Beados Review: Fuse Beads with Water, not Heat

Developing fine motor and planning skills with Beados

My kids love creating things out of fusible beads, but we don’t do it nearly as often as they would like because it means getting the iron out and the iron is hardly my favorite household appliance (that title goes to our washing machine, followed closely by the dishwasher). When we were offered the opportunity to try out Beados, which work like fusible beads, but are bonded using water instead of heat, I knew the kids would love it – and I was right! They spent at least six hours with these, the first time I pulled them out – building projects, and planning how to use the beads we were sent. It was a beautiful six hours, because they were happily productive, and I was able to get other things done (I did have to keep an eye on Anna while she was awake, because these beads are tiny and not for young children who might put things in their mouths.

Beados designs from a 5yo, 6yo, and 8yo

We were sent a Beados Quick Dry Station (this and following links are affiliate links – thanks for supporting my blog!) as well as this theme pack. The kids put in a lot of time creating projects, both using the design cards that came with the sets and making up their own creations. We had to get creative, because these designs take a LONG time to dry (think overnight, and the quick dry station, while cute and fun to watch, doesn’t accelerate the process much) and we only had two design trays. Beados recommends not spraying more than five or six times to prevent excessively long drying times, but even this many sprays took a long time to dry (and sometimes left us with beads not sticking together). Beados does recommend flipping the bead creations and spraying the other side and then letting that dry as well to create very durable creations.

Since we only had two trays, We were able to use some of our fusible bead trays, and those worked okay, although it was harder to get the beads out once dry and those trays created water pooling issues. I wish that kits came with more design trays (the theme pack did not have any trays), or that the trays could be bought separately, and possibly in different shapes (like you find for fusible beads).

3D sculpting with Beados

One really cool thing about Beados is that, if you are careful, you can use them to create three-dimensional sculptures like the one above! They aren’t intended to be used this way, but the kids had a lot of fun with this, although there was some frustration because the beads can be sticky when wet and sometimes they stick to your fingers rather than the sculpture. Once Beados creations dry, they have a nice rubbery texture and stay together really well!

Do you have kids who would enjoy this craft? Beados is offering Beados Starter Packs to two of my US readers! I actually think this pack is the best You can enter via the Rafflecopter form below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Have you seen Beados before, or played with them? Do you have another craft that you think my kids would enjoy?

Creative Fun for Kids: Design Your Dream House

Plan Your Dream House - Fun for all ages

My kids are all about designing dream houses lately – or, I should really say, dream mansions! My siblings and I used to do this as well, although our goal was to build houses that were 100 stories high. My kids are content with sprawling mansions, but they put everything you could possibly need inside – so that you never have to leave your house (mansion). The out-of-control luxury of it all is part of the fun – nothing matches the impossible when it comes to creative fun for kids!

Child designed mansion - rainy day fun for kids

This is the current favorite mansion. The kids were drawing details for each individual room on separate sheets of paper, but I couldn’t find those when I was taking pictures for this post. While there are multiples of several rooms, we are all sleeping in one single bedroom – shown above next to the playroom, living room, kitchen, and indoor plant room.

Design your dream house - creative fun for kids

The original mansion has had a couple of wings added on. I love that each child has their own closet inside the Rock Room. You will notice that the house has at least two quiet rooms, created just for one of my kids who is particularly sensitive to noise.

Designing a house is fabulous imaginative play for kids

Wouldn’t you love a swing room? I was impressed that they thought to include a news room!

afterschool linky

2014 After School Party HOSTS

The Educators’ Spin On It
Planet Smarty Pants
Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Mama Smiles
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
The Measured Mom
This Reading Mama

It’s time to link up your elementary school aged activities! By doing so you are giving the linky hosts permission to feature your post and to pin it to our After School Activities board on Pinterest. Last week I loved this printable addition game from The Measured Mom, this Race Around the Clock game from Deceptively Educational, and these easy ways to add music to your homeschool (or afterschooling) from My Sweet Homeschool.

Creative DohVinci Fun!

Making DohVinci art
Have you heard of DohVinci? We were sent some free to try out, and while I wasn’t required to write a blog post about it, I’m sure Hasbro won’t mind that I have. DohVinci comes from the same people who brought us Play-Doh, and it’s a great new 3D art product for older kids! It feels a lot like Play-Doh, but it can be used as a glue, and dries without leaving cracks.
We were sent both the (affiliate links) DohVinci Deluxe Styler set and the DohVinci Memory Masterpiece Complete Ribbon Board Kit. Emma was very happy with all of the products, but the board kit isn’t something you will want to save for long, so my recommendation is to get the styler and make up your own projects! Emma has plans to make cards next.
Getting creative with DohVinci
Eight-year-old Emma loved playing with DohVinci so much that she made this little video clip! she has watched me review products for years now, and wanted to give it a go.

 
This is one of those kid craft materials that are super fun for moms to play with, too!

What activities are your school-aged kids enjoying this summer?

afterschool linky

2014 After School Party HOSTS

The Educators’ Spin On It
Planet Smarty Pants
Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Mama Smiles
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
The Measured Mom
This Reading Mama

It’s time to link up your elementary school aged activities! By doing so you are giving the linky hosts permission to feature your post and to pin it to our After School Activities board on Pinterest. Here are my favorites from last week!

