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This set was reduced to half price on Amazon, so I decided to order it for my children. When it arrived I was very impressed, as it comes in a lovely box that would be perfect if it was for a gift. The box is wooden, and is very sturdy. In the set you receive 10 different stamps, five colouring pencils, and a block of ink split into two colours. There are 10 different stamps in total, and each relates to a vehicle of some sort. There are all of the children's favourite vehicles included a school bus, a motorcycle, a train, a boat, a fire engine, a police car and a plane. There is also a speed limit sign, a stop sign and a level crossing sign included. The vehicle signs are all around twice the size of the sign stamps. They are a little small compared to what I was expecting, but my children still found them easy enough to use. The sign stamps are tiny, and these are a little more difficult for my children to use. They still manage to print the sign on the paper, but we found it is more liable to smudging, as my children's hand slips off the stamp at times. The ink comes in one pad, but it has two different colours. By pressing the stamp on the left hand side you can print in red, and on the right you can print with blue. It is very easy to open and close so children can do this independently, and the case is very sturdy so that the ink pad does not dry out.
The idea of this set is to use the vehicle stamps to create a scene on whatever you wish, then using the colours provided you can colour inside the outline of the vehicles created by the stamp. The stamps all have a picture on the front of them so little one can use it as a reference while colouring. The colours used on the stamps are those included in the set of colouring pencils, so it can be copied colour for colour. As there are a number of different vehicles, there is lots of choice for pictures. This means children are able to use their imagination to create whatever they like, and the colouring crayons are perfect for drawing in-between. It is not limiting for their imagination at all, and they just act as a base to a picture scene. The stamps can be used together or separately to create different pictures. The stamps are very detailed so the pictures are more interesting, and the vehicles are all printed perfectly.
The only problem is the stamps are a little small. They are big enough to make up a nice picture using stamps, but to colour the areas in takes a really steady hand. My eldest son who is five does try to do so, but my other children just use it as a stamp. The stamps pick up the ink very easily. I find that the rubber shape has deep ridges, so that the result is mostly a clear finish without any smudging. They do stain a little under the constant use of the ink as you would expect, but other than that they are still as good as new. My children all use them in different ways. My eldest son who is five likes to print a number of vehicles on the paper first, and then he goes on to colour them as they show on the stamp. My daughter who is three likes to create patterns with the vehicles, by dipping them in different colours. My youngest son is just amazed at how a stamp works, so he uses every single stamp he can on one sheet of paper, and stares in amazement at the results.
The age recommendation is four years plus which I do agree with. My youngest son did use this set, but he didn't enjoy it as much as my older children. The set requires different concentration levels depending on how it is used so it can be a five minute activity, or an hour. The ink claims to wash out of clothes easily, and I have found this to be true. The first time we used this, my two year old son managed to get it all over his sleeves, and hands. It washed off both very easily and the ink is non toxic so child friendly. Another great thing about this set is that it can all be stored back in the presentation case. It does have to be added back to the box exactly as it came, but my children really enjoy doing this. This also means that the stamps do not get lost in the craft box.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone with young children. It is a great activity for a rainy day, school holidays, or even just to keep the children busy for an hour. There are a number of variations available, and from the experience from our two sets we have found all children love them. They can be used in a number of different ways, and each child can use their own imagination to make pictures. This is a mess free activity, and even if they do manage to get messy with the ink, there is nothing to worry about as it is child friendly. The sets all retail at around £9, but do shop around as they are often on offer.