Friday, 5 October 2012

Hama Beads for 3 year olds- A review

This week 'some-one' was lucky enough to receive a hama beads set. That some-one was, of course, Squeaks, who adores dinosaurs.
When asked what she wanted to say to the person who sent her the set, this was her response:
Giving kisses for hama beads!
This was our first experience of hama beads. I must admit that the jury was out. I think I remember them from my childhood, and the disadvantage being (from a cost effective perspective) that once you have committed to them- that is it.
Having had so much fun with Squeaks I must admit that rather doing what I thought I'd do (complete the dinosaur and put the beads away again) that I did the absolute unthinkable, that's right- I got the iron out (Please, do not tell the husband). I couldn't wait to continue the excitement.

So, this was our journey:

Now, being "experienced" with Hama beads, I would definitely recommend using the very well designed perforations on the packaging! We did and we didn't, it would have been better if we had done this with more patience!

Unlike my *form*, I was so excited that Squeaks and I were spending time together (now she's doing playschool and nursery school in the day) I didn't read the instructions.

If I had I would have been pleased to read the template was re-usable.
As it was, I was really pleased that the hama beads were not 'exact', my biggest complement would be that (unlike Ikea furniture) you got more than you needed, the set accommodated for the likely chances of little people loosing beads. And thinking this was our one and only chance at making a dinosaur, I was really pleased with the number of beads we were left with.

I was really impressed how well Squeaks adapted to the task at hand, sorting out the colours and completing the bits with the lowest number of beads first. (I must admit to becoming aware of the transference of my OCD qualities at this point as I found a jar to put the excess colour beads into, Squeaks' interest in tidying up colours once she had completed a set was remarkably amazing and equally scary).

I'm not sure if you can see from the photos, but I was amazed y how committed Squeaks was to completing the task. There were interim requests of "mummy finish the blue", "mummy finish the feet", but one she understood this was hers to complete she committed herself . Photographic evidence will show, she physically moved herself around the board to complete this (which might have resulted in a wry smile from mummy).

And, the excitement from committing the last bead to the template.

I must admit to having the thought run through my mind of putting all the beads back into the packaging and completing again tomorrow.
But, as it was, I was with Squeaks, I wanted to talk to the dinosaur.
So, in a once in a lifetime act, the iron came out.

And, it was at this point I realised the template could be reused.
And that, whilst we had more than value for money in creating our dinosaur, the potential additional value of reusing the template cheered me up no end.

After having lots of fun taking the dinosaur to lunch and meeting her brothers, eventually they both retired to bed and the dragons met their new buddy!

So, I'm all out of ideas as to the negatives of hama beads. You can reuse the templates, you can 'play' with your finished set. You have more than enough beads to complete the set. And you can use the excess for more time with your little people- creating necklaces, encouraging counting.

In terms of the beads themselves, they are more than suitable for Squeaks. I would be tempted to introduce them to the boys (20mths) but I think the fun in creating images is more appropriate to a a three year-old.

I am a convert. The freedom of choice is there. You don't have to add an iron. You can create different images. You can re-create the fun. Or you can make a 'fast' image, and create the dinosaur as a friend.

And the additional fun you can have, whether it be encouraging the recognition of colours, numbers or patterns.

If you're looking for an independent view,The Independent has found Maxi Hama Beads as one of their Top 50 in improving brainpower.

Well, that's Christmas sorted!

Disclaimer: We recieved a hama beads set from DKL for the purposes of this review. All opinions and views expressed are our own.

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