* Prices may differ from that shown
The Ikea mula range includes numerous toys for babies and small children at modest prices. The bead roller coaster is priced at £10, recommended for children 18 months plus and comes flat packed for self assembly.
Bead rolller coasters, sometimes also known as bead mazes, seem to pop up everywhere I go. Opticians have them. Doctors surgeries have them. My local branch of National tyres have the Ikea one and my lcoal library has two! Whether you call them roller coasters or mazes, the design is basically the same - some form of base in to which a seeming tangle of wires fit. Threaded on to the wires are beads, generally wood and of varying colours, that can be mvoed around.
So, what's the big deal here? These toys are a child magnet. Put a kid under ten in the same room as one of these things and they will zero in on it in seconds, sink to their knees and start to click-clack away with the beads, with a look of intense concentration. I can't recall exactly when I first saw a bead rollorcoaster but they certainly weren't around in the 70's when I was a nipper.
I think these bead frames have a certain 'x' factor about them. Probably the appeal to institutions who have them is that they are compact and have no pieces that can go astray. Also, a wide range of age groups appear to find them engaging. For the child, they can learn about colour and shape from both the beads and the wire, and improve spatial awareness by following the wires, moving the beads and understanding how the wires interlock. There is also a certain sensory satisfaction in feeling and hearing the beads click clack in to each other.
So, how does the Mula bead rollercoaster measure up? The three wires come in three different colours. Two of the three interlock (ie cross over), whilst one stands alone. One is a very satisfying loop the loop spiral - this springs out of the box when you open the flat pack like a jack in the box! The wires are fixed in a wooden base. The beads themselves, of which there is a good number sufficent to fill but not over fill the wires, come in five different shapes and four different colours. I would guess that the overall dimensions are about 35 wide, 25 deep and 30 high. So far so good!
As mentioned, this item comes flat packed. Assembly is simple. I started assembling mine during Mastermind and had finished by the end of the specialist subject round. I then took it apart to alter the allocation of beads to wires to give a better colour and shape combination and considered the assembly complete by the end of the general knowledge round. No problem there.
In terms of robustness, I think the quality is reasonable - this is only a ten pound toy afterall. It's not going to break easily however, I can already see a couple of weak points. First, the wires are clamped in position between two pieces of wood that make up the legs of the frame. There is some play here as, as per many a flat pack item, the holes drilled are not precise. They are a little too big and this allows movement. This is not so significant as to spoil the fun but I can see it getting worse as the toy wears. I think at some point I may take the toy apart and try to glue/fill the wire in the holes with a wood filler or some such. The second weak point is the paint on the beads. I can already see wear on some of the beads and they are only at the start of their click-clacking career.
In terms of fun, there is much to be had with this item. I can spend a happy and therapeutic few minutes pushing the beads around and enjoying the sensation of the push-pull and the satisfying click clack sound. My little boy at eight months, is under the recommended age range by quite some months but he loves this toy. I can't really see any danger to him and certainly there is never any safety advice when the rollercoaster is placed in a public place. Currently he enjoys pushing and pulling the beads, gaining an idea of how much force he needs to apply to send them on the journey round the wires. He does this with one hand if he can, two if he needs to control the beads more. Like his Mum, he seems to enjoy the sound and sensation of the beads moving. In time, he can learn the names of the colours and of the shapes.
Overall, I'd like to give this 4.5 stars. It loses a point for not being the most robust, however, there is more than ten pounds of play value here. I think I will round down to four though as I would happily have paid a few pounds more to have the holes drilled precisely giving a snugger fit around the wires. This would have made this an item to be passed on where as, as it is, I don't think it will find it's way to a sec0nd home.
We have had our bead frame for just under a year now, my friend bought it for my daughter for her 1st birthday. The frame is good value for money and costs £10 in IKEA.
It comes in a flat box and requires some minimal assembly, this consists of the base of the frame, two wooden slats, the bead runners and beads as well as the screws. You also get the alan key needed for the screws. To assemble the frame you simply need to line up the bead runners and then thread the beads. You can place the beads on however you like, I just chose different shapes and colours to go next to each other. You then need to screw the screws in tightly and it's ready to go. IKEA state that is designed to help fine motor skills and encourage logical thinking.
Young children seem to love these frames and my daughter loves the one in the doctors waiting room and she had also played with the one in the restaurant in IKEA. The recommended age is 18 months plus however my daughter was playing with this from around 6 months. There are no sharp edges and it is fairly lightweight and sturdy so I can't see no reason why a younger child couldn't play with this.
