For a while now I've been wanting to do more posts with Ethan, some more reviews and the likes, I miss when he used to have a bigger focus on the blog. As such when we were given the chance to review the Meadow Kids Mini Stencils set from Great Gizmos I thought it'd be a great way to get him involved, again, and find something nice to do together.
The set comes in a really fun box which has great examples of many of the stencils that are included. The set is available here: http://www.greatgizmos.co.uk/meadow-kids-mini-stencils.html and comes in at an affordable £11.95 which makes it a great gift idea for your own little ones, family or even if you've got a school birthday party to get a gift for.
I really like how the set is stored, rather than a normal box this comes with two drawers in the side which mean it's really easy to get to the various bits and pieces, as well as making it more fun for children.
In the top drawer you get five crayons, in basic colours, a pencil sharpener and a little 'Design Sheet' booklet which contains blank pages for practising stencils and putting together designs before putting them on to the cards.
The set doesn't lack in those little details that show great quality, rather than just blank pages these are adorned with a border of animals which, again, are examples of the stencils from the set.
The bottom drawer contains the book of stencils as well as blank cards and envelopes. It's only got a few of each of the blank pieces, but these are easy enough to re-purchase from stationery stores, or you could make your own with stock card.
The stencils are stored in a really clever way - As you can see, to the left, they have little tabs which hold them in the book via the wire binding. This means that you can take them in and out to make it easier to use them but they can be used whilst still in the book too.
Inside the stencil booklet you'll, also, find a page of all of the different stencil pages which helps to work out which colour page that you're looking for.
We did some practices in the book before going on to card, Ethan's not done stencils before and, so, needed to have some tries before we decided what his first card was going to look like. He's not got a very long concentration when it comes to colouring but he does like to do it in bits and bobs, so this is a great way for him to have something to show for his time, but not spend too much time doing it.
I did the tick, to show him how to do it, and then he did a heart and an arrow - He learned really quickly, though, as you'll see when you see our finished card, his next attempts were much neater. It was a challenge for him to get used to holding the stencil down, but he picked it up really well.
Initially Ethan wanted to do a whale, on his card, but I persuaded him that it was a bit big when he hadn't had much practice so we settled on a squirrel, a cat, a heart and a star. The squirrel and cat were a bit fiddly so I helped him hold down the stencils and the heart and star were nice and simple.
I think he did really well - The squirrel and cat, although not quite fully defined, are really noticeable as what they are and the heart and star came out really really well. We left a big gap in the middle for some letters; they were a little fiddly for Ethan, and he had had his fill of colouring by that point, so I used the letter stencils to do them. Sadly I can't show you as there's a small chance that the people who the card is for will see the blog, and I want it to be a surprise (very small chance, but I don't want to risk ruining the surprise).
I really like this set, the range of stencils is great and the storage and layout of everything makes it that little bit more special. The only issue we did have was that the crayons that came with the set were ok on normal paper but didn't show up very well on the shinier card, but once we got out some of our own crayons that wasn't a problem at all. With Father's day coming up, very soon, this would be a lovely way to get your little one to help out with making something lovely for their Dad or Grandad, or if not then for birthdays and Christmas. A lovely set indeed.