As my daughter started to reach the drawing/colouring age I was concerned my walls and furniture would become her canvas. I saw this is in Argos in the 2 for £15 offer and thought I'd see what it was like.
The bag has a small carry handle on top and is fastened with a velcro strap which can easily be undone by a young child. Inside there is a small pen secured in place with a piece of elastic which is great to stop it from getting mislaid. There are 2 white drawing surfaces on either side and around the edges are shapes and numbers.
You fill the supplied pen with water and when you draw on the white drawing areas, it turns blue to reveal whatever it is your child is drawing. After several minutes the drawing begins to fade as it dries and eventually disappears meaning your child can start all over again and draw something new.
The pen is much smaller than the pen provided with the full size Aquadraw sets, as obviously it's 'travel size'. The problem with this is that it doesn't hold much water and I am constantly being asked to refill it. This can be annoying at home but even more annoying on a long car journey when you're trying to refill it from a bottle of water as the opening is so small.
After 8 months of owning this item the pictures didn't seem to be very clear and the pen seemed a bit worn. I assumed the pen was faulty due to wear and tear. But adding water to the drawing surfaces revealed it wasn't the pen it was the actual drawing surfaces that were faulty. I have no idea what this item is made of and what the "magic surfaces" contain but after months of use it stopped showing up blue and you could barely see what had been drawn. For the price I guess 8 months worth of fun isn't too bad but I did expect the product to last longer than it did.
Overall I think this is a good product and my daughter enjoyed it for months but I expected it to last until she was fed up with it and did not expect it to stop working seeing as it's only ever been drawn on with water which is it's purpose.
The "Tomy Aquadraw Travel Bag" is a toy that I bought for my young nephew this summer. The reason for the purchase was to occupy him in the long car journey that lay ahead, as he was going on his summer travels to Yorkshire on holiday. I discussed with my sister (my nephew's mum of course) beforehand about what toys would keep him suitably occupied during the car journey and I eventually decided on the Aquadraw Travel Bag.
The main reasons for me choosing this particular toy over any other were, firstly, it appeared to be a very lightweight and compact design, which made it ideal for travelling and taking on holiday. Secondly, I was quite sure that the toy would amuse my young nephew no end as he has always had a love of drawing or scribbling with crayons and I was quite sure that the Aquadraw would appeal to our little budding Leonardo..!
To describe the toy in a bit more detail, the idea behind the Aquadraw Travel Bag is to provide a re-usable surface for your child to draw on. As the 'ink' used on the Aquadraw is actually only plain water, the pictures that your child has created can be dried out easily. The 'drawings' can be created on the inside of the Aquadraw Travel Bag, which has two slightly oblong-shaped drawing 'boards' inside the bright red coloured Travel Bag. The boards are covered with a light sort of canvas-like fabric on the inside, which soak up the water from the Aquapen upon it touching the surface, and thus it acts like ink, allowing the child to draw to their heart's content, without any mess or fuss.
The red outer fabric of the Aquadraw Travel Bag is quite soft, but it has a padded feel to it, which provides a satisfactory surface for your child to lean on. This design makes the toy ideal for travelling, and I have seen my young nephew doodling away quite happily on his boards whilst sitting in his car seat. The Bag is double sided and it can be opened and closed easily thanks to the Velcro fastening. I think it is relevant to note how lightweight the toy is as my nephew could quite easily pick it up and carry it by himself at only 18 months old, which is the recommended age for this product.
The idea is a very simple one, and having had a try myself on several occasions, I can fully understand why the toy is so appealing to both youngsters and parents. The Travel Bag provides two generously-sized drawing boards to draw on,(each one is perhaps slightly larger than half an A4 sheet of paper) and the little "Magical" Aquapen that is supplied with the Bag is easy to use and a perfect size for smaller hands to utilise. From an adult's point of view, the need for paper or crayons has been removed altogether, making the Aquadraw Travel Bag a quick and easy alternative, while the plain water being used to create the pictures on the boards is obviously free from any toxins or chemicals, or anything that might stain. All of this, and no messy hands or clothes to clean up afterwards!
