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My son used to love doing arts and crafts type activities when he was younger but as he got older he started to do them less and less. To try and combat this for Christmas this year I got him a couple of small Fimo soft clay modelling sets.
Fimo is a soft clay which reminds me a bit of plastercine really in consistency. You can mould it and make models from it and then you need to bake it in the oven.
The pack shows pictures of a couple of really cute looking dinosaurs and the idea is that you make these models using the clay which is provided.
Inside the thin card packaging there are step by step instructions on how to create the models. You are able to create a purple and a green dinosaur.
The instructions are quite good and I imagine my son could have made the models on his own but we wanted to do the activity together and it was nice doing that just sitting and talking and having fun together so I would recommend that. The kit is recommended for those aged eight plus and I would say this is about right as you do need to make some small bits from the clay which requires decent fine motor skills which younger children may not have fully developed.
The Fimo clay can be quite tricky to manipulate initially and I do find it is best to soften it in your hands somewhat before you start your model as it just becomes an easier product to work with. I would also recommend protecting your work surface as well because it will mark the table and whilst this does wipe off with some antibac spray and a cloth it is better to protect it from the off.
We managed to make two good sized dinosaurs with the kit and had a little of the Fimo left over in a couple of colours which we were able to wrap back up and store with our others. The models we made are around ten centimetres or so in length and a couple of centimetres high so they do stand out quite well.
We were able to varnish our models because we have varnish in our starter set but it is important to note you don't get varnish in this set. You could use PVA glue to give the model a shine if you wanted I suppose. We also used a sharpie pen to draw eyes and a mouth on our models so they look even cuter now they are smiling!
This set costs £6.05 with free delivery on amazon but I got it for less than a fiver. I would say the price fluctuates and it would be worth keeping your eye on the set should you be interested. There are lots of varieties available if this one doesn't grab your attention. I would recommend this set as a good activity to do with your child.
Crafts are a wonderful way to keep children busy when the weather turns horrid outside - but while my sons do enjoy crafts once they get into them, they are not the type to just have a rummage through the crafts supplies and think of something to start work on. In order to get them interested in crafts - I need to choose a project and sit down with them to get started - so I often look for small kits to get us started. The problem is - I feel far more kits are designed with girls in mind than boys - but what could be better for little boys than dragons and dinosaurs?
This set comes with 4 very small cubes of modeling compound and an instruction booklet. The instructions were clear and easy to follow - if you like following instructions - and we easily made the Stegosaurus and Dimetrodon from these instructions. There are also instructions for a dragon and a sea snake, but my sons wanted all dinosaurs so we made a Parasaurolophus instead. There was enough clay for 6 small dinosaurs.
This product is not recommended for children under age 8, but I can really not see any reason why not. My 7 year old had no problem with this set. My 4 year old on the other hand was able to help roll and knead the clay, but he couldn't get his dinosaurs to look right and ended up asking me to make his. This is no fault of the product - he was just a bit too young. He did have a lot of fun though, and was quite happy helping soften clay and rolling it and adding small features like spots and plates. Once the figures were made he was very happy with his dinosaurs. My 7 year old clearly got the most from this kit, but both boys had fun, and both have asked if we can get more clay which I take as a good endorsement of the product.
I really have no complaints in regard to this kit. I have read some reviews which slate this for having only a small amount of clay, but it is more than enough to make the 4 monsters you are meant to make from this. It does take a bit of mashing to soften clay, but the children enjoyed this part anyway. I have also read complaints that it was too hard, but I really don't think this was the case at all. Fair enough my youngest needed a lot of help, but my 7 year old was able to do this completely on his own. He dinosaurs do not look exactly like the ones pictured, but if you are used to children's crafts you don't really expect a 7 year old to knock out quite the same quality of work as the professional artists who I am certain sculpt the models for the advertisements. I do think they came out very nice though, and you can clearly see what species of dinosaur they are meant to be.
My only possible complaint is that one dinosaur has broken and needed to be glued, but this can happen with any type of clay ornament. They are meant to made more as decorations than toys. The added on parts do stay attached very well, and I believe this is less prone to breakage than most sculpture kits. If these will be used as toys, I recommend a clear coat to strengthen them of glue, varnish, or possibly clear nail polish if you have any.
It took us about 30 minutes to make our dinosaurs, and I believe it took close to an hour to dry in the oven at minimum heat. Clean up was minimal, just a very quick wipe of the table and we were done. I am very impressed by this product and will certainly buy another set at some point in the future. The colour of the clay did not fade in the drying process, nor did we have any problem with legs, necks or crests sagging or drooping. I have found with other modeling compounds that added on bits, like eyes and spots often fall off, but that was not the case with these. I would highly recommend this as a fun and easy activity for rainy days, and feel the price of £5.95 including postage is quite fair.