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Crayola Colour Explosion was a quick panic buy for a present for my son's friend's 7th birthday. It caught my eye on the shelves of Tesco and was on budget of my £5 birthday present limit. (£4.99)
I think that you cannot go wrong with a creative present as most kids love to make things and even if he had already had one of these it can be there for when his other ran out.
Thankfully he had not got one.
As I had never bought one before I was a bit concerned as to what exactly it was. As you open up the shiny colourful pack that it comes in you then have a pad with the same similar design as the front of the pack which has 20 blank black pages and 2 pens with the name explosion on them with white nibs. You also get a page of stencils such as trees, animals, patterns. These are for inspiration to create a great background for your little ones great designs.
Now for the clever part. These pens when drawn onto the pages bring out the rainbow colours that are below the black pages. It does take a few seconds for the colours to appear and you don't know what colour you are going to get but that's all part of the fun.
The pens do not work on normal paper as they actually dissolve the black ink on the paper to reveal the colours underneath.
My son and his friend sat at the table with this book for about 45 minutes which is a long time for my son as he is not normally into drawing and colouring but this captured his imagination. They both sat there and were drawing on each half of the page and when that page was done they then turned over to the next. They loved using the stencils and creating patterns and writing their names.
I can remember doing the same think with colouring a rainbow of colours and then painting black over it, waiting for it to dry and then scraping off a design to reveal the colours underneath, this book is just an easier and quicker way of getting that effect.
It does state not to get the book wet as the black covering could run and you do need to wash your hands after use as the black ink on the page did come off a little bit onto their hands.
My only niggle is that they could be used up quite quickly and once they have used up all the spaces on every page then that is it so if you have a child that will just scribble on each page and be done in 5 minutes then maybe it won't be a cheap option.
I have seen this product in most supermarkets and stores like Wilkinson and WHSmith so it is widely available and I definitely recommend it. I will certainly be buying this again for when we go on holiday to keep the kids amused without having any mess.
The Colour Explosion series by Crayola is a modern twist on the classic scratch art idea. The concept is that there are all sorts of colours/patterns hidden under a layer of black ink, which is dissolved by applying the colourless liquid in the special marker pens revealing the underlying colours.
I bought a twin-pack of these, containing the Rainbow version (pictured above) along with the Neon version, which is basically the same except that the colours are a neon shade. The twin-pack contains two 20-page spiral bound tablets (both black), three sheets of stencils, five marker pens and a zip-lock bag for storage.
I read some reviews on Amazon.com before making this purchase, and I was almost put off by some of the negative reviews, which said it was too messy and difficult to work with. I have to totally disagree with those reviews. It is much better than I ever expected. Now, I have to confess, that I haven't actually given this to my son to play with yet, but I had a go at it myself and I was amazed by the results. I think it works really well. The markers dissolve the ink perfectly and it doesn't leave any mess. I did get a little black ink on my fingertips, which didn't immediately wash off but it did disappear by the end of the day nonetheless. I can imagine that very young children get a bit messy playing with this, and maybe that's why the recommended age is 6+, otherwise I think younger children will enjoy the colour explosion packs just the same, with adult supervision if necessary. The intended market for this product is most probably young girls, but I know my soon to be 5-year-old son will have lots of fun drawing with these too.
You can use the stencils to help you draw or you can use free hand designs if you like. Younger children will probably just scribble on it, but it will still have that wow factor when they see the different colours appear within a few seconds as if by magic. You can see a video of how this happens here: http://www.videojug.com/webvideo/how-to-use-crayola-color-explosion-papers
The only niggle I have with these packs is the included "storage bag", which is not more than a flimsy zip-lock bag most people use to store food in the freezer. Honestly, why bother? It would have been much better if they had made the outer packaging sturdier, maybe with a carry handle. The cheap nylon bag they included somewhat degrades the image of an otherwise good quality product.
Overall, I'm very happy with this purchase, especially that I bought it at a bargain price on eBay. I paid £4.50 including p&p for the twin pack. They normally retail at around £4.99 for a single pack, so I know that was a good deal. I will definitely buy another pack if I can find one at a similarly good price, but even the rrp seems quite good value to me. Do check the prices before you buy, as they tend to vary a lot. The Crayola Colour Explosion packs are also available in white instead of black.
My eldest daughter is rather enthusiastic and creative on the art front at the moment - let's just say that our recycling bin is a little full (I do scan her better efforts), and at home time when reception all come out I am the mum who is most "blessed" with rockets made of boxes and the like.
