Hama Beads – the Pearl of Toys
I started my personal love affair with Hama Beads 10 years ago; how I missed out on them as a child I never know. I think my parents properly missed a trick as I’m fairly sure they could have kept me almost permanently quiet with a suitable stash of them. My first experience came when my eldest daughter, who was a small and perfectly formed tornado in human form, came across them as a 4 year old. She had never enjoyed craft materials in any form before – everything turned into a mess and mayhem scenario but from the first day we had Hama beads, she was transformed. She started off by filling small boards happily with random assortments of colours, patiently practising her technique. Each of these apparently formless designs had a story in her head, which she patiently explained to me before building another. In no time we had moved on proper designs and I became hooked alongside her. In fact, I became so hooked, I opened a shop selling Hama Beads. These days, that original site holds patterns for some of the projects we’ve done using them over the years.
It’s the versatility of Hama Beads that appeals to me so much. Whether you use them to make decorations or gifts for seasonal events like Christmas or as an educational tool for exploring a topic like flags from the UK or around the world, whether you keep it simple and copy pictures from one of the Inspiration Books or let your imagination run wild like 92Three30 did, the sky is the limit.
What really appealed to me was being able to use them as an educational tool. Once we had got past the basic benefits of Hama Beads – sorting, counting, colours, fine motor control, pattern following, picking them all up off the floor after you dropped them, learning to vacuum etc etc there was so much more. One of my daughters has been particularly good at inventing ideas and innovative uses of the boards, while the others have enjoyed guided projects and picture making. One of our biggest successes, when my girls were little, was this animal map of Africa.
This hung in our house for several years and one thing is for certain, my children can definitely tell you about the shape and wildlife of that continent! I’ve seen other people use them to explore symmetry or delve back into techno history and make space invader coasters with them. This cute 3D bucket has been a real recent favourite of mine. I must admit I have quite a soft spot for Hama Bead computer sprites like this Pokemon.
No post would be complete without the link to Pinterest either – there are so many lovely project ideas on here to use these amazing beads to make.
Over the next two weeks I’ll be explaining the difference between the different sizes of Hama Beads, giving you some top tips, linking to some places to get ideas and also showcasing anything our readers would like to show us that they’ve made from the wonderful Hama Beads. So here is your opportunity to let us know what you make or what you’ve seen. Leave us some links in the comments to blog posts, Flickr streams or anything you have made or would like to make in Hama Beads and we’ll put together the best of it all.
Hama beads are available at many online retailers and also at high street shops.