When the people over at Aqua Beads said they’d be happy to work with me I was over the moon – Ethan and I haven’t been reviewing toys/children’s things on here as much as we used to and what better way to get back in to it than with something as fun, and creative as these.
We were sent the Jewel Starter Kit (which retails for about £10.99) which, as the name states, is a great set to begin with – Some of the bigger sets come with fancy self loading pens (The ‘Power Pen’) or tonnes of designs but if you’re not sure whether or not these will be a hit with your little one then it’s best to start with something simple.
Unlike the original Aqua Beads sets, this set comes with faceted, transparent beads which really do have a very jewelled look and look beautiful with the light shining through them.
The set comes with everything you see above, I’d list it but you can see it, really – The beads come in 8 colours but you may get a varying amount of each shade (which we did) – You’ll have more than enough for quite a few creations, though! Daddy used up a lot of Ethan’s making him a custom creation and there’s still plenty left.
You can see the custom creation just here – Oh yes, a rather large Pikachu! All the hours of building things on Minecraft really became helpful when it came to this; are you impressed?! The red beads have shown up as more orange in the picture – As you can see we got more red than any other colour.
Our only quarrel with the set is that it comes with the tub to put the beads in but there’s no lid for it and the bags aren’t resealable. We’ll find a way to store them but it would’ve been nice to just have another bit of plastic to slip over the top and keep them in safely – But as far as quarrels go, that’s hardly a big one!
When Ethan saw Pikachu he was, absolutely, ecstatic. He couldn’t believe that Daddy had made it and he sat looking at it, like this, for a long time. What can I say? The child loves his Pokemon!
Ethan wanted to do something big and intricate but I decided he should do something simpler, to begin with, so we went for the rainbow – At least the colours go in lines rather than being a big jumble as some of them are. The templates will slide around a little but as long as you line them up properly you’ll be ok, and they’re easy to slip back in to place when they do veer off a little.
These are all of our beads in the tubs, though this is after Azii had used some of the yellow, blue and brown to make Pikachu. As you can see we didn’t get the same amounts of all of them but the red and orange are very similar so I’m sure we could substitute red for orange if we needed to.
Ethan’s only four and a half so he did need some help to begin with, his fine motor skills are ok but not great. But after some help he got the idea and could do some of it on his own; though still needed help when he put one in the wrong place. This is a toy that littler children will need supervision with, without a doubt, but there’s nothing wrong with that!
As you can see he made good use of ‘froggy legs’, which he learned at school, when he was holding the pen. He struggled to get the beads in at first but, again, with a bit of practice he got much better and he did really well – Towards the end he needed very little help and I was very impressed.
You can see his concentrating face whilst he sprayed, the squirter was a little tough but he wanted to give it a go. In the end he did a couple and then I did a couple but that was fine with me – We waited for it to dry and then we turned it over and sprayed the other side. We had absolutely no problems with the rainbow sticking but Pikachu took a few extra goes at re-spraying as he was such an odd shape – Obviously when it comes to the templates the company has made them in a way that gives them a better structure for sticking.
Obviously once they’re done you need to leave them to dry for an hour, and then we turned it and did the other side as we did with Pikachu – So this isn’t the sort of thing where you can do one after the other very easily. Ethan’s not good with patience but he did ok, really.
He really enjoyed using them and keeps asking to do more – He loves his rainbow and Pikachu though we’ve explained he needs to be careful with them. I’ve spoken to Ethan’s cousin, who’s 11 and a half, and she used to have these a couple of years ago – Some of them haven’t lasted forever but she still has some that she’s made that have still lasted which I think it really impressive. If Ethan’s last two years then we’ll be happy! Hers were, though, the normal rounded bead type so I’m not sure if that makes a difference – But Ethan’s rainbow, at least, feels really sturdy so fingers crossed he’ll be able to mess around with it for plenty more time.
These are fiddly and will take some time for younger children to learn, but they’re great for helping with fine motor skills and fantastic for creativity! They were a definite hit for us – Ethan hasn’t made any more, yet, as I want to make them last, but we’re going to do a turtle next I think!
This post contains PR samples – Please see my disclaimer here