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Both of my little ones absolutely love getting creative but I absolutely hate clearing up more mess then I need to! Often when we have 'creative' time they come away filthy covered in paint, needing a bath and the house needs a good clean too so I'm always eager to look for less messy ways to be creative and Aquadoodle luckily came along and made this possible! If you haven't heard of Aquadoodle and you have children then where have you been?? It is a fantastic way for children to be creative without causing any mess!
The idea of Aquadoodle is that children are drawing with water, not ink or crayons or anything that could get ground into the carpet or stain your furniture. I first heard about it when Hope was a baby and her friend had a big Aquadoodle mat. It was great and so we bought her one and now she has several sets. It is a brilliant invention and because it comes in various formats you should be able to afford one form or another whatever your budget.
Peppa Pig Aquadoodle
Peppa Pig is slowly taking over our house. We have Peppa Pig everywhere! She is a cartoon character and Hope has bought into this little pig hugely over the last couple of years. We have Peppa Pig blankets, toys, teddies, clothing, bags... everything! So when we saw that there were some Aquadoodle sets with Peppa on we couldn't really resist them.
In the pack you get 4 cards. These are slightly bigger than A5 and about 2mm thick so they're not huge and this is what I like because they're easy to store, I'm a bit fed up of children's toys and games that are huge and take up loads of space, these are much smaller so more practical. As well as the cards you also get the magic Aqua doodle pen which is a little red pen which you fill up with water. To fasten it you actually turn it the opposite way than you would expect which helps to deter children from opening it up. When the water touches the cards it helps the picture to show through, when it dries the picture fades. So although when you first look at these cards they are blank you can actually see the picture faintly which helps children to pick out the detail.
The pictures are all very bright which makes uncovering it really exciting. There's lots of Peppa Pig characters involved and not one scene is aimed at just boys or girls so it's ideal for both girls and boys which is always a good thing (in our house anyway!)
Playing with it
Firstly you need to fill up the pen with water which is really easy to do and then children put the pen onto the mat to have the picture appear. The nib of the pen is quite thick (about 5mm) so it's chunky enough to be effective but not so big that it is difficult to control. The pen isn't all that chunky but Hope has never had a problem holding it and nor has her little brother. Hope loves just drawing all over the mats to have the picture appear and gets so excited when she has completed a whole picture. Her little brother likes to get involved too and it's helping him learn to hold a pen and get control over it. After a few minutes though their attention seems to wander and it's no longer as fun, I think because it isn't really messy it isn't as exciting as if they had real pens!
There's an educational element with this toy. It helps children to learn to hold pens and to discover colour. I wouldn't say it's hugely educational though because all they are doing is uncovering the picture, they aren't choosing colours for themselves or trying to colour within the lines. It's all a bit scruffy really which is why it's best aimed at little children about 2 years old rather than those who are about 4 as it's just not stimulating enough for them. Hope will play with it for a few minutes but that is all. My little boy will play with it for much longer and seems fascinated by the picture uncovering.
I love that this is mess-free! The only mess is if the water leaks or runs and then all you have to do is dry it and it doesn't stain or anything. My negatives with this is that the cards stain easily we have had greasy fingers touch this and that tends to stay on the card and it is spoilt forever which is a shame. The other negative I've mentioned already that it's not really all that stimulating. It is ideal for really little children who are discovering holding pens and having a good scribble and they're only compact so they don't take up much space which is always a bonus! The cards are suitable for boys and girls and they are nice bright cheerful pictures so are very well designed really. I won't buy any more because I don't think they're stimulating enough but I am happy with them to let the children continue to use these. It's nice to have mess-free time!
My eldest daughter used to have a set of mini mats from In the Night Garden but they ended up being played with that much that the colour was staying on the pictures in the end. Having know how much these were played with I decided to buy a pack for my youngest daughter wa Christmas and chose these ones as she loved Peppa Pig at the time. There are a couple of different combinations of pictures available in these sets and depending on which you want they currently start at £4.79 a pack with free delivery on Amazon which was where I purchased them.
When the package arrived I was surprised to find it is packaged in a plastic bag rather than a box however I think this is better as it is stronger to keep the mats in and the box we had for the previous set ended up battered and pretty much flat in the end so wasn't great to hold the mats in the end. The packet is mainly yellow and blue in colour and is really bright, it states on the pack that it is created by Tomy and that the set is for ages 18 months and up. On the front you can see pictures of the scenes you will get inside and a happy little girl playing with them, the packaging is most certainly designed in such a way to attract children.
To open the packet you have to cut across the top and it doesn;t reseal n any way which is pretty poor however as long as you haven;t ripped the bag then the mats are perfectly fine being stored in the packet.