My daughter loves this frame and the fun it brings, she loves to move the beads altogether and allow them to drop as they make a noise that she seems to find really funny. As she has got older and she can count to 5 now we count the beads together as we move them along the frame, we are also starting to use the frame to identify colours.
This frame has provided hours of fun, sometimes the simpler toys are the most fun, for the money it is great value. It is also very durable my daughter has been a little rough with it at times and it is still as good as new. It can be wiped clean too.
This gets 5 out of 5 from us as it is educational in a fun way.
Everytime we go to the doctors surgery my youngest daughter who is 2 makes a bee line for their table which is like this toy, knowing how much she loved the table my Mam decided to buy her this from Ikea for her second birthday.
The toy is one of Ikeas own creations and so can only be bought from there however you can buy very similar in many different places, the toy in Ikea is £10 which is reasonable in my opinion.
The toy cames packaged in a flattish box which was quite a surprise which may just me being a bit dim but I just expected it to come ready built. The packaging is a simply open topped cardboard box with cellophane wrapped around it which was easy to tear open.
The toy was easy to build and it only took my husband about 5 minutes to put it together, there are three letal pieces which sit between two rectangles of wood and then the two rectangles of wood are screwed togther.
The toy comprises of a purple piece of thick metal which is like a curv m shape, there is a red thick metal wire which is a spiral all the way across the wooden base and then finally there is a green thick metal wire which is like an m shape again but less of a steep curve in the middle. Each of the metal pieces has wooden different coloured shapes on it which your child can move from one side to the other.
The blocks are a great range you get red, green, blue and yellow so your child can learn the basic colours from it if they don't already know them and the shapes are spheres, flattened spheres, cubes cones and cylinders so lots of different shapes to contend with.
My daughter doesn't play with this toy every day but this is a toy which she will return to time after time and she will sit for ages pushing the blocks from one side to the other fastinated by it all. She also likes to come over and show you what she is doing to get some praise for it and she thinks it's funny when an adultdoes it from one side to the other really fast.
the toy is durable and the blocks are chunky and easy for young hands to handle, the wires are lovely and smooth so there is no chance of any injury from them. The wooden base makes this toy a little bit heavy for carrying around which my daughter often does but she has never hurt herself with it. I think this toy is a very basic toy but it gives a lot of entertainment for a young child although I just can't really understand why, it is a decent price and a toy that is robust enough that it will be passed down through the years.
My Mum bought this for my little boy a while ago and it has proved to be a good little toy.
It is from Ikea and therefore comes flat packed, it cost £8.99. It is easy to assemble, though at first I thought it would be a nightmare, what with all the metal runners, but it all worked out well and took about 15 minutes in total.
It basically has a wooden base, three metal runners, in blue, red and green and a number of wooden beads which vary in shape and colour, and include, yellow, red, blue and green. The beads run along each runner, around the runner tracks. Each runner track is different in shape, one is very curly, and another quite tall and gently sloping and the final one is quite up and down, so there is variety.
The bead runner, helps to improve the dexterity of your child, and also can teach them colours. It also makes them think of ways to get the beads to move around the runners from one side the other.
The toy is fairly simple to look at and I would find it quite boring to play with myself, but my little boy loves playing with it. I would recommend it to others as it well priced, easy to assemble and provides hours of twisty fun for little hands.
I picked up one of these bead frames in IKEA when I first moved into this house 7 years ago, alongside a wooden train set. This was before we had kids ourselves, but I wanted to have a couple of items at our house that were hard wearing that my nephews could play with when they visited, or any other children to come to the house. Then we had our own children who also played with it.
Bead frames are really popular toys with kids. Although they are not that special in terms of they don't make a noise, and all you can do is make the beads follow the shape of the curved wire, there is something that makes you keep wanting to touch it and move the beads along the different shapes of wire.
There are a lot of these about. As well as seeing them a lot at places like playgroups and doctors surgeries, you also get them attached to cube boxes with other items to entertain small children, but this version from IKEA is one of the better ones I have seen.
It is quite a large frame, and has a sturdy wooden construction, with the metal coils firmly attached to the wooden base. The beads are all wooden, and big enough for a small child to grasp comfortably in their hand to move it around. The colours are all bright and attractive, and the mix of colours and shape was excellent to provide variety in texture, and give plenty to talk about when playing with a small child. E.g. shall we move this yellow one now? What happens when we get to the top of the hill here and let go?
The set was quite cheap when we bought it, and is now available for about £10. This is a bargain really, as it is a really hard wearing toy and will show no sign of wear and tear after being played with by lots of children.
