“ Brand: Spin Master / Type: Crafts „
I first came across these Bendaroos a few years ago now. My niece was at my parents busy making something hunched over the table and being a child at heart I was keen to see what it was that was so interesting! Since then, Bendaroos have featured regularly at my parents house.
==What are Bendaroos?==
Bendaroos are described by their maker (Merchant Media) as 'amazing flexible building sticks' and this is basically what they are. Bendaroos are long thin sticks which are about the length of a drinking straw but about a quarter of the width. They come in a variety of colours and they are quite sticky meaning that their main purpose is to use them to make or decorate things. As they are bendy they can also be shaped. Thinking about it, in a way these are a bit like modern day artstraws!
==Where can I buy them?==
Bendaroos can be found in a number of toy stores and supermarkets. They are also easy to find online.
==What options do I have?==
Well, the world really is your oyster with these Bendaroos! My niece started off with a bumper pack a few years ago where Bendaroos provide 400 sticks, 4 templates and a cutting tool. This cost my parents around £20 which I thought was a bit steep at the time! However, looking online now I can see that the price has remained stable.
Now, a lot of different kits are available including 100 piece packs where there are a choice of themes - space and sky, sweets and treats, animals etc. In these packs you are provided with an assortment of colours and a guide with instructions on how to make your models. You can also buy 200 piece packs which again are themed with topics such as the zoo, ocean creatures and royal fantasy. A 500 piece pack includes 500 sticks and a guide to make a variety of models.
Bendaroos now make special packs which include a 3D activity pack and a glow in the dark one. There is now even a Spongebob set which if I'm entirely honest may well end up in my nieces christmas present pile!
To give a rough idea of pricing you can get the 500 piece mega pack for £5.89, theme packs for around £7.50 and the mega pack that my niece originally had for £19.99 (all prices from amazon.co.uk)
==Using the Bendaroos==
You can either use the bendaroos to make things from the included guides or you can use them to make your own designs. This is great fun as it means you really can make anything you want to. This also really aids childrens creativity I think as they can make anything. Dependent on age they may not be able to follow the guide or may prefer to be individual and create their own designs. My niece does a mixture of both.
Using the bendaroos is easy. You simply bend them to shape in order to form either your model or picture. You will often need half a stick or just a tiny bit so the special cutters you can get prove invaluable. I'm not sure if you could cut them with normal scissors as I've never tried but I would imagine you could with some good kitchen scissors but children would probably struggle.
My niece began making 2D objects as this was what she felt more confident doing. You don't have to stick these on paper. Instead you can make your object on a board or hard surface and then peel it off. Some of the first things my niece made were butterflies. She made one of her own designs and then found one in the guide to follow. Both looked good, for her own design she used the cutters to get the right length and did an outline of the wings and then filled this with a different colour. For the guided one she twisted the bendaroo sticks round into a spiral to use as the wings. Both of these looked really good and she was able to do them with ease. She actually gave them to me and I stuck them on my bedroom mirror where they still are today over 3 years later and they still look fab.
The bendaroos stay soft and tacky so that your models can be broken up and you can start again. You will need to do this carefully to ensure that none break or end up stretching but this is simple enough.
The 3D objects you can make using these are really effective but obviously these will take a bit more time and effort and your child may need some assistance when doing this. I believe my nieces first 3D attempt with my mum was an elephant which looked quite cool!
The bendaroos go a long way - for my nieces own design butterfly she used 4 and for the guided one I believe she used 5 which when you consider you could have 500 in a pack this is great. Obviously 3D constructions will require more but I do believe that for the amount you get in a pack you have plenty and also they can be reused so there are always enough.
However, if you would like to use these and keep the end results you can and they will keep their shape as I have had my butterflies for a few years now.
==Ideas for Bendaroos==
These would be fantastic for children to make gifts with as in addition to making 2D or 3D objects they can also be used to decorate.
A plain wooden photo frame jazzed up with some bendaroos would be a fab gift for a family member or maybe a nicely decorated pot or jar.
