Sunday, 13 December 2009

Bendaroos



If we start with the manufacturer's description, "Bendaroos are magical, flexible building sticks that allow for endless creativity. They stick to paper, windows and walls and always hold their shape for moulding--with no mess. Choose from an array of 12 rainbow colours, create and recreate. Includes stencils for colouring, drawing and decorating. Build, draw, transform, decorate and more. Encourages creativity and new ways to play."
I have to say, I love them, as do the girls, both Sophie (aged 8) and Juliette (aged 4). I love them because they are so clean and mess-free - no glue, so no sticky fingers all over the walls and doors, no spillages on clothes, no gluey tangles in their hair. Absolutely no clean-up operation afterwards, which is amazingly rare when it comes to creative arts-and-crafts activities. They just ball them back up and stuff them in a box or plastic bag until next time. That also means that they are ideal as toys on the go - in the car or when out visiting friends or grandparents. The kids can play and put them away to finish off when it's time to go home because they hold their shape (as long as you don't squash them !) - no annoying "but I haven't finished yet" whining that you invariably get when they're doing puzzles or beads or anything else that will have to be broken up and started all over again if it's not finished.


The girls had two kits to test - Zoo Animals and Creepy Crawlies. As I predicted, they were more taken with the cuddly zoo animals, but the best part about Bendaroos is that you can do whatever you want with them. So they both ended up making cuddly animals rather than creepy crawlies - even if they both decided the spider looked more like a sun and was quite nice actually ! Older children will love making 3D models, but you will need quite a lot of Bendaroos to make those so you'll probably need to buy extra packs. Younger children love sticking them on paper to follow templates - there are templates included but Juliette loved using them to make the letter and number shapes I drew on paper for her. It ended up being quite educational as she had to really think hard about each letter or number then proudly tell me which one she'd done. That was really good as it's what they are doing at school at the moment. The girls also both loved making pretty multi-coloured plaits that they then made into rings or necklaces and crowns for their My Little Ponies.

My only slight criticism is that they are almost identical to a product called Wikisticks - a product that I must admit I had never heard of until the girls won a pack in a competition last year. Bendaroos have definitely benefitted from a much bigger advertising campaign so they will be the ones on every little girl's wishlist this Christmas ! The advantage of Bendaroos over Wikisticks is that they offer you much more guidance in the way of models and templates, which is handy when you're just starting out and aren't sure what to do with them.

They remind me of the furry pipecleaners that I used to play with when I was a kid so I love getting involved too and we can all happily play together for hours, either separately or all working together on one big project. It's great for little ones to learn their colours with too, as big sisters can ask little sisters to find the colour they need in the pile - a brilliant way of getting little ones involved when they're slightly too young to be able to make the models themselves.

The only time you will have to stop playing is when you've run out of inspiration, so it's a good way of getting kids to use their imagination and be creative. Oh, and also if you've dropped them on the floor so much, they're covered in dog or cat hair - you have been warned !!

star rating : 5/5

RRP : available in various sizes and prices, but to give you an idea -
Bendaroos Theme Pack £4.99
Bendaroos Activity Pack £10.00
Bendaroos Mega Pack £19.99

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