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
"These are awesome. Except when you knock the tray over…"
These are awesome. Except when you knock the tray over and have to pick them out of the cracks in the floorboards.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"My duaghter was first bought some Hama Beads when she…"
My duaghter was first bought some Hama Beads when she was 3 1/2 and stuck at home with chicken pox. What a life-saver! They kept her amused for hours, and have provided lots of fun ever since. I've found that the boys enjoy them just as much as the girls, and they're quite easy for little fingers.Read moreLess
"Great, but watch out for tears when they all fall…"
Great, but watch out for tears when they all fall off en route to the iron!Read moreLess
"I bought these for my 5yr old boy and he…"
I bought these for my 5yr old boy and he absolutely loves them, surprising as its usually tricky to keep him still to do anything creative.Read moreLess
"my 8 yr old daughter and 9 yr old son…"
my 8 yr old daughter and 9 yr old son both love hama beads they can copy the patterns in the kits or make their own designs its a great fun and easy activity for boys and girlsRead moreLess
"dd 5 loves these (and so do i)! keeps us…"
dd 5 loves these (and so do i)!
keeps us both quiet for hours and produces great results.
i would start with the simple shape kits then move on to pirate/princess and other kits with more complex patterns to follow
(ours came with detailed ironing insructions re setting and time for the ifferent sizes, we've had no probs with ironing them)Read moreLess
"These are great fun and keep children occupied for hours.…"
These are great fun and keep children occupied for hours. My boys particularly like making Christmas tree decorations using the glow-in-the-dark beads. My top tip for these is: always work on a tray with a big rim to prevent beads being scattered around the whole house!Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"brilliant - well done to whoever thought of this. Fantastic…"
brilliant - well done to whoever thought of this. Fantastic to keep little fingers busy for ages making gifts and being creativeRead moreLess
"We really like Hama beads in our household and we…"
We really like Hama beads in our household and we make our own pictures whilst sitting together.Read moreLess
"Great product for children who like to sit and focus…"
Great product for children who like to sit and focus on a project. My eldest daughter (9) has had these for a number of years and loves desiging different items or following the patterns to make animals etc. My youngest daughter (4) uses the jumbo Hama beads but would love to do more creative things which you can with the smaller beads. Ironing the beads can sometimes be difficult but once you get the knack its OK. I iron both sides to make the finished product stronger. Would recommend.Read moreLess
"Fantastic. My 3 and 5 year old love them. Either…"
Fantastic. My 3 and 5 year old love them. Either following the shapes or making their own patterns its a blissful 5 minutes or longer for me! However be prepared to chase rouge beads!! Much easier to tidy up than other arts and craft and make excellent grandparent gifts.Read moreLess
"this is excellent for several children to play with together…"
this is excellent for several children to play with together as it can help develop skills of concentration and co operation whilst being a fun and very satisfying activity for the children to complete. my own daughter has this at home and loves making patterns on it . i have also used it at the school where i work for design and make tasks and the results have been brilliant . highly recommended.Read moreLess
"My normally hyper, attention demanding children will sit for hours…"
My normally hyper, attention demanding children will sit for hours and play with these. I have to say that on occasion we have sat down as a family (hubby included) and made things with them and at the price of them and how easy they are to replace they are an excellent product. We love them.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"I love these. Me and my daughter sit for hours…"
I love these. Me and my daughter sit for hours making things. The only problem I find is that if you buy lots of different types they do not iron well together :-(Read moreLess
"DS got these age 5, and still loves them age…"
DS got these age 5, and still loves them age 6. They are much better than aqua beads as the results are neater and much quicker to set. You need to iron one or two designs before you get the hang of melting them evenly, but then as soonn as they've cooled the children get to play with them. Aqua beads are set with water and take AGES to dry.Read moreLess
"I wasn't that impressed with Hama beads. DD1 got some…"
I wasn't that impressed with Hama beads. DD1 got some for her 7th birthday, she was really pleased as she had been wanting them for ages, she enjoyed following the picture and they did keep her quiet for ages, but when I came to iron them I managed to melt some of the beads too much and others just wouldn't mould together.Read moreLess
"My seven year old daughter has been into Hama beads…"
My seven year old daughter has been into Hama beads for over a year now. They are great for concentration - particularly if you are following one of their designs and also she enjoys creating her own designs. The end product looks great and the beads are, thankfully, kept together in a sturdy box. Great for younger children too because it's so easy to get good results.Read moreLess
1 person found this review helpful.
"My normally hyper child sat quietly for hours making things…"
My normally hyper child sat quietly for hours making things with this toy. I'm very pleased with the product at such a low price.Read moreLess