==Are they worth the money?==
Yes, I do believe they are worth the money. Although initially this does seem to be a lot of money for some of the packs the bendaroos last a long time and will keep your children busy for hours and hours.
==Would I recommend them?==
Yes, I would wholeheartedly recommend these for kids and adults! They are good fun, mess free and something different. They can make fantastic objects and after just seeing a lion on the website I think my niece may be persuaded to make her auntie lyndz a lion!
Bendaroos are construction-type / craft toys for kids, a bit like a cross between Plasticine and Lego. They take the form of maybe 20cm lengths of string, coated in a skin of brightly coloured, sticky wax-like material. They are highly flexible - and sticky, and can be made to stick to one another as well as being bent back on themselves and rolled / stuck into spirals, flower shapes, etc. They're also reusable (to some extent) and anything you've made from them can be unravelled quite simply and re-formed into new shapes.
The Bendaroo strings are available in various sizes of packet - from the basic £5 kit that contains about 80 pieces in a range ofseven colours, to huge multi-packages with hundreds of strings selling for up to £20. There are also smaller 'bespoke' themed kits - such as space astronaut etc. which contain strings appropriately coloured to build certain set-ups (eg. in the case of the space kit - spaceships, spacesuits and so on) together with crafting ideas for how the various items can be made up. I understand that he strings can be cut (with a special 'Bendaroo' tool) and then re-stuck afterwards, but we haven't tried this ourselves as yet.
They don't seem to dry out even if left out of the bag for a while (which is a bonus) but you will need some sort of covered tub to keep them in, as otherwise once out of the packet, they tend to fall on the floor and get spread absolutely all over your home. They also stick to paper (so you can make pictures) and glass and smooth plastic surfaces....but you tell me whether that's a selling point, versus a disadvantage, or not.
The strings are intended for kids age three and up. Younger kids will need a bit of instruction before they get the idea of what can be done with the strings.
As for playing with, Bendaroos I'd say are essentially a partial success. They can be stuck / restuck quite easily, and I'd say work best for making two-dimensional (I mean flat) figures / structures. 3-D figures, although they can be made based on a 'coil pot' type of structure, are heavy on Bendaroos (they get used up for the internal structure) and also inevitably come out with a slightly odd ribbed appearance, by virtue of the nature of how Bendaroos themselves are constructed.
Where the craft sticks fall down a little I'd say is in their excessive stickiness. They do leave a noticeable residue on the fingers after you've handled them which is a bit unpleasant (although this comes off very easily - even with a wet-wipe) but it's no worse admittedly than the residue you get eg. after handling Plasticine. Also because of the sticky surface they strings tend to pick up 'dirt' - some of ours that got dropped on an apparently clean vinyl floor came back with bits of fluff stuck to the surface that wouldn't come off afterwards - and even though the sticks could still be used afterwards, they'd lost their lovely bright colours to some extent. This a problem in particular, with the lighter- coloured sticks (eg. yellow).
We got a starter pack of Bendaroos for my five year old to play with to see if she like the idea. I was reasonably impressed with them, but won't be buying any more until the sprog's a couple of years older, as I don't think she's getting the most from these toys as yet. So in my experience these play strings would be better for children in the over six years age category at least.
I have creative children. How wonderful I hear you say. Well yes ,it is. With my first son, now aged 12, I was the doting first time mother keen to encourage his creative exploits from an early age. For his first Christmas aged 6 months, he sent the whole family hand made Christmas cards, complete with co-ordinating paint and glitter effects. (interestingly now aged 12, he has turned out to be the least artistically inclined of all the children, though I am sure that my early attempts to encourage his talent have nothing to do with this.)
Once my second child came along I was a little more tired and a little less enthusiastic about possible mess making activities such as painting. Never the less I still regularly dragged out the art box and let her indulge her creative side. As my family continued to grow however, so did my dislike of paints and my loathing of glitter. My youngest child, now aged 2, it must be said has not had the same early experiences of creative materials that his older siblings got. This does not limit his creativity however it seems. Have you any idea what a wonderful wall covering tomato ketchup makes, or just how effective chocolate mouse can be as a face paint?