In my experience, it doesn't take very long for the Aquadraw Travel Bag to dry out and then it is ready for its next use, perhaps 20 minutes or so. The soft fabric on the drawing boards is absorbent enough to soak up the water efficiently and quickly, although it seems to be very lightweight and so dries quickly enough to stop little ones becoming too impatient.
I have also found the little plastic Aquapen is quite hard-wearing and robust, as it is has survived at least two episodes of it being trodden on by clumsy adults! Also, after more than six months of use, there is very little in the way of wear and tear to the 'nib' or tip of the Aquapen which has a very soft sponge-like feeling to it. There is no fear of the Aquapen becoming lost as there is a little slot to store it inside the Travel Bag which is positioned in between the two drawing boards in the centre of the Bag. To fill the pen with water, all you need to do is unscrew the top of the pen and fill it from a running tap and replace the top quite tightly. The pen is then ready for use on the Aquadraw.
I cannot fault the Tomy Aquadraw Travel Bag at all and on behalf of my nephew and myself, can only award it top marks!
The Tomy Aquadraw Travel Bag can be purchased from branches of Argos, or you can order it online at www.argos.co.uk. The price as @ December 2011 is £10.19, and I believe that it is currently part of Argos's "2 toys for £15" promotion, which offers even better value for money.
*Why have I got this?*
My brother in law bought this for my daughter when she turned two. It was a great choice as she was getting to the age where she loved to pick up a pen or one of her crayons and draw on the walls, which isn't the best as the walls are magnolia and I think she sees it as a big piece of paper, she also likes to draw on herself every now and then.
*What is Tomy Aquadraw?*
Aquadraw is a soft padded case that opens out into a dual sided drawing toy. It has a handle when closed, which is for easy carrying of little hands. This no mess drawing board can be used while on the go in the car or when you're at home and don't want to get all the paper and crayons out.
Aquapen is stored inside the case with a band of elastic holding it in place. The pen works when topped up with water, the picture fades when the water evaporates so they can keep drawing again and again.
The item alone weighs 318g which is very light for me to carry and light enough for my daughter.
It is recommended for ages 18 months plus.
*What does it look like?*
Tomy Aquadraw is soft plastic that is brightly red coloured with a blue splash puddle in the middle with aquadraw written in yellow. The left and right hand side is coloured with shapes and numbers ranging from a circle to square and one to number five with bright colours of blue, yellow, green and pink. Aquadraw closes with velcro.
Inside has the same brightly coloured theme as on the front but with more shapes, numbers and colours going all the way around the soft padded drawing board.
The pen called Aquapen has the same theme running on it as Aquadraw so it is easily found when misplaced with her other toys in her toy box. The tip is a soft sponge that easily glides over Aquadraw, to open the pen to fill with water Tomy have cleverly stopped little fingers from opening the lid and pouring water everywhere by switching the turning method the opposite way. So normally you would open something clockwise, Tomy have changed it Anti-clockwise.
*Why is it good?*
This is an ideal product to encourage your toddler to get creative without any mess. Drawing is great for all kids as it helps them to be creative also helps with their hand eye coordination.
You always don't want to let your kids loose with paper, pens, crayons and felt tips so this is a brilliant alternative with no mess.
The sponge tip doesn't leak water so there is no need to worry.
*Does my daughter like it?*
Of course, she loves to draw on Aquadraw but hates it when she has run out of space and had to wait for the water to dry, but as only a light covering of water hits the soft padding it doesn't take too long for the water to evaporate so she can start all over again.
*Does Mummy and Daddy like it?*
Lets just say I prefer her using this than the walls, which she liked to do for a bit.
Aquadraw has been all over the place, on car trips, in the garden, in the park when we've all gone for a walk, friend's houses, the list is endless.
As the soft padding is white it is very easy to mark and my daughters has lovely dirty patches everywhere but this doesn't stop her from drawing on it. Thankfully it is easily cleaned with a wet wipe or a damp cloth but I wouldn't put it into the washing machine with the plastic outer covering.
The downside is the pen, it can be easily lost as it's not secured to Aquadraw and has many times been misplaced and on car trips you need a supply of water to hand so a little in a bottle is recommended.
My overall opinion on this product is a good one, I would recommend this to any parent who's children love to draw.
Even though my daughter has had this for a while the product is still in great condition.
*Price and availability*
You can pick this up from Argos.com for £9.99.