Monday, 13 May 2013

PlayFoam - Mess Free Messy play!


PlayFoam, Mess Free Playdough, Educational toys
















I'll come out clean. I can't stand messy play, and because of that, we hardly do any messy art and craft at home (including painting, glitters sticking, etc) or play with play dough or moon sand. The mess makes me nervous and fussy. But seems like I'm not the only one who's bothered by it, because there are all these clever mess free products out there, including Learning Resources' PlayFoam for parents like me! Now Abby can freely mould and play at home without me hovering over her like a hawk!


PlayFoam, Mess Free Playdough, Educational toys


PlayFoam (for 3 years +)  are made of foam beads that sticks together. Like play dough, they don't stick to the hands, but they also don't stick to clothes, furniture or carpets (however they do catch a bit of dust from them)! You can absolutely play with PlayFoam without an apron or splashmat. They are also non-toxic, so they are safe for children to play. It's almost worry free for the parents, apart from those who have younger children at home. They are very colourful and looks just like sweets sticking together, so young children might be tempted to eat them.

When I opened up the packet, I thought that the PlayFoam pods would smell like plastic, but they don't! They don't smell of anything really, I think it would be nice to introduce a fragrance range, but that would just be a bonus!


PlayFoam, Mess Free Playdough, Educational toys











Another thing I'm not keen about play dough is that the colour mixes. They have a wide range of colours so colour mixing is unnecessary, but once you stick 2 colours together, you can't separate it without a part of it getting chucked in the bin. PlayFoam however, doesn't mix. You can attach a brown ear to a white body of a puppy, and you can be sure that they can be separated at the end of play. Or, you can mix 2 or more colours together to create some beautiful multicoloured shades without them looking like muddy swampy colour at the end! 


PlayFoam, Mess Free Playdough, Educational toys
















The fact that the colours can be separated to the last foam bead means that you can store them all in the same container or plastic bag too! As they don't dry, I didn't even bother with sealing the plastic bag, it's just to keep things together and keep them away from Clay.


PlayFoam, Mess Free Playdough, Educational toys

PlayFoam, Mess Free Playdough, Educational toys













Abby had great fun playing with the PlayFoam, even the OCD-can't-stand-messy-play me couldn't resist playing with them! Abby loved mixing the colours and that she didn't get told to be careful every 5 minutes!


PlayFoam, Mess Free Playdough, Educational toys
















As Playfoam are sticky beads stuck together, they work differently than playdough. Instead of kneading, you compress the beads together. A compressed shape can easily fall apart if you poke into it with a finger (see above picture). 

To make a shape, for example, a flower petal, you take a 'piece' of PlayFoam, loosen it up, then without pressing them together, gently roll it into a ball (it's harder to roll them into a round ball if it's compressed), slowly pressing the beads together. (I probably didn't have to roll it up into a ball first, it's done out of habit) When you shape it into a tear drop shape, part of the beads will come loose, so you need to keep pressing them back.

A tighter shape will look neater, last longer and can be picked up easily without it falling apart or changing shape. It sounds a bit more complicated for children, but it's about getting used to how it works really. Kids are fast learners and they probably can figure most of it out themselves.


PlayFoam, Mess Free Playdough, Educational toys
Left: original   Right: Sparkle












PlayFoam comes in Original, Sparkle and Glow in the Dark pods or bricks. The PlayFoam Combo 8 pack (rrp £9.00) contains 4 originals and 4 sparkles in beautiful and attractive colours, and you can buy them from Learning Resources' online shop now.

For a chance to win one of their PlayFoam Combo 8 pack, simply Like their Facebook page and enter your details on the form.


Disclosure: We were sent the above PlayFoam to try and review through Blog-Match.com; all opinions are honest and our own