Product Type: Tomy Art / Craft
Newest Review: ... draw together. The mat is well made and you would expect that from a brand such as Tomy. It is reasonably thick and durable. ~Time To Dra... more
Tomy & Friends Aquadraw
Member Name: angelboouk
Tomy & Friends Aquadraw
Advantages: space for 2 toddlers, no mess, occupied child, pictures etc
Disadvantages: starts to appear dull, price?
Aquadraw is a range of drawing mats for toddlers. The mats are often referred to as Aquadoodle.
There are various character mats available including Thomas the Tank and Peppa Pig. The mats can also be bought in a smaller sized pack which is intended for travel use.
The classic aquadraw mat doesn't feature specific characters. It is suitable for children over the age of 36months and the box contains an Aquadoodle drawing mat and a pen. The mat is ready to be used straight from the box and all that is required is some water for the pen.
Basically this is a large, plastic backed mat which is mainly white. It features various coloured pictures as a border including a ball, frog etc which are arranged in alphabetical order. One side of the mat has counting activities. Within the mat, there is a huge drawing area for free style drawing. The letters of the alphabet are traced onto the mat in upper and lower case lettering and a picture under each set of letters. The numbers up to 10 are there aswell.
The purpose of this mat is to provide drawing fun but without the mess. Your child is presented with a pen which needs filled up with water. They can then get to work on drawing and colouring on the mat. The water activates something inside the pen and on the mat which changes it to a blue colour which becomes visible on the mat. Unlike a piece of paper, the mat can be reused as the colour fades and disappears.
Current prices for the classic version :
Amazon UK - £19.30
Argos - £19.86
Ebay - £15.99
As a young toddler, my son hated using crayons and pencils (he has grown out of that now). I loved drawing and colouring as a child so wanted to encourage him to do the same. We bought our Aquadraw classic in December 2010 when our son was 19months old. He still uses it 2years on and it was definently a good purchase. Now he prefers to draw on proper paper and present his masterpieces to myself and other family though the mat is still dragged out when my nephew visits as he cannot be trusted with crayons in my house after scribbling all over my sons bedroom wall!
Anyway, at the time we wanted to get the Thomas version but settled on this one after spotting it for around £10 on ebay at the time. I feel anything up to £15.00 is an acceptable price for this mat as it has been well used in our home and well appreciated. The mat itself is huge and if you are short on floor space, this may not be a good choice. It is easy to use on carpet, wooden flooring on placed on a table.
I don't have a measuring tape to give the exact size but I will note that this mat is rectangular in shape and spacious enough for 2 toddlers to comfortably draw without bumping into each other. There is only one pen supplied though we have another from a mini mat collection so both boys can draw together. The mat is well made and you would expect that from a brand such as Tomy. It is reasonably thick and durable.
~Time To Draw~
This mat has grown with my son. From the moment we spread it out on the floor he loved it. The pen is long and chunky but easy for a toddler to grasp and draw with. The good thing about the pen (though it confused me at first) is that the top screws off in a different direction from what you would expect. I suppose this is to stop a child from constantly emptying it! The pen doesn't require much water in order to be full up and lasts well when full. This is a good thing as it means I can watch Boo drawing for a while without needing to constantly run back and forth to the tap to fill it up.
So at first my son simply scribbled on the mat and created his own little pictures of Mummy and teddy bear. The nib of the pen holds the water well and it flows nicely without being leaky or too drippy. The mat does of course get wet but not to the point of being saturated. My son has tried and tried again to draw on Mummy using his magic water pen..oh and the walls too but to no avail. It really isn't messy at all but gives my son the feeling of painting and drawing at the same time as the nib of the pen glides effortlessly across the mat.
There is plenty of space to draw various pictures on this mat and at first, the blue colouring comes through quite strongly. It starts to dry quickly but takes a while to fade. At first, all the pictures would fade completely but the mat has retained some of the blue colouring and no longer looks as fresh and white as it once did. If your child is concerned about losing a picture then this sort of mat isn't for them as the pictures do not last and the nib doesn't provide accurate enough lines for detailed pictures in my opinion. This never used to bother my son but now he takes more pride in his drawings so he isn't so keen on using the chunky pen. The smaller pen from the mini mats is a little finer and more accurate.
The pictures that are outlined inside the mat frame are varied and reflect the letter shown above them. My son likes to colour them in and various colours show up when the pen touches them. They were vibrant at first but like everything, start to fade. The pictures relate to everyday things such as a dog, a ladder, a car etc and are realistic enough for my son to recognise them even from a young age. Mummy can also draw with Boo using the spare pen - fun times! I personally like to flick the pen creating pretty blue droplets on the mat but Boo doesn't like me doing this :(
My son used to be happy drawing for a good 30mins and would get lost in his pictures. He was amazed by the fact the pictures dried and disappeared and he calls this his magic mat which I find rather cute. It is a good option when your child decides on a spur of the moment that they have to draw and is much easier than getting the crayon box out.
~Time To Learn~
The mat would look a little boring if it were not for the complimenting pictures around the edges. I feel that the pictures, numbers and alphabet really do add something extra to the mat. It is possible for my son to have fun drawing but also be learning something at the same time. The permanent pictures around the edges are very bright and stand out from the mat. Again, they reflect images which a young child would recognise such as an ice cream cone, a monkey and a snail. My son learned these quickly and still likes to point them out. We can play a game to break up the drawing - Mummy will point to a few random pictures and ask Boo to name the thing in the picture.
The alphabet letters are quite faint on the mat and even when drawn over, they do not stand out well at all. I think as a parent, I would have preferred them to be more noticeable. My son knows the alphabet well though mainly from me teaching him and also a book that we use. It is good to see the letters in upper and lower case to give a bit more variation. The number corner is another excellent addition to the mat and the pictures above the numbers add another game. My son can count up the different images which include seven shells, four fish etc.
Whenever our mat has been used, I leave it out to dry. It can be folded straight away but I find this stops some of the colour from disappearing and makes the mat look grubby. Our mat is folded down fairly flat and stored under the toy box ready for the next use. Despite being large when folded out, this mat is lightweight and can be folded down neatly. This makes it ideal to take when visiting family as it keeps my son occupied and Papa can join in too!
My son does like this mat but moreso when he was younger. I would say it is perfect for children from 18months or when they take an interest in scribbling and it really does save your walls and carpets from being targetted! It was definently a top purchase and has lasted well. It hasn't torn or been damaged and the pen is still going strong. It has fun and educational values and my son enjoys scribbling on it. He won't use paint so this is the next best thing - well more watercolour than paint but still great fun!
Overall we can recommend the Aquadraw classic mat.
Thanks for reading!
Summary: still doodling 2 years on..
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