Bought the IKEA version for DS, aged 4, and he loves them. I've started supplementing with the proper Hama ones and I can see a difference - the melting point is different, so mixing them might mean a rather uneven finish, and the Hama ones definitely meld together better than the Ikea ones, which can also be rather brittle when melted. Ikea ones are also fractionally thinner walled, which makes them a bit harder to keep on the board. Watch out for over-ironing, as it's possible to melt the pegs onto the beads, and then you'll need something very fine and pokey (a thin crochet hook works) to lever them off! On the whole, we love them, and I've found myself sitting down after DS1 has gone to bed and having a little play. DS2 (2.1) is very interested too, so have ordered him some toddler-sized ones.Read moreLess
"Great for both boys and girls…"
my kids, boys and girls, have enjoyed hama beads (or Ikea equivalent) for a number of years. They are a great rainy day activity for ages 5+ and I have found that the best way to deal with the large number of 'creations' is to string them up as christmas tree decorations. They work remarkably well as the fairy lights shine through a little (and the best bit is you can pack them away in a box in the loft for most of the year). Also worth knowing that they kinda disintegrate if left in strong sunlight - the bonds go brittle and they break up easily.Read moreLess