Nurturing Creativity: Time, Space, and Respect

Let kids lead the way with creative projects

I have discovered three key ingredients for nurturing creativity – in children and adults. To be creative, we all need time, space, and respect.

Last year I bought these wooden bird houses for my kids to turn into doll houses. My kids enjoyed the activity, but they kept their houses very simple. Lily actually refused to paint hers! This year they pulled them out and added all sorts of details. Lily color blocked her roof and the edges (Lily has always loved color blocking).

Children need time and space to be creative

Emma and Johnny added all sorts of details to their already-painted houses – stripes, flowers, and other decorations. Emma wound up completely changing the color of her roof.

Time space and respect - key ingredients for creativity

I had given each of the kids blank wooden peg dolls representing the different members of our family for Christmas. They played with them blank for months, and then, this week, they pulled them out and decorated them with Sharpie pens.

Child-decorated wooden toys

Lily colored each person a different color, and gave them adorable smiles that remind me of those that are embroidered on the kids’ owie dolls.

Sharpie pen decorated peg dolls

Johnny stuck with his favorite colors – green and black. I’m pretty sure that baby is actually from Emma’s set, but it snuck into this photo somehow.

Sharpie pens make it easy to decorate peg dolls

Emma asked each family member color their particular doll. I think it is a neat idea – each family member, as we see ourselves, in this moment in time.

Give children time and space for creative expression

Then they pulled out our blocks and train set and set up a delightful play scene – which they played with all afternoon!

Children love to play with toys they made

This project never would have happened if I had ignore my children’s need for time, space, and respect. Time to get creative and find ways to entertain themselves. Time to explore different ways of decorating their people and houses. Space to decorate their houses and people however they like – including leaving them undecorated, sometimes. And respect for their ideas, their desire to change a “finished” project, and the different ways they each approached this project.

They each have a couple people who are still waiting for finishing touches, and I know that Lily at least is not done decorating her house. I am excited to see how they continue this creative journey!

Creative Summer Fun for Kids

Creative summer fun for kids

Summer is the perfect time to get creative with your kids! You can follow a morning at the park or pool with a quiet afternoon of crafting. A quiet, creative afternoon with your kids a wonderful parent-child bonding opportunity, as well as a chance for children to develop new skills and discover new interests, all while practicing self-expression! This summer there are three great new books that are all about creativity for kids! I’ve read through all three and am reviewing them here today in hopes that they can inspire to you make time for some creative summer fun for kids!

Links to these books are affiliate links, and making any purchase through them may earn me a small commission. Thank you for supporting this site! I received review copies of Tinkerlab and 101 Kids Activities, but all opinions are my own. Mike brought Project Kid home from the library because he recognized it as my kind of book.

Books that Promote Creative Summer Fun for Kids

Rachelle Doorley’s Tinkerlab: A Hands-On Guide for Little Inventors is geared for children aged 6 and under, but my eight-year-old would enjoy all or nearly all of the activities in this book! Tinkerlab is a parenting/teaching guide as much as a craft book, with a lot of space dedicated to discussions of why kids are natural tinkerers who experiment, explore, test, and play – learning a great deal in the process! If you want to learn why designing, building, concocting, and discovering is important for your child, this is the book for you! I love the abundance of open-ended activities in this book, since it allows children to take an idea and run with it, and also leaves a lot of room for families to adapt activities to meet their particular interests and needs. Tinkerlab includes several creative science activities – a great reminder that art and science are closely connected!

Holly Homer and Rachel Miller’s 101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! lives up to its title! This book boasts 101 colorful, engaging activities for children of all ages. These activities are beautifully photographed, and my kids have spent a lot of time thumbing through the pages, searching for activities. I appreciate that the activities in this book range from simple enough for my toddler to complex enough to engage my eight-year-old, with several that all four of my kids find intriguing. Most of the activities are quick and easy, with minimal prep and little clean-up. Activities do range from zero mess (pipe cleaner disguises) to delightfully messy (toe painting!), so there is something for everyone! Several of the more structured crafts double as games, which I always like!

I found Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun by Amanda Klingoff to be the most “concrete craft project” oriented of the three books. Most of the activities in this book are geared towards producing a pretty specific outcome, although there is always room for personalization. I read a lot of craft books, and this one had several ideas I had never seen anywhere else that I thought were quite clever. Because many of these crafts are quite complex, I recommend this book for children aged 8 and up, but there are activities in the book that are accessible to younger children.

Are you planning any creative family fun for this summer?

afterschool linky

2014 After School Party HOSTS

The Educators’ Spin On It
Planet Smarty Pants
Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Mama Smiles
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
The Measured Mom
This Reading Mama
What Do We Do All Day

I adore play dough, so of course I loved this play dough house for a hermit crab activity from 3 Dinosaurs ! I also thought that this geoboard constellations activity from School Time Snippets was very clever, and I plan to bring this Triangle to Squares Take-a-Long Game from Deceptively Educational on our upcoming trip.

Please share your elementary school aged activities in the linky below. By doing so you are giving the linky hosts permission to feature your post and to pin it to our After School Activities board on Pinterest.