* Prices may differ from that shown
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The product I am reviewing is by Tomy and are Aquadoodle mini mats. The mini mats are magical pictures which are on reusable cards. The mats are non-messy and all you need to do is add water to the special pen to reveal the hidden picture. The mats I purchased were the Chuggington one's as my nephew currently loves this programme or anything to do with the programme. My nephew is slightly too young to use crayons and my sister suggested getting him some of these for his birthday. The mats are easy and simple to use and no doubt he would get the hang of how to use them and reveal the hidden picture using the special pen provided. The mini mats come in a cardboard box which is quite flat and on the front you can clearly see that the mats are Chuggington themed. The mats are suitable for children for 18+ months so would be perfect for my nephew. On the back of the packaging it shows you how to reveal the picture and also states that colour and contents in each pack may vary. When opening the pack for the first time the mats and pen should be sealed in a clear plastic bag. The mats are quite small but are good sizes so my nephew shouldn't get too bored trying to reveal the hidden picture. Although the pictures are meant to be hidden I could see the pictures already before any water had been applied to the pictures. My nephew probably wouldn't pick up on this, or at least I hoped he wouldn't. The mats have a smooth, matte finish to them. The pen is sealed in a separate small bag and is quite small but perfect for smaller hands. The pen is brightly coloured in red, yellow and blue and has a white tip which feels as though it's made from some type of hard foam or something similar.
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You can purchase these from a number of different places including the Tomy website, Amazon, Argos and other toy retailers. The products may vary in price but it's approximately £6.99 for the pack of 4 mini mats which includes the pen.
Using the Mats
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The pen unscrews easily to enable you to fill it with water. You must use clean water to fill the pen up, so I fill this up straight from the tap. I gave my nephew the pen which he found easy to hold due to the small size of it and he started to scribble on the mat which I placed in front of him. At first he wasn't too sure what he was doing but as he wiped the water from the pen across the mat he realised that it was starting to reveal a picture. He quickly scribbled over the mat some more and started to realise that the picture was going to reveal some of the characters from Chuggington. The pen is good as not too much water comes out and it doesn't spill out the pen leaving the mat too wet. The water on the mat dries quickly so it doesn't leave it feeling or looking too wet. As soon as my nephew had done one picture he wanted to do another one so I placed the 2nd mat in front of him. He was amazed that he was revealing a hidden picture and he kept saying Chuggington as he spotted some of his favourite characters in the picture. As the mat's totally dry the picture will be hidden again and they are ready to use again. The picture takes a few minutes to become hidden again. Once the mats have dried and the pictures have become hidden we place them back in their original box to keep them safe. The pen which holds the water needs to be emptied after use and as long as you do this the pens should last.
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I'm glad I purchased these for my nephew for his birthday as he seems to find them entertaining and he loves revealing the hidden Chuggington pictures. The pictures are bright and colourful and only take a few minutes to reveal and then a few minutes to disappear again. It's good that the pictures don't disappear too quickly as my nephew can have a good look at them and point out his favourite characters. These are a great idea for younger children who haven't yet got the hang of using crayons and paper yet and as these are mess free they are perfect for taking on holiday or day trips. When I first saw the size of the pen which came with the mats I did think it looked small, how-ever it's the perfect size for little hands. In terms of value I think the mats are very reasonable as they are reusable and keep my nephew entertained. I did notice that after a while the tip to the pen came dry out and become quite hard, you can still use the pen but it may not be as easy to use. You can purchase replacement pens from Amazon. Due to having to possibly replace the pen I am going to take one star off but overall a good, messy free product.
(review also on ciao)
Simply fill the pen with water and children can Aquadoodle their favourite Chuggington characters - in colour.Includes 4 different scene cards and 1 Aquadoodle pen.Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts. Age range: From 3 years.