Which Hama Beads are right for us?
I am the world expert on Hama Beads. No really, I am. Admittedly I decided this myself but outside of the offices of Hama, I’m not convinced anyone else in the entire world has had such a long and beautiful relationship with them.
Enough about me
Where do we start?
If you’ve got a child of over 5 who spends any time in child care, after school groups or Brownies, the chances are they’ve brought home at least one well ironed fridge magnet to adorn your home in the past. The most likely thing is that they were made with Midi Beads which are, to the uninitiated, the smallest or even the only size of Hama Bead. But they are called Midi Hama Beads for a reason… and I’m about to enlighten you as to what that is!
Midi Hama Beads are roughly 1/2 cm in diameter and form the largest range of Hama. Easily useable by children from 5+, they have a wide range of hama bead pegboards and can be used for characters, large pictures, play pieces and geometric designs. There are plenty of hama bead boxed sets for people who like to follow designs which are perfect as gifts and starter sets and then Inspiration Design Books to take you further. Once you’ve gone beyond those, the sky and your imagination really is the limit with loads of online resources to keep you busy forever. (More on those in the next post).
Midi Hama Beads are the happy medium between ease of use, design flexibility and a range of learning opportunities. They are safe and easy to manipulate for children still learning colours, counting, developing motor skills and wanting to make art without the frustration of mess or mistakes and the opportunities are really boundless. There are just so many hama bead colours and pegboard shapes that you’ll never run out of new things to do.
What do you do if a younger child wants to join in?
Well, did you know there are also Maxi Hama Beads, also known as My First Hama. While Hama beads can be used with a wide range of ages so long as supervision is carefully maintained, there is no doubt that the Maxi Beads are lovely and chunky and make it much easier for little fingers to get a grip of and play. Here is my littlest girl, Josie, getting the hang of Maxi Beads when she was still very young.
Maxi Beads are great; roughly the size of 4 Midi beads together, they are easy to grasp and the pegboards are clear and fit directly over the patterns, so it is easy to follow designs and avoid the frustration of a counted pattern. Our Maxi Beads lasted us for years because little people often forget about ironing the picture – it’s all about the making of it and they can be tipped back later. If you do iron them, do so on both sides. The chunky nature of the beads mean they make a great play piece and particularly sturdy coasters too. There are loads of Maxi Bead kits, ideas books and board shapes and I’ve had a particular fondness for the My First Hama Dinosaur for a long time Once you’ve moved on from making pictures with them, they can be threaded, sorted, counted and used as maths manipulative for as long as you can keep hold of them.
We’ve loved Midi Beads but we’ve outgrown them…
Ah… well here is why you discover why there are Midi and Maxi Beads – because there are also MINI Hama Beads! Roughly 1/4 of the size of Midi, there are quite similar to the size of a typical cross stitch and that is how people tend to use them. They are small enough to make a great detailed piece, though they are fiddly and tend to need tweezers to extract any errors. I’ve seen some amazing work done with Mini Beads though I confess that even in 10 years I’ve not had time to do very much with them myself.
So there you go – a quick guide to getting started with Hama beads and lots of links to different shops to buy them from. Look out for our competition and my next post on finding inspiration to use these wonderful craft products.