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Comes with 4 pens, two are the same colour. They go through the paper as they are quite wet. That's if you can get the frames inside the device. I struggled - my 4 year old had no hope. One of the frames is buckled so won't fit anyway Absolute rubbish - ELC should be ashamed
I bought this for my 3 year old daughter for Christmas (the advised age range is 3 to 10 years) as I remembered having something very similar as a child and loving it. The box contains the main piece that the templates sit in, a red template in 2 halves, a blue template in 2 halves and a green template. The blue template is an oval shape, the red template is a circular shape and the green template is curved, half the red and half the blue can be placed together to make a different shape. There are 6 dials come in with it, each of the templates and each of the dials have cog teeth that sit within each other to allow the system to work. The box also contained 5 different coloured thin nibbed pens and 20 pieces of paper although these were bent which does not help when getting the system to sit on it. The three templates also have some shapes around the outside that the child can colour through. The idea of this system is really good and has really advanced since I was a child however I don't think it is suitable for a 3 year old. My daughter is unable to line the cog teeth up by herself to fit he template and even if that is done for her and balanced on the bent paper she then can't keep the teeth of the dials within the teeth of the template and it is very hard to manipulate a childs hand enough to help with it. It's a great system but we have put it away to try again in a year or so.
It was recently my daughter's 4th birthday and as she seems to have been showing some great artistic tendencies, I was on the look out for something which was very arty and she would enjoy. I stumbled across Spiral Art in the Early Learning Centre and was immediately reminded of Spirograph which I knew and loved as a child! As the age range was between three and ten years I decided that she would have to have it! The Spiral Art kit comes in a reasonably sized box and contains 1 outer frame, five inner frames, four felt pens, six cogs, twenty sheets of paper and, most important of all, a set of instructions! The frames are all made of fairly sturdy plastic and so are the cogs. The paper is A4 size and it is slightly disappointing to find this bent, because the paper size is bigger than the box. My daughter was very excited when she saw her new Spiral Art and wanted to get going straight away! It wasn't too difficult to follow the instructions and put the frames together. The way it works is that you choose your inner frame first (which can be either circle, oval or a funny shaped squashed oval!) and then you fit the outer frame over this to keep it secure. I was a bit disappointed with this because there is nothing to secure the outer frame in place so it does not take much to move it slightly which has an effect on your spiral. You have to hold it down quite firmly which is quite difficult for an adult but virtually impossible for a four year old child! If you remember Spirograph you will have a fair idea how Spiral Art works. You have a number of small cogs with serrated edges. These fit into the serrated edges of the inner frame. Each cog has a number of different small holes just big enough to place the tip of the pen in. You then very carefully use the pen in order to move the cog around the inner frame.If you do this successfully, you will create some fantastic spiral patterns - in fact the possibilities are virtualy endless when you think of all the different combinations of cogs, frames, holes and colours! My daughter was amazed when she saw the different patterns that could be created! I do think there is a problem for her though! As she is only four, the whole act of manipulating pen and cog around the frame is quite difficult for her and as a consequence the cog often jumps out of place. Once this happens it is very difficult to continue with the same spiral pattern and the effect is lost. It is also quite difficult for her to keep the outer frame still so she really does need an adult with her to help her - and as a fiercely independent four year old she often actually wants to be able to do it for herself! So although I do like the Spiral Art set, I think that to label it as suitable for three to ten year olds is a bit misleading. I should more imagine that children will really start to take off with this more around the age of six and above, so I suspect ours might be put away in a cupboard for a couple of years! That's no big deal, but I don't think I would have bought it for her at this time had I realised how difficult it would be for her! Having said that though, I do still think that it is a good little art kit. As far as I can tell, all children love these neat little spirals and there are lots of suggestions on the box for how you can take these designs further and create pictures and cards. So although slightly disappointed at the moment, I feel sure that in the near future my daughter will really enjoy using this set! At the moment it sells in the Early Learning Centre for the cost of £8.
