Geek From The Get Go
My son will happily admit that he is a computer geek. Whilst we try our hardest to limit his ‘tech time’ his mind still stays firmly in the game hours later.
Mario is one of J’s favourite games to play whether it’s Mario Kart or Super Mario he is happy as Larry playing along with Mario and Luigi.
Poor J was nicknamed Yoshi from an early age as it is so close to his own name. Four years later when E came along we couldn’t help but to dub her as ‘Princess Peach’. Mario is certainly a family favourite and as so the kids have a fair amount of merchandise.
Much to the kids delight we were recently sent the Mario ‘Aquabeads‘ set to review. I had seen Aquabeads advertised on the television but had no previous experience with this product.
Unwrapping & Opening The Mario Aquabeads Set
Upon arrival, we opened the Aquabeads set and began taking a look what was included in the box. In the box we found there to be:
- An instructions sheet
- An aquabeads layout table
- A bead palette
- Over 600 beads in 17 different colours
- 3 template sheets including characters such as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and Toad.
- One water sprayer
- One bead pen
We began by opening each bag of beads and organising them into the layout tray. Each bag is meant to tear open but we found it slightly easier and quicker to use a pair of scissors, this also prevented any taste the rainbow moment style spillages.
After getting our balls organised pardon the pun we filled the water sprayer and began loading our balls into the ball pen. There is a button to load your balls into the pen which you can click then insert the balls, I personally found it far easier to press the ball pen down into the bead tray and press each ball into the pen individually.
It Takes Two!
J obviously wanted to begin by creating Mario, we selected the Mario template and inserted it behind the layout table, J then began putting the correct beads into each slot. I must admit that this required some patience as the balls seemed to have a mind of their own at times. After a small amount of coaxing and reassurance J eventually completed his design.
E meanwhile had decided not to bother using a template and had created something totally random on the other side of the layout table, whilst she would love to have had this sprayed and set I opted to put the balls back into the sorter for future use once she wasn’t looking of course. I would like to warn you that this product does require a fair amount of patience which most three-years old tend not to have. This may be why these kits are recommended for use with four year olds and over…
I was quite pleased that there is a good amount of space on the layout table for two children to work closely together at once, this seemed to prevent any arguments and allowed the kids to work simultaneously.
Completing Our Work
Once J’s design was complete we sprayed over the design with the water sprayer and then counted slowly to five before attempting to tilt the design for drying. A few balls seemed to come ‘unstuck’ and either we didn’t count slowly enough or we hadn’t sprayed enough water over the beads. We tilted the design back to a flat position and resprayed a second time, this seemed to do the trick as second time round it seemed to stay together just fine.
We moved the design to the lip of the layout tray in a tilted position and left it to dry in the kitchen whilst I caught up with some household chores and the kids played in the living room. An hour or so later the design was certainly dry and seemed to be almost stuck to the layout tray, I carefully peeled Mario away from the layout tray and removed the template so that it can be reused.
I was really surprised to find that the Aquabeads Mario design actually stayed together and seemed fairly solid. I was half expecting it to fall apart to be honest as I have experienced this with the kids Hama Hot Beads designs in the past and have found myself either re-ironing the kids designs or popping them back into the tub to be reused.
Hama Beads VS Aquabeads
We have used Hama hot beads to create a range of jewellery, decorations and accessories in the past which I presumed would be a similar product. Whilst reviewing the Mario Aqua Beads set I soon found that Aqua Beads and Hama Hot Beads are vastly different products in terms of shape, style, use and safety requirements.
I have a seven-year old boy and a three-year old little lady, both of which greatly enjoy getting crafty and creative with almost anything you hand to them. Whilst there are usually age requirements on most products, I have always encouraged my kids to give things a go and where an adult is required have stepped in to offer assistance.
When using Hama hot beads my children have always had to hand me their finished designs to complete by using a hot iron to seal the beads together. As you may have guessed by the name ‘Aqua beads’ gel together using water and therefore do not require the use of hot irons or any other potentially hazardous equipment.
Aqua beads are suitable for use from four-years and upwards. It was really nice to be able to give my children the freedom to carry out and to complete their own work safely without the need for much assistance.
Organising & Storing Aquabeads
I also love how the Mario aquabeads set has specific slots for each item enabling good organisation and care for the product. You know me folks, I love being able to organise things, although having to reorganise hundreds of tiny balls after they have been placed back into random slots may have been ever so slightly frustrating.
There are a wide range of Aqua Beads sets available including basic starter sets, jewel sets, Frozen, Cinderella, Minnie Mouse, Mario, Finding Dory, Hello Kitty and Sylvanian Family sets to name just a few. Each set includes a range of templates from which a range of designs can be created, alternatively children can use their imagination to create their own designs, anything is possible!
J has now stuck his Aquabeads Mario design to his wardrobe to be displayed along with his many posters and other arty creations. He really enjoyed being able to sit down and to create something independently from start to finish which he keep and display to his friends and family.
Create Your Own Designs!
J has since mentioned that he would like to create designs from other games such as Minecraft, Terraria, Angry Birds and his personal favourite, Bad Piggies. We may need to look at purchasing some other colours in order to be able to do this, there are however a wide range of top-up packs also available which I will be sure to add to his many stocking-fillers this year.
Pricing & Where To Buy Aquabeads
The Mario Aquabeads set is available from a wide range of stores including Argos where it currently retails for only £21.99!
Aquabeads make the ideal gift offering a huge range of sets suitable for both girls and boys, I will certainly be looking at purchasing further kits for friends and family throughout the coming year. For further information upon pricing, packs and where to buy Aquabeads visit www.aquabeadsart.com/uk
Disclosure: We were sent the above product for the purpose of this post however all opinions are that of my children and my own.