Product Type: Hama Art / Craft
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Are your children bored? Try these.
Hama Bumper Activity Set
Member Name: Nik-Nac
Hama Bumper Activity Set
Advantages: Cheap, fun, engaging. Children will have an end product to be proud of.
Disadvantages: It can be frustrating ironing the beads perfectly.
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.
Summary: Lots of fun and mess!
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