“ Manufacturer: Tomy / Type: Drawing / Age: 1 Year+ „
~~~~~~~~ Watery fun! ~~~~~~~~ Aquadoodle is a drawing system that uses only water. There are range of different Aquadoodle and Aquadraw products available, and my review is for a set of four Aquadraw mini mats featuring the popular children's character Dora the Explorer. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ What is Aquadraw? ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ So how does it work? Well, Aquadraw products usually comprise some form of drawing sheet or sheets, as well as a pen or two and sometimes even stampers and other items. The simpler sets like this tend to come with just one pen. But the Aquadraw pens aren't the usual type of pen with ink - instead you simply unscrew the soft, spongy nib and fill them with water. (Incidentally all Aquadraw pens are designed so that you have to twist the nib the wrong way to unscrew it - I guess this is to try and stop young children opening the pen up - although to be honest it gets me every time and I'm pretty sure young ones could figure it out easily enough if they wanted to!) This particular set comes in a thin box with four Dora the Explorer pictures. These pictures are a bit larger than A5 size and you can very faintly see the images on each sheet. However, once you apply water to the scenes, they come alive with colour! This set comes with one pen so the idea is that you use this pen, once filled with water, to scribble over the picture to reveal the different scenes. If you put the finished pictures to one side, they soon dry off by themselves, ready to use all over again! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Good for Dora fans! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The scenes themselves are very detailed with characters that will be familiar to Dora fans. There is a lot to see here and my little girl likes "looking" for Dora and other characters as she colours in the scenes. The idea itself is very simple and although there are much more complicated sets which include lots more bits and pieces, this is a pretty basic version. Although my little girl likes doing these and drags them out from time to time, I don't think they are really that exciting. Also, now she is 3, I think she has pretty much lost interest. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Not as good as the real thing! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Although Aquadraw is a really clever idea, this really doesn't beat doing "real" crafts in my opinion and although I realise these are designed to be less messy, I would still prefer to get out the paper and pens any time! I don't find these particularly exciting or creative, and I guess they are really better for younger children who are just starting out with pens and so on. I also think that it may be worth, if you can, hanging on and investing in one of the larger Aquadraw sets that includes stamps and so on as I think you are likely to get a lot more use out of it. Overall this is a nice idea and has some novelty value. However nothing beats the real thing for me and although this may be a "tidier" option I still prefer to get a bit more messy and creative with traditional pens and paper! These cost about £7 and are available online from various retailers. They are suitable from 18 months and over which sounds about right to me!