Saturday, 12 December 2009

Paperoni - "Paper and fun rolled into one !"

Sophie (age 8) saw the TV commercials for Paperoni and told me it was on her Christmas wishlist. I, having not seen the TV commercials, had to then find something that corresponded to the description "you have long and short rolls of paper and you can cut them to the size you want and make a dog and a pig and loads of other stuff and it's got a dog on the box". Hmmm. After some online searching that came up with nothing, I eventually took her to the toyshop to show me what she meant and sure enough, she found the Paperoni kits. But she was the one who said, in actual fact, they didn't look as good in real life as on TV because she thought you could make loads and loads of different things out of one box but if you could only make one or two things, that wasn't so good. OK, scrap that idea then ? What's next on the xmas wishlist ? But when the offer came through to test a Paperoni kit, obviously I jumped at the chance. We were sent the pig kit.

I have to admit, in a number of ways, Paperoni reminds me of Hama beads - which the girls often play with - with many of the same advantages and disadvantages. As with Hama beads, you need a lot of patience to complete each design and if you accidentally knock over the box, you'll be picking little tubes of paper off the carpet for days ! Also, to really get the most out of the product, you'll have to keep buying add ons and extra kits to allow more scope for creativity and avoid boredom creeping in. The big advantage of Paperoni over Hama beads is that you don't need an iron to make it stick so there is no danger involved and kids can see the project right through to the end without mum or dad's intervention. (In my experience, Hama bead projects, especially the big ones, always get finished just as you're watching the chip pan or feeding the baby or something else that can't be left and you're always paranoid, often rightly so, that they'll get knocked over and ruined before you can get anywhere near the ironing board !) Also, as you stick the little rolls of paper on to the adhesive template as you go, if you're a bit clumsy and jog it, it's more likely to stay in one piece, unlike the Hama beads which will ping all over the floor at the slightest jolt and waste hours of work.

It's quite enjoyable but it is very fiddly, so if you want to do it properly (Sophie's a bit of a perfectionist), it can be frustrating at times. She was also slightly disappointed that, however hard she tried, she couldn't get it to look exactly the way it did on the box. The cute paper eyes and other accessories do help you get a "professional" looking result in the end though, and I love the fact that you can download extra templates and eyes to cut out on the Paperoni website.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : various priced kits available but for a rough idea,
Paperoni Studio. £19.99
Paperoni Variety Starter Pack £9.99

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