Inside the packet you get three mats to be coloured and the pen which is about 3 1/2 inches long and has a bright red plastic piece around the nib, the nib of the pen is made of pretty hard sponge. The mats to be coloured are 3 different scenes, you get a a picture of Peppa Pig with George Pig at a board where they have drawn pictures, A bota scene where Grandad Dog has all the children on the boat made up to look like pirates which from an epiosode of the show I remember being DannyDog's birthday surprise and thridly you have a picnic scene where Peppa Pig is with all her family in the woods haveing a picnic.
To play with the set you have to unscrew the nib from the pen and fill it with water, be sure to have your tap turned on low to do this as the pen doesn;t hold much and quite a few times I have found the pen has filled very fast and then a shoot of water has flew back up at me, the nib turns the opposite way than you would usually turn things but this is marked on the pen yet I still forget.
Once youhave the pen filled simply give to your child and let them loose on the pictures, I sit my daughter as the wooden table that we have so we don't end up with water all over as she is not very good at keeping the pen on the mats alone. When your child draws on certain parts of the mats with the water pen the picture underneath will appear as if by magic. Emily plays for about 15 to 20 minutes with these mats without being bored but after this time she generally has managed to colour them all in and then you have to wait for them to dry before they can be played with again.
The mats dry out pretty quickly so your child doesn;t have to wait too long inbetween playing however we find that they will only get played with once each time as by the time they have dried Emily has found something else that she wants to play with instead.
I was very surprised to find that these mats are not to be completely coloured with the water pen and most of the backgrounds is filled in with solid colour which means that it takes even less time for your child to fill the pictures in, the old set we had were better in the fact that the whole mat was to be coloured with the water and if I was to buy a set of these again then I would watch out for the full mats instead.
Emily loves playing with these mats and often points them out on the shelf to ask for them, the mats are easy to play with and the pictures appear pretty quickly when the water hits the mats and therefore your child is rewarded for their efforts quickly. Emily loves pointing the characters out on the mats as they appear and she still seems in awe that the pictures appear from no where even though she has played with them loads of times.
The mats are pretty strong and at the moment the pictures still disappear completely when they dry, the mats haven't bent or creased in anyway ad Emily does tend to throw them when they need to dry and she can;t do anymore. These are a decent price for what you get although I would prefer a bigger set to be available as Emily would keep playing with the mats but they are all filled in too quickly, I will probably end up buying her some more in her new favourite character to keep her amused a bit longer. The mats of course are pretty much mess free which is a massive bonus and means that I can happily sit Emily to play with them at the table and use the time to get some uninterupted housework done. I would rate these 4 stars.
These aqua doodle mini mats are good fun for kids and are mess free lol, i bought these for my little girl last year from ebay for about £5.00, They are made by tomy and you get 4 different peppa pig scenes in the pack.
When your little one takes them out they are just like a white piece of card and all you have to do is fill the pen with water and then your little one can colour them in and just like magic the scene will start to appear and your little one will be amazed, The great thing about them is unlike pens and paints they dont stain anything or make a mess as all that comes out is water.
There are many different versions you can buy not just peppa pig but dora or in the night garden,
I think they are great for little ones that are 1 year as it helps them to learn to hold a pen and how to use it without making a mess everywhere. Great for a gift or for a stocking filler at xmas.
Only thing i would say is that when your child gets 2 plus they do tend to get bored of them.
My twin boys love to draw and as much as I encourage drawing and creativity, there are times when they want to draw or let their creative skills loose but I can't give them 100% supervision (i.e. if I'm cooking dinner) to ensure their creative skills stay on the paper in front of them. Mr Lools learnt this the hard way when the boys were playing in front of them and he turned his back for less than 20 seconds to go in the cupboard for more drawing paper and found both my sons using their crayons on our beige walls. So a friend suggested the Tomy Aquadoodle Mini Mats and one of the packs of these I purchased was the Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats.
***Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats***
Aquadoodle is basically a mat in which allows children to develop their drawing skills by using only a small amount of water. You fill a special Aquadoodle pen up with water and allow your child to draw on the coated Aquadoodle mat and once the water touches the mat the doodles can be seen.
The Peppa Pig themed Aquadoodle mini mats contain 4 different Aquadoodle mats and an Aquadoodle pen. Each of the mats is a greyish colour and is around 19cm long by 15cm high each with a different Peppa Pig themed image on. The Peppa Pig image is revealed and becomes bright and colourful once it is doodle on with the wet pen.
Tomy state that these are suitable from age 18 months and over (with the age guidance on Amazon stating from 18 months to 5 years old).
The Tomy Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats are sold by a number of retailers including Boots, Toys R Us Amazon, Smyths, ELC and also from Amazon. The price of the mini mats vary depending on the retailer however some retailers sell these for around £8 per set. Although the mats are reusable over and over again I do think at £8 this is expensive for what they are but there are regular special offers on these and you can pick up for around £4-6 which I feel is much better value.
