Sunday, 6 March 2011

Playing with PlayMais!

When we were offered a bucket of PlayMais to review, Tiny Tester Kizzy couldn't wait to get her hands on it!  She loves arts and crafts!  Usually, this equates to her ending up to her neck in glue, cardboard, sellotape, loo roll tubes, paints, tissue paper and felt tips, but having no real direction as to what to make. She tries to replicate what she sees Mister Maker knock up, but it never really works and we end up with some soggy lump of sticky goo which we admire for a couple of days before making a gift of it to the bin men!

When the big bucket of PlayMais arrived I was impressed to find out that it was 100% bio-degradable, completely harmless, made from non-modified maize and coloured with non-toxic food dyes. So it is safe for both my children and the planet!  The pieces stick together with water so you need no glue or sticky tape to make a model. The pack contained 500 pieces along with an absorbent cloth and a bio-degradable modelling tool.  The pieces can be easily cut, rolled or torn into shapes before sticking together with a tiny drop of water.  The natural starch content of the maize makes a glue when it comes into contact with water on the moist cloth.

We made the decision not to let Freddy lose with the PlayMais today.  Although I'm sure he would have loved to have played with it, he also would have thrown it, eaten it and generally smooshed it up.  I know it would be harmless, and that the dyes are washable from clothing at 30 degrees, but I thought Kizzy would have much more fun playing without her toddler brother interfering!   So while he enjoyed a film with his Daddy, me and Kizzy got stuck into the PlayMais.

Kizzy loved the colourful bricks and thought they "looked, felt and smelt like Wotsits!"  She quickly got to grips with cutting pieces to size and using just a touch of water from the damp cloth to stick them together.

The instruction leaflet had lots of ideas for different things to make and she diligently cut and stuck to make a range of animals, people, plants and bugs.  The pieces are easy to manipulate into whatever shape you can imagine.

It was so simple to make things without worrying about glueing or waiting for it to dry. The pieces stuck together instantly which meant Kizzy could create whatever she liked quickly and simply, which was very satisfying for her.  She let her imagination run wild and created her own little world of PlayMais characters.  PlayMais can be as simple or complex as you want it to be.  At 8, Kizzy was able to mould the pieces to create what she wanted to make.  It gave her a real sense of accomplishment (unlike when trying to emulate Mister Maker and his unachievable 30 second makes!!)

Here is a video of her demonstrating how to make a PlayMais person and showing some of her finished models!
She really did love it and it was nice to be able to compost the offcuts knowing they are completely bio-degradable.  We had no trouble with running dye as she was old enough to understand about not using too much water.  There was no mess on her hands, clothes or the table after we had finished playing.  As far as I am concerned, it is an excellent arts and crafts was not too messy, it was quick and easy, it didn't frustrate her because it did exactly what she wanted it to do and the waste can be disposed off into the compost bin. The bucket keeps it all contained and stores it away nicely. It's eco-friendly, green, versatile and a lot of fun!

She made a little film using some of the characters we made.  It really fired her imagination!

PlayMais originates from Germany where it is an award winning favourite.  It is now taking the UK by storm. It is available from John Lewis, Amazon and from good toy shops.  Prices start at just £2.99 for a small themed kit.  It is recommended for ages 3 and up, but really does become as complex as your child's needs.
I give it a big thumbs up...I really can't fault it!


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