I bought this colour explosion set as part of a 2 for £8 offer at Asda, thinking it would be a good way for her to draw in a different way. The set is comprised of a spiral bound notebook with black pages (20 in all), 2 special pens that only work on the paper, there is also a stencil page. I thought that maybe the opportunity to draw on a black page to reveal colour patterns underneath would be a good way of encouraging her to draw in a different medium and good fun to boot.
The set came in a sealed foil pack - so would be perfect for taking on journeys or holiday. My daughter and I had a quick look at the instructions in the pack - mainly advice to avoid using the pen on other surfaces and how to use the pens, and then she started drawing. The two pens provided are black with "colour explosion" written on them and look like normal felt tips with a colourless nib.
Each black page has a different design under the black coating. This was of great interest to my daughter, the problem was that the pen takes a little bit of time to dissolve the black covering and so she couldn't draw as well as she normally would have done. She then spent most of the time just randomly scribbling to see what the pattern was rather than producing the lovely firework pictures that I had envisaged. I don't like to be too prescriptive when doing creative stuff with my child so I didn't want to stop her, but the results were quite disappointing. She did do a few stencils, but to be honest the pictures she produced weren't very inspiring and the 6 different patterns were just a bit blobby and not that great.
It might be that my daughter was just a bit too young for this item (rising 6 rather than the age 6 it is recommended for) but I thought that this was not great. Other crayola products we have tried are much, much better (the colour wonder range is great) but I don't think I would buy this again. I do remember spending hours when I was a kid doing scribbles, putting black crayon over them and scraping off to make pictures, so maybe I will try that with her, it would be cheaper and perhaps more fun. At 20p a page even on offer this was a small amount of fun at a price.
Overall I wouldn't rush out to buy this item again, though at £4 it could be a useful party gift. I think from the packaging both my daughter and I were expecting this to be a lot better than it was, it was alright but more gimmick than actual "colour explosion".
A favourite craft activity at the moment, this is quite a simple idea but has been a hit.
The activity comes in a colourful plastic pack which makes it a good one to take away and carry around- no bulky boxes, so a useful holiday activity. On the pack there are full instructions and because it is brightly coloured, it does appeal to children who want to get "stuck into" the whole craft thing.
WHAT DO WE GET?
We tear open the pack (scissors required) and inside there is a spiral bound book again with lots of bright designs on the front cover. All of the 20 pages are black, because it's onto these pages that we are going to magically draw rainbow pictures.
There are also 2 thick black pens with the word "Explosion" written clearly on them- I assume that this is so that anyone with other packs can differentiate between the pens and know what they are for. Open the tops and the thick nibs are white and can't be used on anything other than this special black paper.
As well as these, there is a page of stencils which has a perforated edge and so is easily removed from the spirals. The stencils include swirls, animals and trees, so children can use these as well as making their own grand designs.
HOW TO USE IT
On the back of the pack there are ideas for using it but Little Miss decided to give these instructions a miss and just get going. The suggestions are fairly obvious- draw a background, use a stencil, add details (yes, that's it!). The instructions are clearly shown, with one simple sentence and one diagram for each, so if children are stuck for inspiration, they should gain it quite quickly.
It was quite simple to work out what to do but when Little Miss first used the pens, she was a bit disappointed because the colour doesn't show up immediately; it only takes a few seconds for the paper to change colour. She is used to it now, and happily draws away with the time lag between putting pen to paper and the rainbow effect not bothering her at all. The effects are very colourful and when the paper is drawn on, we get random colours.
* Markers may stain some surfaces
* Wash hands after use
* Don't get the paper wet because the black coating on the paper could run.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Widely available from toy shops and supermarkets, this costs £4.99
OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
Explosion Fire and Ice
Explosion Colour Tropical
I have no doubt that we will be trying and comparing these.
For the price this is a great little pack. Little Miss has been having a great time trying out the pens and loves the fact that the colours "magically" appear. She enjoys drawing random designs and pictures and waiting to see exactly how they will turn out. As yet, after filling almost all of the book, she has not been especially interested in the stencils but has preferred drawing her own designs and pictures.
The 20 pages are sufficient, because any more and it might stat to become quite dull seeing the same colours cropping up.
For the money, this is a great art product which allows children to be creative.
Thanks for reading.
20 page black tablet with rainbow colour reveal