ToysBulletin.com reviews a creative playset from International Playthings LLC.
“Aquabeads,” originally developed in Japan, are multi-colored small beads that when pushed together form unique and clever designs, all with the help of a little water. There are numerous playsets available, each very simple to use, and a perfect match for children ages 4 and up. Best of all, there is no mixing or messy parts needed when using this colorful toy.
The playsets include special layout trays with templates to guide the designs. Kids simply arrange the beads using a template, spray with water (sprayer enclosed), let it dry and presto you have a creation. Somehow the water magically makes the beads stick together. Another nice feature is the templates can be used again and again. The possibilities are endless when you can choose from so many different playsets, and even purchase bead refill packs. The sets are very affordable, generally costing no more than $19.95, with refill packs going for $7.99.
One of the latest playsets features the Disney “Frozen” movie theme, which includes many of the fun characters from the hit film. The Toys Bulletin staff play tested this particular set and had loads of fun, with all of the creations easy to make. The set included more than 800 jewel and solid beads (18 different colors) which are more than enough to make all the characters again and again. We were especially pleased to see that the retail price of this set was just $14.99. There is also a colorful “Aquabeads” website (we recommend perusing if you want more information on the various sets available) that actually provides videos should parents want to see more details about a specific set. The website also provides lots of hints and tips, which can be very helpful. The biggest concern relates to “what do you do if the design comes apart?” The answer is simple–just spray it again. What could be easier?
Developmentally, these playsets will improve a child’s fine motor skills and if younger children have any problems, there is a “magic” wand included in each set to help with handling the beads. An older child can also get creative and design their own templates. The Toys Bulletin staff (all adults, but acting like children) had lots of fun with this project, feeling very satisfied after creating their own Anna and Elsa. We even made a magnet for our office refrigerator.
Lastly, we want to mention that “Aquabeads” are made up of non-toxic water-soluble synthetic polymers. There are no ingredients that are harmful to the health of adults or children. The “Aquabeads” playsets are available directly from the International Playthings website.