Fat Brain Hey Clay Kits
(Fat Brain $14.95—$19.95 )
Step by step demo videos on an app set these clay modeling kits apart from most. We tested the Dino kit and the Eco Cars set. Both come with a generous supply of bright self-hardening colored clay, each color in its own snap top container. The material is smoother than play-dough, more like a non-sticky, smooth clay that is pleasant to handle. Included as well are a few tools and in the case of the autos, several wheeled bases are included (more about them later.) No audio is needed once the app is downloaded to your phone or i-pad. Choose your set and let the fun begin. The demos go fast, but are easy to stop and start (We suggest the need for your mobile phone makes this a parent-child project.) The video demo-ing how to shape the parts of each pictured item makes this heavily structured activity, different from our usual preference for open-ended discovery and experimentation. There’s nothing that says they must use the clay this way with video directions. There’s enough clay for free time exploration, but itf they mix the colors up the video activities will be harder to follow. Much as we prefer open-ended creative play, we need to remember that there comes a time when kids do want some instruction and the shapes here give kids some models for how to get some similar, if not exacting results. About the wheel platform: We were disappointed that the vehicle does not exactly bond with the wheels and stay put. Maybe a dab of glue would help. Bottom line: the directions are user friendly and not beyond the ability of early school kids who like more directed experiences. The older they get the more they want some end results that are recognizable and these kits give them some ideas and relatively simple directions for making that happen. The material comes with warning to be sure to wash after use and before eating. That’s just be good advice after using any modeling or craft kits. Marked 6 and up. We think 8s and 9s will enjoy these even more and have better results.
Ages: Early School
Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award 2023