I found that it was a good toy to sit in front of my two when they were big enough to sit, but not big enough to crawl. They were not strong enough to be able to pick it up from the floor, but they could get close enough to move the beads, especially once you showed them what to do.
I have only recently sent this to the charity shop, and not because the boys were fed up of it. They still liked to have a play now and again. Just because I was trying to create space for more used toys.
My only negative to this toy is that I sometimes would get my foot caught in it and trip over it if it was on the floor. I would register in my brain that there was a toy there and go to step over it, but not lift my foot high enough. I am honestly surprised I didn't break my foot in it. Even when it has been stood on, the toy held strong and the wires remained firmly attached to the base with no sign of them moving. I was sure I would have bent them or broken it in some way, but I just had a really sore foot.
This is a nice toy to look at, has the advantage of being attractive and interesting to kids without the need for batteries or loud sounds, and is a good value entertainment as it really will last years.
Whenever you go the doctors, hospital, dentist they always seem to have these style toys and my son at a young age seemed attracted to them. They are lovely old fashioned style toys with no electrical components and fiddly little push buttons to be seen. It consists of some large wooden frame, large beads and strong bendy wire made into fun loops. You can't go wrong with this simple yet wonderful toy.
I came across this version in Ikea. You can pay quite a bit for these toys as I had previously looked. I found they ranged in price and style. One of this size could set you back around thirty pound. This Ikea version is a great price of £8.99! I had to add it to the collection of Ikea toys we already had as they had been good fun and reliable.
This one doesn't disappoint. Now it does come flat packed as most things from Ikea but my other half soon had it put together in seconds while I made him a cup of tea!! I could have done it as quick, you just had to slide the beads onto the wires and push the curvy wires into the base simple.
This particular toy is made from solid birch and steel wire. The beads are painted the simple bright colours, blue, red, green and yellow as well as the wires too. They are great to teach your child to recognise colours. It is a decent size measuring 31cm's in length, 25cm's in width and about 28cm's high. The beads are large and chunky for small hands to push them round the wires. They are different shapes too which makes it more interesting and slightly easier for you little one to move them individually.
I bought this for my son when he was just under a year old and he instantly took a liking to it and was trying really hard to get the beads to move. It took him a little while to get the hang of it but when he did he loved it. Bearing in mind this toy is suitable for children 18 months plus. I think the toy is safe enough for a younger child as long as they are supervised. My youngest son is 14 months and he loves playing with it.
We have had ours for two years now and it still looks as new. It wipes clean easily if needed. We have often had sandwiches stuck to the beads from mucky little hands!
This toy is great for motor skills as they learn to move the beads along the bends and curves of the frame. Both my boys have spent time sitting on the floor moving the beads along the different wires and have enjoyed it.
I love these simple toys and I think they make lovely presents for young children. What small child wouldn't like this.
This is a lovely wooden toy at a a great price. I think I paid £8.99 for it and it is well worth the money.
I really like the fact that it is wooden as it feels very sturdy and looks nice and simple amogst a sea of plastic toys. The colours of the beads are lovely and bright and really eyecatching. It is also a very good size and is not at all small so it is easy for my son to get his hands in between the wires.
This toy really holds my son's attention and has since the moment we got it. He spends ages moving the beads backwards and forwards and to help him learn I count with him when he moves them. My son has had this since he was 1 even though it says 18 months+ on it as he was able to move it about since we got it and has always played with it.
The price is unbelievable when you see what a good well made toy this is. The wood at the bottom is solid and so are the wooden beads and I think this toy will last for generations and it is so easy to keep clean because it is wood that it still looks in perfect condition. The beads have no chips in them at all. My son can be very rough with it and drags it about and bounces the wires but has not damaged it in any way.
I would definately recommend this to all my friends.
There are various versions of this style of toy available at many different toy stores. I went and got various toys from IKEA for my son and nephew and this was one of them.
The products comes flat packed in true IKEA style. I found it really easy to put together although the coiled red wire does ping open when you pull the tags off which is a little dangerous. Also you choose the pattern in which the beads go on which is great for someone like me who has mild OCD!
It is marketed for children aged 18months plus. I bought this for my nephew as he turned 13 months and my son was around 10 months when he got his. Both of them found the chunky and bright beads easy to hold and move. Being made of wood it also withstands the obligitory drops and chews that our babies love to give their toys.
My son loves his bead coaster and will sit and play when he finds it on his toy box. He does however get bored a little easily but I think that is just him as a child rather than what I find a "limited" activity.
It costs a mere £8.99 from IKEA which is a bargin when you consider the cost of wooden toys these days and also toys of this style. I found a bead rollercoster that was more expensive and half the size.
A good buy as far as I am concerned!