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This craft set was a gift given to our daughters which has impressed me and with which they have had hours of enjoyment.
It consists of four large (30cm x 25cm) good quality template boards, in excess of three thousand self-adhesive coloured foam tiles, some "special" sticky jewels and adhesive plastic hangers for displaying the finished works of arts.
The whole thing is contained in a sturdy box with a carrying handle, durable enough to last the duration of the project.
The instructions are simple - stick the appropriately coloured tiles on to the picture as denoted by the individually numbered white squares. The sheet shows which colour corresponds to which number, and there is sufficient distinction between the colours to eliminate any dubiety.
We have the Fairy themed set so the whole thing is understandably quite girly with sparkly, almost tinselly, colours - lots of gold, silver and pink!
Each picture is large enough to be worked on by more than one child (and Mum too, sometimes) without a problem. In fact I found the interaction quite interesting - "You do pinks and I'll do silver" or "You do the hair and I'll do the dress" - as they experimented to find the most efficient method of teamwork.
The coloured tiles are on small, separate sheets and are easily peeled from the backing paper. One of my daughters is a nail-biter and even she can manage to peel the individual tiles without difficulty. You do occasionally find the odd tile stuck about the house/your person in strange places but they are easily removed.
Likewise the tiles are easily removed from the boards should they be stuck in the wrong place or positioned not quite accurately enough. A degree of accuracy is required when sticking the tiles if they are to lie completely flat and even.
The finished item is perfect for hanging proudly in a bedroom and the sparkly tiles give a lovely effect in the sunshine.
The recommended age range for the set is 5 years + but I think a child of slightly younger than this would enjoy it. The fact that completion of the whole picture is quite time consuming might frustrate the less patient child, however, who might prefer a smaller version of the kit. Because of the small pieces, this set is not suitable for children under three years.
There are various things I particularly like about this set:
* It will occupy a child for hours as there are so many tiles to stick.
* Can be worked on by more than one child at a time
* There are four pictures to work on so it could be shared between even more children.
* The whole kit is self-contained - no additional materials are required.
* The kit is portable and could easily be brought along to work on whilst out on a visit - and it can be tidied away in an instance.
* No need to wait for glue or paint to dry.
* Although this set is undeniably targeted at girls, they also do a dinosaur version which is probably more suited to boys
* It's educational to a degree - hand to eye co-ordination, number/colour recognition, patience and perseverance.
* Results in a "masterpiece" that can be displayed with pride or gifted to Granny!
The only thing I can really say in the negative about this kit, and it really applies to all "by numbers"-type activities, is that it is a very prescriptive type of craft with no really scope for a child's own creativity. One of our daughters loves colouring in and she is much keener on this kit than our other daughter, who is more of a drawing and inventing of stories type child.
This set was purchased from Toys 'R Us and I believe it cost £14.99. I thought this was expensive initially, but the longevity of the kit, as well as the quality of the materials used, leads me to believe that this is good value for what you get.
There are various different versions available including ponies and unicorns, dinosaurs, princesses, mermaids and ballerinas. There are also smaller versions for younger children and 3D projects such as crowns and jewellery boxes.
They are also available from a number of online retailers including Amazon and Crafts4kids.
I'd like to give this product 9 out of ten, but as I can find no real fault with it, I'll round it up to 5 stars.
Made by The Orb Factory, www.orbfactory.com