***Background*** My son loves anything to do with arts and crafts so we had been keeping an eye out for anything that fitted the bill for his 5th birthday. Early Learning Centre have many shops throughout the UK and are well known for their ideas that all toys should have a learning factor to them, whether it be stirring a childs imagination, learning about words, numbers or colours, or getting artistic. Their toys are well made and their staff have always been very knowledgeable when Ive been unsure about a product. As well as their shops on the high street, they have also got an online store available too. Delivery is a bit steep though at £4.95 so you may prefer to go to a shop if you can get to one close by. ***The Age Factor*** This product is aimed at children who are aged between 3 and 8 although I would say that some of the wheels would be a bit tricky for a unaided 3 year old and that some older children than 8 would probably still enjoy designing things with this. The good thing is that it is equally appealing for girls and boys at the early stages although I suspect that girls will play with it for longer than boys will when they get a bit older. ***The Product*** Spiral Art is advertised as being a product that can help children create bright and colourful masterpieces in minutes. It encourages both a childs imagination and creativity. I used to love Spirograph as a child and played with it for hours, making hundreds different patterns by combining different wheels and shapes. The one that I had needed to have the background bit pinned down so you could rotate the inner wheel round with your pen or pencil but this brightly coloured version is a little bit different. It works by you putting the paper down first and then placing the background frame on to the paper. A larger rectangular shaped holder then keeps this frame in place. There is no need for any pins etc as the holder has foam pads on it to stop the paper moving. You can then choose to create patterns from a selection of wheels and this works by slotting the wheel into a starting position and working it round the teeth on the background frame until the picture is complete. Without pictures, this is a little bit difficult to explain but it rotates round and round the background for quite some time until the final image comes together. Each wheel has a different number of teeth and differently positioned holes so that they can make a variety of patterns by placing the pen through a different hole each time. ***Whats In The Box?*** Instruction Leaflet 4 Felt Tip Pens one orange, one blue, one green and one red. Paper 20 sheets of white A4 The holder itself is yellow and green with a slot at the bottom to hold a pen in. It has a rectangular inner border and can be used on its own to create a border patterned effect. A pink frame with an irregular inner frame that makes a butterfly shaped border. This also has 2 stencil shapes of a zigzag and a smile shape. The red frame is in 2 halves. These can be fitted together to give you a circular shaped pattern. It also has lots of stencil shapes in the outer area such as circles, hexagons and hearts as well as stars and moons. The orange frame is also in 2 halves and these can be fitted together to make an oval pattern. It also has stencils with a spiral, a cloud, a fish and a brick pattern on it. Half the red frame and half the orange frame can also be fitted together to make an egg shaped design. This is especially good for all those Easter decorations that your child might like to make at that time of year. Finally there are 6 wheels or cogs. The 4 orange cogs are completely round, whilst the red one is oval shaped and the pink one is square shaped. They can all be used with each border with only a couple of exceptions. The oval one cannot be used on the green and yellow holder and the largest orange wheel cannot be used on the holder or on the butterfly shaped frame. This is due to the shape and size of the cogs, as the teeth do not connect properly. ***The Test*** My son was really excitable when he saw this, even though he wasnt quite sure how to work it to start with. As soon as he saw patterns being made on the colourful box and pens, he instantly took an interest. Getting the paper out I asked him which frame he would like to try first and he chose the 2 red circle halves. I think this was because of all the stencil shapes on them. There are letters on each frame and to make sure that the holder fits on properly, these must be facing the right way. The red frame is made up of letters B1 and B2. Putting them on the paper was a little bit tricky at first as they do not actually slot into each other but instead just sit together at 2 small points at the top and bottom of them. Again without pictures this is a bit difficult to explain. With a bit of jiggling and patience though we had the holder in place and my son had the pen in hand. He started off with the stencil shapes. Hes done a little bit of stencilling at nursery in the past so he knew the principals of it all. It wasnt long before he had lots of different coloured stars and flower shapes all round a border area. He then wanted to try out the wheels and picked one of the medium sized round ones. He found it quite difficult to keep the pen in the same hole as well as moving the wheel round the teeth and did need quite a bit of help to start with. He tried it with a pencil and found this was slightly easier but I actually think that a ball point or gel pen is better still as the pencil did slip a couple of times too. By using one of those you also get a coloured background without it being too thick so my son can then colour in the rest of the picture more easily. Needless to say, its practise that makes perfect with a toy like this and practising is something he loves to do, so we now have lots of spiral patterns all over the house. His favourite shape seems to be the pink one that makes a butterfly wing pattern. He then likes to draw the body of the butterfly in the middle and then adds on the antennae at the head. The beauty of using a gel pen is that you can do the edging one colour and then if you want to use any of the stencilled shapes you can choose a different colour for those. ***My Thoughts*** I am really pleased with this purchase. My son really enjoys playing with it and shows no signs of boredom. It is also something he will sit at for at least half an hour at a time so its not just a case of getting it out for 10 minutes before putting it away again. It is easy to take out and to tidy up and everything fits well into the sturdy box that it comes in. This product is a little bit difficult for the younger child and I would say that for full use of the wheels that your child should be at least 4 and a half. My son has managed to get the hang of it now but he did need a bit of help to start with and a lot of patience and encouragement too. He got a bit frustrated to start with if the wheel moved out of the teeth, as it is difficult to line it up again. It seems to be quite a sturdy toy although again younger children might need help to set it up so that the frames and wheels dont get broken. They all come in their own plastic bags so you can easily keep track of everything. ***Price and Availability*** We got this product as part of a special offer from Early Learning Centre. It is priced at £8 on its own but could be bought along with Twirl and Paint for only £10.
When Santa Claus brought this for my daughter it reminded me of Spirograph from my childhood. This ELC version is aimed at children from age 4. Basically there are 5 cogs of various sizes, each with a different number of spaced holes. Fifty sheets of paper are included together with 2 chunky pens (which make it easier for small hands). You then use the cogs to make pretty patterns as the pen guides it round the circular frame. My children often loose small bits and pieces (don’t they all!) but this game has been well designed to avoid this. The drawing surface lifts up and acts as storage for the cogs and pens. There is also a sturdy carrying handle so that everything can be transported easily. So to sum up, you can have lots of fun making circular pictures and not loose the pieces!!
Make wonderful swirling patterns. You can use the 4 different coloured pens, 6 cogs and 5 inner frames to make each pattern unique. This also contains 20 sheets of paper and a leaflet to give you design ideas. Age Range: 3 - 8 years