Mr Lools and I have purchased a number of Aquadoodle Mini Mat sets for my twin boys over the last year or so however the Peppa Pig themed mats were the first set that we purchased.
The Tomy Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats comes in a flat cardboard box around 30cm long and 20cm wide and is accessed by a small flap on the top of the box. The picture on the box shows what is contained inside. Inside the box there are four Aquadoodle Mini Mats and one pen in each set. If you have purchased only one Aquadoodle set only one child can play with these at a time because there is only one pen so we purchased a number of these sets (with different themes) to ensure that our twin boys could play together with the Aquadoodle Mini Mats and we did not have scraps over the pen. The packaging is quite small and compact which makes it initially very easy to pop inside of a handbag or changing bag and take out with you as entertainment for a child. However because of the cardboard outer packaging it is not the most durable and I soon found that the box become torn therefore I would instead just pop the mats and Aquadoodle pens into a large pencil case to take out with me. You could put the mats directly into a handbag or changing bag and because they have a plastic coating they would not suffer damage but because they are as thin as a piece of card they do bend easily.
Playing with and filling the pens up is very easy. You simply screw the pen apart fill with around 20ml of water. Screw back together and the pens are filled and ready to be used to draw on the mats with. The pens are quite chunky around 2.5cm in diameter and 12cm long. The nib of the pen is made from a hard spongy material that even when jabbed into the mats cannot bend so are very durable.
My boys started to play with the Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats from 14 months old. At this age they were learning to hold the pen and I feel that these mats helped with their basic motor skills perfecting the pincer grip to hold the Aquadoodle pen and then scribble on the mat. They took a lot of pleasure scribbling on the mini mats and then the image on the mat being uncovered which encouraged them to scribble more. I found over the next few months up to the age of around 2 years old they loved to scribble on the mats and watch the different brightly coloured Peppa Pig themed scenes appear and the various different characters. I think out of all of the different themed Aquadoodle Sets the Peppa Pig themed mats were and still are clear favourites. The images are bright and colourful and include clear images with all of the Peppa characters in. The mats once wet immediately change colour and after about 5 minutes they "dry" and turn grey again ready to be reused and my boys would always tend to scribble on each mat at least twice. However once my boys got to around 2 years old they seemed to lose interest in the Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats and after scribbling on each of the four mats would look for something else to do.
I think the main benefit of the magic mats is that they are mess free. Although the pen and mats use water this is such a small amount it does not leave a wet mess that you have to clear up. The sponge nib on the pen does not leak and a small amount of water uncovers a lot of the image. This means that the pens do not constantly need filling up and the pen can uncover each of the four mini mats at least twice.
The age guidance on the Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats is from 18 months. Personally I found my boys at around 14-15 months were fine to play with both the mats and the pens and I felt the toys were "safe". The pens are quite difficult for an adult to screw apart and a young child would not be able to do so and the pen is large and chunky enough to not be a choking hazard but still small enough for small hands to hold. Plus at this young age I tended to supervise my boys closely with most creative type toys. I feel they got most of their enjoyment out of these Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats and the other Aquadoodle Mini Mats when they were under 2 years old and they were entertained for longer at a young age drawing on the mats with water and scribbling away to reveal the image and characters on the mats. At just over 2 years old they still enjoy playing with the Aquadoodle Mini Mats particularly the Peppa Pig themed set however I do find after they have revealed all of the images they tend to ask to do something else rather than start scribbling on the mats that have dried. My friends who have older children around 3 years old play in a similar fashion and I do feel for children over 3 years old these have very limited entertainment value once they have revealed the images for the first time. Based on the Amazon guidelines I would say for a child nearer 5 these would be far too basic and I would not recommend.
I think the Peppa Pig Aquadoodle Mini Mats are a great toy for children to allow them to be creative yet as a parent you get none of the potential mess that goes with drawing or colouring in with crayons. I do not think the Aquadoodle Mini Mats replace the idea of drawing but you can take these along to entertain your child when you are visiting relatives etc. and not have the worry that the moment you turn your back your child has started colouring in the walls and you have to awkwardly apologise. The main benefits of the mats aside from being mess free is that they are reusable and dry quickly so your child can reveal the Peppa Pig themed pictures over and over again. Although for children over 3 I do think these have very limited entertainment value whereas for children under 2 years old they seem to be entertained for longer.
I do think at full price for four Peppa Pig themed Aquadoodle mats and one pen these can be expensive as at full price some retailers tend to charge around £8. However these are regularly on special offer and you can usually pick up for around £4.
Not the best of toys but a great little gift especially for the under 2's.
Simply fill the Aqua Draw Pen with water and Aqua Draw Peppa Pig - in colour. No mess, no fuss and it's impossible to go out of the lines, ideal for very young children taking their first creative steps. Scenes magically fade to colour over and over again.Not suitable for children under 36 months due to small parts. Age range: From 3 years.