There is therefore a certain type of product that always appeals to me. The products that are marketed as "great creative fun, with NO mess" Hooorrray! Now of course, over the years many such products have found their way into our house, and yes, I have to admit, that in the majority of cases I have been ashamedly duped by marketing ploys. Usually there is mess involved, often their is little fun or creativity to be had.
And so it was with cautious optimism that I purchased my first pack of Bendaroos. The advertising certainly made them sound appealing. Colourful flexible sticks that could be bent and moulded and stuck together. No need for paint, or glue. Non staining and re-usable. Brilliant. Hours of creative fun for my creative little mess monsters...without the mess!
** What They Are**
Bendaroos are basically brightly coloured long waxy strings. They in fact have a wire core, not too dissimilar to a pipe -cleaner, but are covered in a brightly coloured waxy substance. They are available in various packs, and we bought an assorted beginner's pack with about 200 Bendaroos in.
Being a cautious and experienced Mummy, I opened the box without the children present. This gave me an invaluable chance to make my own assessment of the potential risks of the product(I'm not talking risk of serious injury here, even I know that serious injury is unlikely from a waxy bendy piece of string. I'm more thinking along the lines of major mess or permanent structural household damage!) So emptying out the box I find a nice colourful mixture of, yes little bendy pieces of string! On closer inspection I notice with some alarm they have a slightly tacky feel to them, but after a good bit of fumbling with one I was pleasantly surprised to see no residual colour on my hands (which could then obviously be transferred to any multitude of household surfaces in an instant!)
The little waxy strings were indeed truly bendy. They retained well any shape into which they were moulded. The slight tackiness made it possible to stick pieces together with relative ease. I made some quick further investigations, and having re-assured myself that they weren't going to stick permanently to the dining room table , television set or the dog (best to cover all eventualities when you live in a house where children outnumber adults 3:1 !) I called in my little darlings.
**How Are They to Play With**
My children (well 5 out of 6 as my oldest now opts out of craft!) were all immediately impressed by the bright colours.
Obviously they had all seen various TV ads, so knew what they were and what to do with them(although my 2 year old initially seemed to be possibly confusing them with Coco Pops straws- but it's OK, they're non-toxic!) And so an amazing thing happened. They were actually able to play happily with them with the minimum of intervention from me for some fairly significant time!
My 2 year old was the first to get bored with them. Having discovered early on that they weren't edible, and that they didn't stick to the dog he soon lost interest. Now in fairness this product is marketed for over 3's,but in this household nothing much gets passed the 2year old!
The other children who ranged in age from 4to10,all played with them for well over 40 minutes, which is something of a record for a joint child activity with minimal adult intervention! My oldest daughter made some truly impressive3D models by twisting and sticking various colours together. Her ambition did slightly get the better of her, and her attempt at the Eifel Tower did have more of a Leaning Tower of Pisa look about it, but none the less some of the things she was able to make were genuinely impressive. My middle daughter had lots of fun twisting various strands to make friendship style bracelets for all the family which again turned out surprisingly well. The younger children stuck to more basic 2d shapes on the table but were delighted to find that they could unravel their creations easily and start again.
There was particular rejoicing when they discovered that the shapes they made could be stuck to the windows, and more importantly I would let them!(remember my pre-play safety assessment? Yep I checked they were easily removable from the windows!) Now we did discover that there was a weight limit to what would stick reliably to the window. Some of the bulkier creations gradually lost their grip and flopped to the floor, much to the delight of the dog who seemed to disagree with my son in her assessment of whether or not these were edible. None the less the window was soon covered in an array of colourful creations to rival any art gallery. So proud were my daughters of their creations that I was made to leave them on the window for somewhat longer than my Mummy sense suggested was wise. This did lead to a nice array of greasy marks on the window which took more than a little elbow grease and windowlene to remove, but on the whole not too bad as far as potential creative mess goes.
