Recently we were asked if we’d like to review the Beados Quick Dry Design Station. In the past Louis and I have had a lot of fun with Hama Beads but Rowan found them to be a bit fiddly, so I thought he might like to try this.
The Design Station kit from Character includes 500 beads, 1 quick dry design station, 1 tweezer pen, 2 bead trays, 1 water sprayer, 6 design templates, 2 suction cups, 1 display stand, 1 connector bead, 1 storage tray and an instruction booklet.
At 30cm high and 35cm wide its not so big that it’ll take over your dining table, but it is big enough to be easily managed by little hands. It’s simple enough to put together, even for small people, though the beads are quite small and the tweezers take some getting used to.
The design station aims to encourage creativity and imagination, patience, a child’s sense of achievement, fine motor skills and dexterity. Accessories are made of chunky plastic made to withstand a fall from the kitchen table, just in case of any accidents.
Once you’ve arranged the beads onto the tray, spray it with water. Then leave it under the fan on the design studio until it’s dry. The recommended time on the instructions says to leave the design to dry for at least ten minutes. Rowan got a bit trigger happy with the water spray though and our design took about forty minutes to dry completely.
If opened carefully the box can be reused when its time to pack the station away. The design studio can be stored back in box. Very simple assembly but will need resealable bags for beads once opened.
Primarily the aim is to make 2D models of whatever you like. I found the templates to be very helpful and I’m sure that once we’ve done all of those we’ll have a much better idea about how to start designing our own and get decent results. The extra bits and pieces in the kit enable children to do something a little bit differen, like using suction cups to make decorations for windows, or maybe threading string through the designs at Christmas to hang on the tree.
I’d say this was an activity that takes anything upwards of 15 minutes to complete, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see smaller children may leave and revisit or lose interest altogether if they’re not used to concentrating for any length of time. Rowan did stick with it but I was sat with him the entire time. I could leave Louis, who is seven, to do this by himself without any problems.
By the way, I know it looks like a horse to us, but I have it on very good authority that we actually made a unicorn. Without the horn. Anyone with a four year old will agree that this matter is not one worth debating, so I just agreed and we all moved on.
The Beados Design Studio is available from most toy shops and has an RRP of £19.99
Two suggestions I would make if Beados were looking to improve this product would be to provide resealable bags for the beads or some sort of storage container for them, and to maybe create a version of this for younger children (4-5yrs maybe) which has bigger beads.