Reviewed by Sandip Stapleton
Aquabeads Finding Dory Playset
My daughter is 5 and uses Perler/Hama fuse beads all the time so I was really excited to use this Aquabeads Finding Dory Playset (RRP: £19.99) as it meant we wouldn’t have to keep getting the iron out which, quite frankly always make me a bit nervous when there are kids around.
The first bonus of this kit is the fact that it has its own storage container for all of the beads. Great for taking with us to Grandmas for the weekend!
The pen is a handy feature as you can load it up with beads and then push them onto the plastic board. We do not have this with our fuse beads so it was nice to see another method of putting the beads down. My daughter used the pen but also picked the beads up with her fingers as that was what she was used to with her fuse beads. I much preferred the pen for precision.
Once you’ve put the template behind the plastic plate, you place the desired coloured bead onto your design and watch as the picture is completed.
Because we are used to the fuse beads, we iron our completed pieces but Aquabeads is very kid friendly in that it used water to hold the beads together. You have to make sure you don’t get it too wet as it takes a while to dry which is the downside of this type of bead kit but anything that cuts out the ironing step is a plus in my eyes. I think in future we may get a little spray bottle so that we coat the pieces in water that way as it will be more evenly distributed and cut down the drying time as the dropper isn’t the best design and gets it a bit too wet in my opinion.
Aquabeads kept my daughter completely occupied and engaged for a really good amount of time which meant I had time to take a step back and do my own chores/playing with my son etc.
My daughter has just turned 5 but I think this would be suitable for a 4 year old. Any younger than 4 and it would be too fiddly for them and get them quite frustrated.
All in all, she enjoyed using this kit and I think we will be looking to get more beads so that she can use this kit again but with her own designs rather than just the 3 Dory ones included in the set.
It’s a great toy!
Sylvanian Families Seaside Ice Cream Shop
You get one character with this set who is called the Striped Cat Mother. She is a cute little character.
The set is also connectable to other Sylvanian sets to create your own little seaside/Sylvanian world. Great for imagination play. I’m not sure if it is aimed at boys or girls but I think both of my kids would be happy to play with this.
The pieces have great attention to detail even with shapes of fruit imprinted on the back of the set too. The yellow trim on the top is nice and bright, as is the fencing round the front and the colour of the ice creams.
There are quite a few pieces to play with and the scooping of ice-cream onto the cornets is quite fun for the kids to do, if not a bit fiddly. My daughter liked to guess the flavours of each of the colours and then stack them onto the cornets to make huge ice creams.
There are some small pieces in the kit so you would have to be mindful of any smaller children around.
To get the full imagination play going, you would probably need a few characters to act as ‘customers’ but it is a great little set to play with. It’s no wonder the Sylvanian Families have been around for so long.
Miffy Activity Cube
We were sent the Miffy soft activity cube (RRP: £19.99) to review but unfortunately it was a bit of a young toy for my very nearly 2 year old son who just used it as a football. It is a lovely soft cube with a different picture on each side. It also has a bell in the middle with jingles when the cube is moved round, or used as a football as it was in my house. There are various pictures of Miffy, bears and ducks. One side has a mirror but there are no loose bits or hard areas so I would say this is suitable from birth. It is a nice big size so would be easy for babies to hold and grab from quite early on. It is very pink so definitely aimed for baby girls. I’m not sure how easy it would be to keep clean after babies have been chewing on it but I’m guessing it is a hand wash item It is lovely toy but it is a shame there weren’t a few more differences in textures for