At the end of creative fun it was perfectly possible to re-starighten the Bendaroos to be stored for re-use. It should be noted though that eventually after multiple uses they can become somewhat less tacky and more brittle making them harder to mould and stick. It is however also possible that these seemingly innocent pieces of bendy string will escape and hide themselves in all manner of places around the house, just waiting to be walked into the flooring, or run through the washing machine. However I am pleased to report that both these situations are relatively easy to fix and leave no permanent damage. In fact I can also happily tell you that tumble drying a Bendaroo is much less of a disaster than tumble drying a wax crayon ( you see how much further I go to give you wonderful dooyooers the most in depth reviews!)
I must say we loved these. They are perhaps slightly pricey for what they are, but they kept my rabble happily and creatively entertained for a long time. They required very little adult supervision or assistance. They are really simple, and really let the children's imagination take over unhindered. They are reusable, up to a point, they don't cause any permanent damage and little mess, and they don't stick to Dogs. What more can I say!
I wasn't sure what these would be like, sometimes things are not what they seem!
I was plesantly surprised. My mum bought these for my daughter for her birthday and she has loved them.
They are quite amazing I guess they're sort of waxy & bendy but not sticky - yet they stick! you can cut them with the special cutter and if you do it correctly they can be stuck back together again. My daughter has made some amazing creations with them. She is very creative I have to say - I would think that you need the imagination to start with! she's 7 and she loves making little bits of food - pizza slices, little ice creams or little animals.
They are basically brightly coloured sticks of wax which can be rolled up like a spiral, twisted or bent to make creations.
It comes with an ideas sheet so that's helpful. We keep it all in a tin now as once she's cut the strips they end up in little bits. I think after a long time they may wear out but they've certainly lasted longer than I thought.
I think it's a really nice gift idea it comes in a lovely box, it's about £16 for the set but it comes with plenty to have a proper play with.
Great crafty idea and not at all messy - no glue involved.
Bendaroos are advertised as 'Amazing Flexible Building Sticks', and to some degree this is true- yes, they are sticks, yes, they are flexible, and yes, you can sort of build things with them. The 'amazing' bit might be stretching things a tad!
My daughter asked for these for Christmas, I had seen the 'Mega pack' on the argos website for £19.99- it looked a pretty good set for this price. My sister bought it, and I couldn't believe the size of the box- suddenly the price didn't seem so reasonable after all. For what you get, twenty quid seems a bit steep, but i suppose if we're silly enough to pay it?!
My daughter (8), couldn't wait to open this, and both her and my son (6) have had hours of fun playing with it since. Basically you get 400 bendy, waxy straws in lots of different colours. You do get more of some colours than others, and my daughter commented that there wasn't enough black, and that black is a colour you need quite a lot of! This hasn't affect her enjoyment of the product at all though.
Included in this set is a very useful little tool for cutting the straws. There is also a bit at the front of the tool that joins two pieces together- this bit doesn't actually work very well though, the straws tend to stick to the tool instead! You also get some cards with examples of pictures and mosels on them. The kids enjoyed trying to copy these, but they had more fun creating their own masterpieces to be honest (my son made a bendarooney, geddit?!!)
The straws can be used again and again, if your kids can bear to take apart the things they've made- mine haven't yet, maybe when they run out of unused sticks...!
All in all this is a good fun crafty product which keeps the kids entertained for hours at a time, and on the plus side they're not messy, and they don't take a lot of storage space like some other craft toys. Although reusable, I don't know how long the straws would last before losing their 'stickiness'- time will tell I guess- but for the price I hope they last a fairly long time!
Alongside the Dsi Nintendo my daughter brought herself out of her birthday money, she discovered that she has a bit left over to spend, she was over the moon to find the product I will now review, as it did say in the television advert we had seen prior to going to Toys R Us, that these were only available to buy through a dedicated website.
The product I will now review is - "Bendaroos"
These are advertised as the "amazing flexible building sticks", they are shown on the advert as being the ideal thing to build 3D pictures and models, sticking to virtually any surface with them actually encouraging the child to build a picture or plaque on a wall in your house as they apparently don't stain walls or furnishings, with them being able to remove said picture or plaque and sticking them elsewhere upon completion.
