Product Type: Tomy Art / Craft
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What Can You Aquadraw?
Tomy Rainbow Aquadraw
Member Name: arleek
Tomy Rainbow Aquadraw
Advantages: No mess, good accessories
Disadvantages: Limited, boring, pictures fade
My kids got this for Christmas last year, and compared to the Disney Princess version we've had for a couple of years, this instantly seemed a lot better in terms of what you get with it and the fact that it has different colours on the mat.
For those of you who don't know, an 'Aquadraw' is a giant (probably just less that 1 metre square in size) vinyl mat which can be drawn on with special water pens to create a picture, that magically fades away when dry. The idea is that it is 'mess free' fun for your little ones. I have just seen on the Tomy website that the new name is 'Aquadoodle' rather that Aquadraw, just to confuse matters.
Anyway this Rainbow version is quite good, the mat has a nice blue frame around it decorated with butterflies and balloons which makes it ideal for either sex (no pink in sight!). The drawing section of the mat is white, but hidden underneath is a rainbow of colours (basically waves of different colours) which are only revealed when you use the pens or other tools available with the set.
Accessories that come with this Aquadraw are:
* 2 pens (mine came with 2 pens but I see on the web that only 1 pen is advertised, so as it was a gift I can only imagine that the bearer added an extra pen, but with the bearer being a pensioner I think it unlikely - it is certainly a mystery to me!) These pens are to be filled with water; you unscrew the top, fill with water and screw back on. The tip is sponge so the water soaks through and you use it like a normal pen on the mat and make pictures or scribbles, or whatever you like. The genius part being that these pens won't work anywhere apart from the mat = mess free fun.
* 3 stamps which attach to the pens and can be used to add to your pictures, you get a cloud, raindrops and a star.
* A wide paintbrush with a little non-spill water pot.
And that is everything you get, now the fun is up to your kids. I found that when they opened this on Christmas Day they wanted to play with it straight away, and the fact that it had 2 pens and the paintbrush made it a lot easier for them to use it at the same time - there was enough for them to use without arguing over things.
The paintbrush is a really good idea, it's actually a 'sponge' brush because the tip is sponge not bristles and you dip this into the little water pot to soak up enough water to be able to do a few nice thick strokes on the mat. The water pot is actually quite an ingenious design, I don't know how they've done it but is seems to be non-spill. If you don't over fill it, when your child inevitably knocks it over the water somehow stays inside the pot! Amazing.
My kids seem to like the brush because they seem to be of the idea that the larger the mark you can make on the mat the better, and this makes a mark which is about 1.5 inches across.
The stampers are a good idea, but take a while for the water to soak through and my kids tend to get bored straight away with plain old boring stamping, they would rather be scribbling, or in the case of my 3 year old, colouring in the entire mat.
Compared to the Disney Princess version, the colours on this mat are nowhere near as vivid, and if I'm honest I was a little bit disappointed with this, especially since it is a 'Rainbow' one, I expected really bright colours, but these are quite pale. And what I have also noticed that if your child likes to actually draw pictures then some of their picture can look like it is missing if it crosses over the yellow section as this is really pale.
I have found with both of the Aquadraw mats that we have, the kids tend to like the idea of them but don't spend more than 10 or 15 minutes using them. It's a bit of an anticlimax I think, I don't know whether they are a bit limiting on their creativity with the colours being predetermined or that they know that their masterpieces will always fade away.
It's a strange one that I don't think I will ever figure out, both my daughters (aged 3 & nearly 2) love to draw, paint and colour and will spend hours at a time doing this, but yet with an Aquadraw, the fun seems to be over before it has even began.
I'm not saying Aquadraw/Aquadoodle is rubbish, the set is really good quality, and considering ours has been in and out of its box numerous times over the last 10 months it's still in very good condition. There are a few grease spots on the mat (don't let them eat cake near it!) and some parts are a bit grubby, but it still works fine and no enjoyment is lost (in that 10 or 15 minutes of use anyway!).
I think if you were going to buy an Aquadraw regardless of my comments above then I would actually recommend this Rainbow set because it does come with some good accessories and is also slightly cheaper than some of the other versions (probably because it hasn't got Disney or Peppa Pig written all over it!), and it is also good for more than one child to share.
I just wouldn't recommend Aquadraw as a whole because I think it is overpriced for what it is and for what limited enjoyment children can get from it.
Prices start at £24.99 at www.tomy.co.uk
It can also be found on Amazon.
Summary: Good idea but my kids find it quite boring
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