will eventually be too grubby for use. There is a simple solution to this though - greaseproof paper, which works just as well.
Children can use this hama bead set to make all sorts of things, a favourite in my workplace is hama bead photo frames. We can then take pictures of the children and glue them to the back of their frames. This makes a sweet, thoughtful present for parents, or even a good inexpensive gift for extended family members. Other favourites include creating bracelets, brooches and magnets.
The little booklet with ideas for designs is very good, and further inspiration can be found online. However in my experience children tend to stick to set designs until they feel comfortable with the concept of hama beads, and then go onto create their own unique creations. It's great to see children using their imaginations! One child in my setting created a whole batch of 'scary' monsters. He then shared them about amongst his friends and they've used these for toys on many afternoons.
I have to admit that I really think these are a fab toy for children, but I love them too! I have my own kit at home, and I use them occasionally to make decorations. For example my friend was having a house party and I set up a Pick n Mix station in her hallway alcove (Yes, it was a quaint house party!) I decorated the alcove with hama bead sweeties and lollipops. It was really effective and cute. I have also made some Christmas tree ornaments with hama beads.
This is a fantastic set for any child aged 5+. The main advantage of these beads for any frazzled parent will be the peace and quiet they bring though.
Hama beads are small plastic beads that can be strung or placed on pegboards and then ironed to fuse them together to make a mat. They come in many sizes, colours and shapes and have been sold since 1971 and are very popular with children and crafters alike.
This particular set is a great introduction to Hama and was the first one we ever bought. It is great value at £9.99 from Argos, at time of writing part of a 2 for £14.99 deal.
What you get:
The set contains 7,500 beads, 4 pegboards, some ironing sheets (for adult use) and instructions as well as a sheet showing pictures of creations you might like to use for inspiration. There is a flower pegboard as well as a rabbit, a heart and a square which is big enough to be used for your own ideas.
Everything comes in a plastic tray which has two sides for storing the beads and a middle section to put the pegboard in when you are creating, everything can be easily stored in one place in the box after use.
The beads are the Midi size, which means they are half a centimetre in diameter so perhaps best for children 5 and upwards, though younger children with good fine motor skills will enjoy them too they are best kept away from under 3's.
If you haven't seen the beads before they are a bit like very thick drinking straws that have been cut into 0.5 cm lengths, when ironed they melt down and spread out to stick to the bead next to them.
Using the set:
There is a good range of colours in this set, from the basic colours through to grey and purple so good for both sexes of children and plenty of scope for creation. I found my five year old started off by copying the designs on the box and on the colour sheet but soon developed the confidence to follow her own ideas. This activity does require a degree of patience and concentration, which to my mind is a good thing. The child can get a bit frustrated if they tip up the peg board mid creation and will require some encouragement at first.
Once finished the design can be made permanent by an adult covering the design with the paper provided and gently ironing. This makes the creations pretty permanent and sturdy. My daughter has made mats, items for a mobile and decorations for her wall - it is the kind of toy that will grow with her I think, I am sure there are many more things you could make but I find it a nice activity to do together and it really does make them think.
My daughter really enjoys playing with these and will also often get this set out to share with friends who come to play; it keeps them very quiet and they greatly enjoying doing hama beads. I like the fact that it encourages creativity and is a fairly purposeful activity.
This box really does contain everything you need to start out in Hama and provides hours of entertainment. I think this is an excellent creative and interesting toy, and this set is well worth the price you pay for it.
There are other systems of this sort available now, including the recently popular Aqua beads - I have found that the latter beads though better as not involving ironing (never something I like) do come apart far more easily and being smaller seem to get everywhere, so I actually prefer the Hama system. There are imitation beads available - Tesco do a version - but the original Hama are of better quality in my mind. The original Hama have plastic of better quality and the beads are all the same length whereas this is not the case with the non-branded items where the pegboards are less good too.
We really like Hama beads and I highly recommend this set.
More information and creation ideas at www.hama.dk
Mini bead sets of a smaller bead size are available for over 10's, with Maxi beads being aimed at age 3.
Radom fact - the name HAMA comes from the first two letters of the first name and surname of their creator - Malte Haaning
Contains 7000 beads, 4 different pegboards, bead supports, ironing paper and colour design sheet.