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My eldest daughter was seven in June and as most people know about her love of making things, she received quite a few art and craft kits as presents. One such gift was the John Adams Sparkle and Shine bag which looked lovely and she could not wait to start making it.
The first thing that she realised upon opening the box and taking out the instructions was that it did not look that easy. In fact when she saw that there were twenty nine different numbered instructions, I think she might have given up there and then. However, undeterred, she set about making the bag. Now at this point I should point out that my seven year old is 'Little Miss Independent' and she really likes to get on and do things on her own without having to ask for help! However, unlike her, she was soon asking for my help with this kit.
One thing I will say about the instructions is that they are quite comprehensive and easy to follow. The problem is that there are so many of them which make you realise that it is going to take a while to complete. That would not necessarily be a problem but most seven year olds (that is the minimum recommended age) are not normally known for their patience. My daughter likes to make and complete something in one sitting and that was not going to happen with this kit.
The making of the bag is broken up into segments though and that helps. My daughter decided that this was going to have to be a joint effort with me and that we could work on different parts on different days. There are a number of different skills required to make this bag too and my daughter enjoyed the fact that all the bits were different. Some parts were quite easy and she could get on pretty much on her own but some bits were very difficult - especially the last parts and she did actually give up on it so I took over as I didn't want all of the hard work she had put in to count for nothing.
The kit contained everything we needed and the making went pretty well up to a point. My daughter discovered that she was quite good at sewing the felt parts of the bag together. She also enjoyed stamping patterns and adding glitter to the twenty fabric squares that were provided. So far so good and she was really enjoying making the bag and looking forward to the finished article. The difficulty came when we had to piece all the squares together which was both complicated and fiddly. Rachel found it impossible and I have to admit that I found it pretty hard to and the results were quite disappointing as our efforts actually looked quite scruffy. In fact it quite lost its shine!
Potentially this could be a lovely kit but I think they could possibly have made it less complicated. There are far too many different steps to follow and some are tricky. Even if they were all relatively easy children are likely to lose heart a bit before they finish. Rachel certainly did. I think that it should be targeted at older children who might find the task a bit less arduous.
It's also not cheap as Amazon are selling it for £9.99 at the moment (October 2010). Overall then I don't really that I can recommend this kit - certainly not for seven year olds anyway. This is a shame because it really did look very promising!