Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Perler Beads?

Guest Blog from Erica's Craft & Sewing Center:

Have you ever heard of Perler Beads? I played with them as a child and honestly, I had forgotten all about them until the kits arrived in the store. If you haven’t heard of them, they are small beads made of food-safe plastic that you place on a plastic peg board. After placing the beads into the desired design or shape, you fuse them together by heating the beads with an iron.

Looking for a distraction from their TV, computer and video games, I was more than delighted to introduce these tiny little marvels to my grandsons: Eli, Caleb and Ben. We have been playing with them for over a year now and have went through three buckets full plus some!

Last week I picked up the Robots and Rockets Kit (#43087) before heading over to their house to babysit. This kit was a little different that the previous kits we have used. The plastic pegboard was clear and came with actual size pattern sheet with 11 designs. This was great! Instead of looking at the picture and trying to duplicate the shape/design on an opaque pegboard, you just slide the pattern underneath the pegboard and place the Perler Beads accordingly!

Ben decided to use the pattern just to outline his rocket and fill in with “rainbow colors”.

Eli and I sat and made the robot to match the pattern colors. These little beads are great for teaching a child hand-eye co-ordination, fine-tune motor skills and color matching.

They also help to develop your child's creativity and concentration levels, as evident with Caleb’s tongue sticking out. (Sadly to say, he probably got that from me!) Caleb likes the shaped peg boards, so he doesn’t feel obligated to match the colors. He can make his doggy (#A11061) just the way he likes.

After all the designs are made, carefully place the supplied pressing sheet atop the beads and iron with medium heat for about 10-12 seconds, moving the iron in a slow circular motion. Let cool and peel off the paper. Lift your design from the peg board and flip the design over onto your ironing surface. Cover it with the ironing paper and iron the other side to fuse it evenly. The peg board and pressing sheet are reusable.

It was a delightful afternoon. Next time, I think I’ll pick up some magnets to glue on the backs or maybe thread some cord or ribbon through for ornaments!

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