Monday, 10 June 2013

Hama Beads at Cuthberts

If you're looking for a non-messy craft for children then look no further than Hama Beads.

Hama Beads are incredibly simple, but very effective at the same time. The beads themselves are round plastic, with a hole through the middle, and can be arranged on a peg board to form patterns or pictures. Once the design is complete you lay a piece of the supplied ironing paper (like greaseproof paper) over the design and run a hot iron over it to fuse the beads together. This means that you can then display the completed picture or turn it into something like a drinks coaster.

Many of the peg boards are made of clear plastic so that you can lay the pattern sheet under the board to follow it easily. Separate pattern books are also available and numerous patterns are also available on the internet, with whole Pinterest boards devoted to them.

More artistic children can come up with their own Hama designs and it's relatively easy to do so. The only thing you need to remember is that if you're making a design on a board and then iron it, your finished picture will actually be the reverse of what you've put down on the pin board. Not a problem with a reversible picture, but if your design contains text you might come a bit unstuck - a lesson I learnt when making the Cuthberts logo at the top of this blog post!

There are three different sizes of Hama Beads available to suit different age ranges.
  • Maxi Hama Beads - 10mm diameter, designed for pre-school children aged approx. 2 and a half to 4 years.
  • Midi Hama Beads - 5mm diameter, ideal for children aged 5+
  • Mini Hama Beads -  2.5mm diameter, for children aged 10+
For younger children the beads really do encourage and help develop their fine motor skills and for this age range just putting the beads on the board is entertainment enough, without following a pattern. Hama Beads can also form a great part of role play and I've seen them used as food ingredients in many toddler cooked meals before. Pouring them from one container to another provides a great test of a child's dexterity through play.

I'm yet to find a child that doesn't enjoy Hama Beads and I've heard many parents say that it's been the only craft that their boisterous child has enjoyed and that has kept their interest for any period of time. Even as an adult, following a design can be incredibly relaxing after a busy day.

Hama Beads are available in Cuthberts stores in St Albans, Hatfield and Letchworth and also on their website.

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