April is Crafty Parents month here at Play Pennies which means we are busy scouring the planet (well ok, the information superhighway) for clever schemes and ideas that will satisfy your little people's creative urges, and craftily (see what we did there?) buy you a little quiet time.
Paint Your Own Piggy Bank
This Paint Your Own Piggy Bank from www.gettingpersonal.co.uk is a brilliant idea. First your kidlets can get their creative juices flowing as they decorate their lpiggy bank, then you can teach them the benefits of being penny-wise by helping them learn to save. We thought you'd like that.
Everything needed to paint the Piggy Bank is included, all you need to do is add a little imagination. Inside the box you get a terracotta piggy bank, six paints, a paint brush and the instructions. It's priced at £8.95 and you can buy your own here.
So what did our reviewer think?
Nickie liked the appearance and packaging and felt the design suggestions on the box offered some good ideas to help inspire little painters. However the strip of paints were difficult to use whilst joined together.
"When we tried to open two pots, one almost spilt and the caps were quite stiff. I would recommend that they be separated in some way or, if being redesigned, then come as separate pots."
On the upside, the paint was easy to apply to the unglazed ceramic pig. "And because the paint soaked into the unglazed ceramic, it dried very quickly so there was no smudging and no waiting around to paint over the top of the original design."
Was she impressed?
"Yes! My son, who painted the pig, is 10 years old and he sat for 45 minutes creating his design and then applying the paint. This could easily be extended into an hour and a half or even longer with more kits and more children."
Nickie was also impressed with the durability of this item. "The ceramic pig appears to be very well designed and the pottery was quite thick, therefore robust. The plastic stopper underneath fitted very well but was also easily removed."
Nickie's verdict in terms of value for money is that this is fairly average as a one-off craft activity or as a present for another child. "It's not too expensive and the price suggests that it isn't cheaply made."
As for the artist in question, Nickie tells us that he enjoyed the activity and has proudly displayed the piggy bank on the shelf. All that's needed now is some money to put in it! Nickie says; "I think that if he wants it to be displayed then he is definitely very proud of what he has done."
Nickie says she would definitely buy this as a present for another child's birthday present. "It's something a little bit different and could be incorporated into a craft afternoon. However, the finished article will actually be used by my son, too."
If you want to encourage a love of all things crafty in your kids, this could be a winner, as Nickie found that the activity made my child ask for more of similar activities - painting, making actual plaster of paris models, and designing patterns.
Design Your Own T-Shirt
For older children or those with a flair for fashion, this Design Your Own T-Shirt Transfer also from www.gettingpersonal.co.uk is an innovative activity.
In addition to a large transfer measuring 21 x 15 cm, the Design Your Own T-Shirt kit includes everything you need to create your own stunning designs, including glitter crayons and a guide to the art of mirror writing.
Designs can then be transferred to a plain cotton T-Shirt of your choice. The item is priced at £4.95.
Our reviewer Salima was a bit unsure about this at first but says the real reviewer was her 3 year old and he LOVED it!
"Essentially, what your £5 is paying for with this is novelty, but I think it's worth it. My son loved the idea that he was "making" his own t-shirt and decided that this was the only t-shirt he would be wearing from now on. I've never seen him so proud!"
Salima reckons there are a few slightly annoying things about this product though. "Before you get started you have to find (or buy) a plain white t-shirt and then you've got to locate a sharpener for the crayons. Also, any wording needs to be done in mirror writing for which there is supposed to be a guide but that was missing from our pack. Each pack only comes with one transfer paper, so if you've got a few kids doing this, it does add up."
However, overall she was impressed. "For the simple fun of this it's definitely a good buy and, I think, would make a nice present - just remember to include a t-shirt!"