Aquabeads are very small round beads which become sticky once they have been made wet. When they're dry the glue sets and you can keep the creation you've made. The Aquabead Deluxe Set contains over 1200 solid beads. Aquabeads are great for making badges, photo frames and plaques and even 3D models such as boxes.
I'd heard about Aquabeads a long time ago but hadn't got around to trying them, plus the boxes were very pink, so I wasn't sure if my 5 and 7 year old boys would dismiss them as a 'girl thing'. Once you get past the box though, they're not really very pink at all....except for the pink ones.....
I'm not really sure why Aquabeads sets are all aimed at girlie girls. This is a basic craft set. All types of girls and boys could gain enjoyment from the Aquabeads Deluxe Set in the same way as they all like making cards or Halloween spiders. Both of my young boys were instantly keen to have a go.
Aquabeads are suitable for children aged around 4+. A shaped tray holds your beads and you are given a pipette to hold and position them, although some of us preferred using fingers. Once complete spray your design with water and the beads become sticky. Once dry remove it from the shaped tray and spray the other side to make the joints strong. When dry for the 2nd time your Aquabeads creation is complete, unless you are making a more advanced 3D model.
My 5 year old was very happy to make his penguin, and my 7 year old made some great Pokeballs and a traffic light. These were all designs they had found by Googling - Aquabeads designs are everywhere, and some of them are awesome. It's hard to credit as we couldn't find a single original source for the designs we've made.
My 15 year old daughter was really excited about Aquabeads. She has used them before so knew the instructions (which are incredibly simple) but practise makes you better at judging how much water to spray and how to turn the Aquabead creation - we had a few breakages at first because we were turning too early before it was properly dry.
The more you work with Aquabeads, the more your design ideas get in tune with the possibilities using the beads, and 8 templates are included to help you get the hang of it. There is a level of skill involved in being able to imagine a design and bring it to reality, and a real sense of achievement afterwards. Our next household challenge is a photo frame for Halloween...
I'm actually really impressed with Aquabeads. We have had a few disasters when our models have broken when we turned them, but practice makes you much better at this and leaving them longer actually helped. We've all played with them, and no-one was unhappy with what they made, or frustrated with dropping or placing the beads. The models are still fragile, but they're actually plenty strong enough to wear as a badge or use as a photo frame, and great to stick on the front of your diary.
The Aquabeads Deluxe Set has a recommended retail price of £18.99, and is available from all good toy shops and online. There are a huge amount of Aquabeads sets, and even different types of beads. You can find out more about the range and find lots of templates on the Aquabeads website.