“ Brand: Spinmaster / Type: Flexible building sticks „
My daughters are both never happier than when making something, and hence in our time we've tried out many of the craft sets available. A new item to us though, was the "Bendaroo" - having received a smaller set for her birthday my seven year old went on to buy this Princess Fantasy with her birthday money, and has been busy making things with it ever since.
Bendaroos are a simple idea that work really well - they consist of short small-ruler sized pieces of wax covered string in various colours that can be cut, bent, joined, twisted and moulded to make models in 3D as well as flat items. Finished items can be adhered to glass surfaces, and the straws can be re-modelled and re-used time and time again. The bendaroo concept is, in my opinion, much better than some of the newfangled items aimed at the girl market like Aquabeads or Paperoni. There's no mess involved and the bendaroo just seems to encourage creativity in a way that some of the other craft activities don't.
This particular set is billed as "3D". It comes with 170 different bendaroos in 8 different colours - there's a good range- and varying quantities. It also includes 2 double-sided template cards for 4 different 2-D models, as well as instructions for making a dragon, princess and a unicorn in 3-D, as pictured on the box above. I would say that the 6 and above age range are going to get best use of this activity, smaller children will probably lack the fine motor skills and patience to produce very good results.
I found my daughter was able to use the templates to make the 2 D models with ease - the templates show you how to twist and layout the bendaroos to make a wand, frog, castle or crown. This my daughter seemed to enjoy, she found it challenging and interesting and also was able to use the straws for her own creations without my intervention, making a convincing flower and her name in bubble writing. As the straws are made of wax, they can be manipulated with the warmth of your hands, but seem to become a bit more solid once made. The 3D models are a bit more challenging and involve you having to make spirals with the bendaroos and to do a fair bit of cutting and twirling; she needed a bit of help with some parts of these but I would imagine an older child would manage fine, the instructions are clear, well laid out and heavy on the visual not the written word. Again, once she had mastered the art of making a model in 3D my daughter was happy to make her own thing - there were enough bendaroos in this pack to enable her to make her own thing.
The only drawback to this item is that it can seem quite expensive for what is a small box - we shopped around and found it for £5.49 which, actually, given the amount of fun she has had from this set, is a fair price. The items she has produced have worked well, as already mentioned there's no mess - which is a big plus in my book, and I really like the fact that a child can use their imagination and make whatever they want, within reason. Her finished 2D models look really quite attractive stuck to her mirrored wardrobe, and the 3D ones have found a space on her shelf of special things and are really treasured.
I think the bendaroos are an original, fun idea, and I'm informed Santa Claus has bought some more as a stocking filler as he thinks they will be appreciated. Highly recommended!