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This was one of my 4 year old daughter's many Christmas presents, and something with which she has had a lot of fun.
Sticky Mosaics are exactly what they sound like, a set of pictures which you complete with the provided sticky mosaic pieces. I think Sticky Mosaics are available in many different styles and themes, but the one my daughter received was 'jewels' which just means as well as the foam mosaic pieces, you also get some jewels to jazz the pictures up a little bit.
==In the Box==
Inside the box we found 5 different A4 sized cardboard designs which at first glance just looked like a lot of squares on the page, but when you inspect them you can see a picture which is broken down into tiny squares, each with a number inside; 5 plastic hangers (for hanging your completed pictures on the wall); and 3700 sticky foam and jewel pieces (I have not counted them, I got this information from the box). The pictures consist of a unicorn, mermaid, castle, princess and a flowery scene.
The foam pieces are set onto small square pieces of paper, and are colour coordinated - so all the pink pieces are together, green pieces are together etc. The jewels are kept separately.
Also in the box we found a colour coded 'key' which helps when creating your pictures, because all the pre-designated squares on the designs have a number inside, and you need to know which colour this number refers to. For example, 1=yellow, 2=orange, so if you see a 2 on the design, you know that it should be orange.
==Let's Get To Work==
My daughter wanted to start doing the mosaics as soon as she opened the present, so we have already got through most of the designs in the box. The recommended age is 5+, but my daughter is 4 and didn't seem to have any problems with completing the task, although she did prefer to have an adult guiding her. I think if the child is good with intricate tasks (the foam squares are about 0.5cm square so can be fiddly) and knows their colours and numbers, then a patient 4 year old would not have any issues with the set.
The first two designs that she completed, were done with constant adult supervision, but the supervision was basically just to keep her company because she was very good at getting the foam pieces from the paper and positioning them correctly on the page. She liked to complete an entire colour before moving onto the next, which is very methodical for a 4 year old, but that's just the way she is. The mosaic pieces are extremely sticky so if you get them in the wrong place, you don't have much hope of re-positioning them, so accuracy is a must. And also if you happen to drop one, or they get in the wrong hands then you can more or less kiss them good bye because they do not come unstuck.
So her first 2 completed pictures were more or less perfect, and whilst they took a long time to complete (a good few hours) she was extremely pleased with the result and is even going to take them to school to show them off to her teacher. The third picture however, I let her 7 & 8 year old cousins help her, and I really wish I had never bothered. I left all three girls doing the mosaic together, thinking the older girls would be disciplined enough to be able to position the squares correctly, and not lose any pieces and guide my daughter through the process. But when I came back into the room, there were wrong colours stuck in the wrong place and positioned haphazardly on the picture, balled up foam pieces on the floor, and entire rows of foam squares stuck into the carpet. This has resulted in there not being enough of one particular colour for my daughter to complete her remaining pictures. To put it bluntly, I was fuming! To think that my 4 year old had carefully constructed her first 2 pictures, only for her two cousins to wade in and destroy her third one, well it's an outrage!
The reason I am telling you this is because, although the box says ages 5+, I would still recommend adult supervision at all times, even with much older children. I suppose it depends on the child and whether you can trust them or not. I would be able to place more trust in my 4 year to work alone, rather than in her much older cousins!
I've often seen these on the internet but never bothered buying one because I was never sure of the quality of the set and if they would be any good, but I have been really pleased with the quality, and the amount of things you get inside the box. I initially thought there was only the one picture to complete, but when I realised there were 5, I was really pleased! The pictures are all made with good quality cardboard so they will hang well on the wall, and the foam pieces are lovely bright colours and as I said earlier, extremely sticky, so once you have completed your picture there is a very low risk of the pieces falling off again. The jewels are also very nice, and come in a variety of different shapes and colours and really add a sparkle to the picture (these are not as sticky as the foam pieces so they need to be pressed down hard in order for them to stick).
My daughter and I really like this set and I would recommend it for other young girls, if they like to do this sort of thing. The child would definitely have to enjoy doing crafty things if they are to get the full enjoyment Sticky Mosaics.
==Price and Availability==
I saw this in Toys R Us for £14.99, and I think it is well worth that price.
My daughter loves crafting, and has recently been studying the Romans at school, which has led to a bit of an interest in mosaics. Whilst I'm keen to encourage her interests, I wasn't too happy with the idea of filling my house with plaster and bits of broken tile, so a sticky mosaic set seemed lke a good option . Having a look on Amazon, I was greeted by lots of different sets, opting finally for this 'Jewel' set by Orb.
There were a couple of things that made me choose this set . One thing I liked was that the foam squares already had an adhesive backing, so there would be no need for messy glue . I also liked that this was a moscaic-by-numbers kit, with clearly labelled pictures . Whilst my daughter does love to create alone, I have seen how wasteful she can be in the process, throwing away half finished pictures if there is a tiny bit she isn't happy with . With a mosaic by numbers kit, she could follow simple instructions and end up with a lovely result at the end .
Included in the kit are five pictures . Each is 10 inches by 12, on sturdy thick card with a slightly shiny smooth surface , and the numbered squares are clearly printed and easy to read . Each picture also comes with it's own cord for hanging - a nice touch, as I have had some kits before that provided no way of mounting an image once completed , or only provided the fittings to mount one . The designs included were quite nice - two girls playing in a field of flowers, a unicorn, a mermaid, a princess and a castle . They are definitely very girl-oriented . Also included are many sheets of sticky foam squares, and sheets of plastic shiny 'jewel' stickers . The box everything comes in is very sturdy - certainly sturdy enough to work well for storing everything in when not in use. There is also a key, clearly indicating which number or shaped jewel is represented by each number, although in the case of the plastic jewels themselves this is pretty obvious from the images themselves. The key is also printed on the front of the box, in case the sheet gets lost.
My daughter had great fun doing these mosaics - and I think part of the fun for her was that, as no scissors or glue were required, she was allowed to do this by herself without me watching over her , fearful of any mess she might make. The foam squares peeled easily away from the backing, and the stickiness on the back was very good - certainly enough to adhere them to the pictures, but also it was possible to adjust the position of the squares slightly if they did happen to be applied lopsided .
The colours were lovely - a mix of greens, purples, pinks, and other bright girly colours - but it was the shiny jewels that really added something that little bit special to the finished pictures . It took my daughter around 3 hours to complete one picture - though she did stop for breaks - and the end result was lovely - really colourful,and easy to see what the picture was meant to be . We hung it in our hallway, where it provides a welcome bit of brightness as you enter the house, and where my daughter can proudly point out her handiwork to visitors .
She has now completed all five images, four of which now grace the walls of her bedroom - and so they should, they really are something to be proud off . There were also a few sticky squares left over, enough for her to create a few of her own designs, and the leftover jewels in particular have been utilised to make princess crowns .
I think this is a fantastic kit, and have already purchased some other mosaic kits from the same manufacturer, as my daughter really enjoyed making these, and I enjoyed the peace and quiet while she did so . With kits varying between £10 and £20, I think these are good value and provide a good few hours of peace and quiet, as well as some lovely art at the end . 5 stars .
5 beautiful templates to follow and fill in - princess, unicorn, mermaid, castle and sisters playing in a field. Over 3700 sticky foam squares & shiny jewels all in brilliant colours to stick on the templates.