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
"This is a toy which involves placing specially-shaped beads on…"
This is a toy which involves placing specially-shaped beads on specially-designed shaped pegboards and once the pegboard is filled up, the child's creation can then be made permanent by pressing an iron on top of the beads on the pegboard, with a layer of thin tracing paper to shield the iron from the melting plastic beads during the ironing process.
The beads are available in a very wide range of colours and in 3 different sizes : Maxi (recommended for 3 years and above), Midi (recommended for 5+ years old and above), and Mini (recommended for 10+ years old and above).
The pegboards that you have to use with the beads are available in a wide range of shapes. The toy is normally sold as pre-packaged sets which include selected pegboards and bead colours and these sets can be purchased from most major toy retailers like Toys R'Us and online from big shops like Amazon.co.uk and smaller online private retailers as well as Ebay.
You can also buy the beads and the pegboards separately online or from shops as well, rather than buying the pre-packaged playsets.
My two daughters aged 4 and 8 both derive great joy from playing with these beads. I originally had bought the Midi beads (recommended for age 5+ and older) set for my older daughter but my 4 year old daughter has had no trouble using them from the age of 3.5 and has never been a child who likes stuffing her mouth with non-food objects after she stopped teething, so I had been letting them play with the beads together without my supervision. But the small size of the beads do present the risk of choking so it is really up to the parents' discretion as to whether its necessary to supervise their children when they play with this, especially if their children's ages are below the product manufacturer's recommended age limit.
To date my daughters have both created at least 20 items from this one playset we bought from Toys R'Us.
Its a quiet activity and teaches hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills as well as fostering creative play. Children quickly grasp the hang of it and if they like this sort of activity, can easily spend a good 20 minutes or more on one project totally engrossed in it. If the children in question are sensible with the beads, they can often be left to get on with it without much help or support from parents, which gives us parents some time to ourselves for other things!
Its also quite reasonably priced at about £10 for a playset which comes with 4000+ beads and 2 or 3 pegboards included.
The only disadvantages I can think of for these beads is that it can be a bit of a hassle to clean up if your child accidentally spills some over as the midi beads are quite small and the mini beads are even tinier and quite often, try as we might to pick up as many spilled beads as we can see with our eyes, we'd often miss out at least 2 and they get sucked up into the vacuum cleaner when the room is being cleaned! Also the items created don't tend to last very well if they are being played with on a constant basis (unless you take great care and sensitivity in handling them!). We have often resorted to ironing the creations on both sides rather than on just the one side recommended by the manufacturer and this has resulted in a much stronger product which can withstand more battering from the children but it will still break if the child actually tries to bend the creation. So all in all, I don't think Hama Beads were made for the creation of really permanent long-lasting items for the children to play with, but they are great fun and serve their purpose.Read moreLess
4 people found this review helpful.
"I bought these for my niece and she has had…"
I bought these for my niece and she has had hours of fun with them .Read moreLess