The pack my daughter brought was deemed as the "mega pack", this contains 400 Bendaroos, two double sided templates, one instruction booklet and a complimentary "cut and join" tool, don't really see how this can be complimentary when she's paid for everything else!
The Bendaroos themselves are what I can only describe as pipe cleaners, coated with a tacky, bendy and soft layer of wax, this means they can be bent into any shape without the wax cracking, and can be twisted and stuck together with the other colours available in the pack, after use they can be removed from the masterpiece your child has created and straightened back ready for re-use. My daughter has done this on a few occasions and I have yet to see any wax flaking off or bare wires.
In the pack there is a vast array of colours available, this enables the child to make a plethora of models and crafts with the colouring being true to form.
My daughter decided that upon opening the pack she would attempt one of the pictures featured on the double sided cards, there is a lion and a crocodile to be made on the first card.
Even though the cards show you step by step methods of making the models, they of course never look like the picture, but I give Kaitlin her due she made a reasonable job of the lion's face.
The cutting tool mentioned earlier is actually invaluable, due to the wire within the Bendaroos it is reasonably difficult to cut them with bog standard kitchen scissors, the tool is plastic and very sturdy. There is a hole to thread the Bendaroo through, this ensures the child can cut the stick without ever getting their fingers near the blade within the tool. The joining part is situated at the front on the pincers part, this is really an unnecessary accessory as you could simply join with a twist, but if it's there so be it!
My daughter has thoroughly enjoyed this set, this has kept her entertained for many hours and in my humble opinion this is a really good set, this is geared towards the 5+ age range, though my four year old has enjoyed playing with it too.
As mentioned earlier there is no colour transferring onto walls and soft furnishings, even when the picture has been initially made there, it does however struggle to stick to everything as pre-advertised.
My daughter decided in her infinite wisdom that she was going to make name plaques for her and her brothers bedroom, and a blackbird for my bedroom door....not sure where that came from, I can only assume that is the only picture she really feels competent at making!
After making her name in Bendaroos and the also the bird, she stuck the bird to my bedroom door and her name to her wardrobe door. I swear if I have to pick Bendaroos from her sock draw once more this week I will commit harry cary!
Though in fairness not once has the Bendaroo stuck to her clothes or stained them in any way, which is more than can be said for my poor laminate flooring!
After cutting up some of the sticks some must have fallen onto the floor, and by god are they hard to pick off, the first two days after these were bought I seemed to spend the days on my hands and knees scraping them up with a knife!
Aside from this gripe these are actually much more welcome in my house than some of the other crafty items available for purchase now (you know the one's... Bindeez and the like!).
These are available in starter packs, these range from £10.00 upwards. This particular set cost £19.99, which yes, I agree is a little steep, but if brought through the website as stated it would have cost that and P&P, so this is the cheaper option!
For more information on availability visit - www.toysrus.co.uk
For more information on the product other products and colours available (they do neon online only!) visit - www.bendaroos.com
Thanks for reading x
As an afternote, i have since found out that the Bendaroos are not made of wire but rather string, then covered in wax, not sure why the scissors struggle to cut them!
Bendaroos are the magical flexible building sticks - bend and twist then stick together without the need for glue! Magical wax over super strong string makes Bandaroos do almost anything - Draw, Build ,Transform and Decorate! Stick Bendaroos to any surface and they'll hold their shape! Simply unbend them to re-use again and again for endless creative fun with no stains and no mess! Create jewellery, gear for your action figures or furniture for your dolls, make signs and pictures on the walls, doors and windows - stick and stay, then lift away! The Mega Pack features 400 coloured Bendaroos - the magical, flexible building sticks you can twist and bend to make all sorts of creatures and shapes! This creative craft set comes with a Cut 'n' Join tool, 2 double-sided templates and an instruction booklet. Bendaroos are a wonderful way to encourage creativity and construction skills!