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My daughter turned 4 in August and one of the (many) gifts she received was this Hello Kitty Bead Set from her godmother who is one of my best friends. My friend has an absolute obsession with Hello Kitty herself so I am sure this gift was more entertainment for herself but nevertheless my daughter loved it.
It comes in a large rectangular box which explains it is a bracelet and bead set which allows the child to make bracelets by beading on letters or pictures for themselves or friends/family. The box does say it is for 5 and up but I don't think my friend noticed this too much! Me being quite wary though I wasn't too fond for her to play with this on her own as who knows where most pieces would end up!
The set comes with 10 plastic bracelets of assorted colours, purple, red, pink etc and there are probably hundreds of silver square "beads" which have either letters on them, shapes or little hello kitty pictures. Inside there is also a little plastic flower shaped carry case, but my daughter isn't the gentlest of children and it has already been broken! The handle popped off first and later she just broke the entire case into half! Probably why it's advised for children 5 and up! Nevertheless it had 7 compartments which you could arrange some of the beads into (not sure what help it would have been as there are 26 letters in the alphabet and countless different hello kitty pictures but hey ho) and it was small enough to carry around rather than the large box.
The premise of the kit is really easy to use, and my daughter has only just turned 4 so can't really spell much other than her name which was the first thing she did! After this she did seem to lose a bit of interest but I tried to persevere by encouraging her to make me one with 5 different shapes which she found a good challenge to do. The pieces were all quite easy to use but we did find a few of the pieces weren't cut very well so were tricky to slide onto the bracelet and needed shoving or we just threw them in the bin and used an alternative one.
The bracelets themselves were quite cheap, and made of flimsy plastic and sadly a couple of them did not hold their shape. They were meant to close as they have three holes on one end and three protruding pieces on the other end which slot together to close it around your wrist but some of them would not close this way and were determined to stay open which made them pretty useless!
Overall this was a nice little gift, and my daughter appreciated it, but I definitely wouldn't buy it for a child unless they were much older and they requested it! My little one liked it for a few days but since then most of the silver pieces went walkies (no thanks to her breaking the carry case they were meant to stay in) and I've been finding them all over the home and probably 60% of them have been sucked up by Henry Hoover as they are scattered across the floor in odd places. It can be bought from amazon currently for £9.79 for anyone interested, as it is a nice playful gift just not for a 4 year old!
My daughter was bought this set from a friend for her birthday, I am not sure where it was bought from but I know our local B&M store sell the set for £6.99 as it was a set I had considered buying for her myself. If you don't have a B&M store near you the set is available from Amazon but it costs £11.80 currently with free delivery.
The set comes in a cardboard box which is brightly coloured in red and pink, Hello Kitty is pictured in the corner of the box and then the things you get in the set are pictured on the front. It states on the box that the set is for ages 5 and up yet it pictures a young girl wearing the bracelets from the set on the box and she looks like she's about 12 so it seems a bit of a strange picture to have on the box. The box is sturdy but far too big as when you open the box everything is laid out flat pressed into a plastic tray and the pieces could easily get into a box half the size.
==Inside the Box==
On opening the box you find a white plastic tray with a see through plastic cover over it to prevent the pieces falling out. In the set you get a flower shaped pink see through case complete with carry handle for putting your pieces into, the case is sectioned into 7 different segments and up to now it has been strong enough for the job however it is the sort of plastic that if it was dropped too hard I would expect to crack.
The beads in the set are little silver squares with letters cut out on one side and little pictures indented onto the other side of items that begin with the letter on the bead. The other beads in the set are a range of lovely coloured beads which are coloured in mainly pinks and purples, you get flowers shapes, hearts shapes, square shapes and star shapes. When you open the box each individual bead is set into the plastic tray so it takes a bit of effort getting them all out to put them in the case and my daughter got fed up with doing it so I ended up finishing it off for her.
The last parts you get in the set are the bracelets to put the beads onto, you get 10 plastic bracelets each one is coloured either red, purple or pink and they are nice and flexible, you also get one purple necklace strand to be thread onto. The bracelets have a hole at one end and then at the other end there are 3 little protrusions so that you can make the bracelet into 3 different lengths depending on the size of the wrist. The bracelets don't go small enough for young children as we found when Sophie tried to make her younger sister a bracelet and also aren't long enough for adults wrists thankfully!
The set is really easy to use and all you simply do is picked your bead up and slot it onto the bracelet length and then once finished fasten the bracelet to prevent anything falling off although the beads fit on really well so not very likely that any of them would fall off anyway. The only problem we have found that Sophie has with the set is working out how to put the beads on in the correct order so that people can read theirs names but she is slowly getting to grips with threading them backwards for the name to read forwards. Sophie sits for hours making different bracelets up and then taking them apart to make all over again.
The silver beads are a bit boring but as they have the letters on them Sophie has been using them to make bracelets for her friends and sister, the shaped beads are much more interesting as they have little pictures of Hello Kitty and items that are associated with her and they are really nicely coloured too.
The set provides hours of fun and as the pieces can all be taken back off again there is no end to what can be made so Sophie has given her friends a couple of bracelets but kept the rest for playing with.
There are a number of hazards with the set and small children such as the under 3's as the cord is a risk of strangulation and the beads are a risk of choking so you need to be really careful with this set near young children, due to this Sophie either plays u[stairs or is only allowed the set out when I am watching. Emily is not yet 3 but she enjoys playing with the set too and hands her sister the beads she wishes her to put on for her, I have no issue with Emily playing with the set as long as I am present.
I think the set seems pretty robust and there hasn't been any damage to any of the pieces which is great, for £6.99 I think this is a great set and Sophie really enjoys it.