Thursday, 4 November 2010

Toyologist Review Week - Creative Play

Day 4 and today, we're onto creative play - things to make basically. I'm always a bit wary of such items because, in our house anyway, the potential to a) go wrong and b) make enormous amounts of mess is huge. So, we've been sticking, moulding, pressing and twirling on your behalf to put them through their paces.

Firstly, there is the Bendaroos Creativity Centre (£19.99). The idea of this that you have flexible wax strips wrapped around string which you wind around models or templates to create 3D models. The set includes scissors, a couple of models and a shaping tool to help create your models. In theory, it looks simple. We have had this for ages and both Monkey and Missy Woo have been pestering to have a go but I've always held back. Well, I think I know why. They actually found it really hard to do the shaping/winding part. Although it's labelled as suitable for 5 years upwards, they actually ended up giving it to Daddy to do for them. The models that you make are fairly small and also easy to squash (I may or may not have sat on at least one by mistake) but they can be taken apart easily and the strips reused, so this can be a blessing as well as a curse. My overall verdict is that this is OK, but perhaps better for children older than 5 - maybe from 7 upwards. The children enjoyed it but soon gave up and since we played with it, they have not asked to play with it again.

The same could not be said for the Sticky Mosaics Dinosaurs (£14.99). This is like painting by numbers but with little coloured sticky mosaic foam tiles to stick on 4 different designs. Although they needed some help - because there are lots of tiles to put on each design - they loved doing the sticking and were very good at making sure they stuck the tiles on the right number. It kept them busy (and quiet) for a substantial period of time, largely because it is easy to do and they can see instant results. Both are very proud of their achievements and have a finished design up in their rooms. There are other designs available - most of which are very girly, and so would appeal to Missy Woo more - and I would happily recommend your kids try any or all of them. The finished result looked very professional so this would make a nice present for children who like to make things and then give them away as presents. It's a resounding thumbs up from us for this.

And then, the original creative play item - Play-Doh. We were sent the Play-Doh Mega Fun Factory (£24.99) to try which has a real conveyor belt. The Play-Doh is loaded in one end and it squishes it out onto the conveyor belt. You can then use one of 15 moulds to press out pretend food or toys. It also includes 4 tubs of Play-Doh.

We got this out at a gathering of friends who'd come to try some toys with us and it was the most popular toy of the morning. Children - aged 3 and upwards - were queueing up to use it. The conveyor belt in particular seemed a big hit. Anyway, there was nearly a fight over who was going to use it next. One little girl sat there absorbed by it for a good half an hour. They thought it was great fun. If your child likes Play-Doh (and let's face it, most do) they will love this. Hopefully, in the process, they won't make as much mess as usual.

That's it for today. Tomorrow, I'll have a guest post for you reviewing the Power Rangers RPM Performance Cycle. Do come back and have a read then!

(I was provided with the above toys to review and have received no other compensation. The opinions stated here are my own, and have not been influenced by the aforementioned compensation.)
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