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Making The Most Of The Lockdown

 

If you are one person out of the quarter of the world’s population of people that are in lockdown at the moment, then you are likely having to adjust rapidly to a very quickly changing circumstance. It’s not the kind of thing that any of us have experienced before, except perhaps for a few people who would have lived through something kind of similar during the world wars. Regardless, it really is an unprecedented thing to be living through, and most of us are wondering what best we can do in order to get through it. If you are not used to spending so much time at home and you are curious what to do about it, read on. In this article, we are going to discuss how you can make the most of this strange time.

Get Out In The Garden

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, then one thing that you might want to do is to spend more time there. Chances are, you are going to feel very grateful for having a garden pretty soon if you can’t go outside whenever you want to, and you might as well make the most use of it that you can. In fact, now might be a great time to get your garden to the best possible state you can, especially if you find that you normally struggle to have the time to do that. You can spend whole days or weekends ensuring that the garden is perfectly weeded, and that the plants are growing strong.

If you want to really make the most of it, you might even want to order some seeds in the post and get planting some fruit and vegetables. If you do that now, you will still be in time to grow some pretty delicious food in your garden, and that will certainly be a good way to make the most of that space, as it will also limit the number of times you need to go out to the shops. Or, if you prefer, you can simply spend time sitting in your garden and enjoying the fresh air, soaking in the sun if you can get any of that where you are. You might even enjoy the sudden quiet of the outdoors if you live in an area that is normally bustling with people. All in all, having a garden is a huge boon if you are in lockdown at the moment, and you should really consider making the most of it.

Make Plans For The Future

This lockdown is not going to last forever, no matter how it might feel at present. And when it opens up again and we can all carry on outside and do whatever we like once again, you are going to find that you want to have an idea of where to go and what to do first. So it is probably worth making plans for the future, for when lockdown is lifted. Hopefully that will be some time in 2020, although we can’t be certain. This could help you deal with the situation better in a psychological sense, and it might also help to provide you with some real concrete things that you can look forward to as well. By having these kinds of plans even loosely in place, you will find that you have something you can focus on when the lockdown seems to be getting to you.

Of course, you can’t really make any secure plans regarding times and dates. In all likelihood, most of your plans will simply be for after the lockdown sometime, whenever that might turn out to be. But what you can do is to draw up a list of some of the things you want to do after the lockdown is lifted. If you can do that, you should find that you are going to have a better sense of what to look forward to. What’s more, making the list is itself going to be a good way to pass some time if you find that you are getting bored.

Keep A Routine

In order to actually be able to enjoy lockdown as much as possible, you need to develop some kind of a routine, even if it is just a loose one. If you have no idea about when you will wake up or do anything else, then you will probably find that you struggle to keep it all in order, and that before you know it you are getting stressed out about the whole situation. In fact, not having a routine for this kind of thing is one of the quickest routes towards becoming depressed, so you will obviously want to make sure that you avoid that happening as best as you can. The routine you choose doesn’t have to be complex – just make sure that you have a general structure to your day. Also pay attention to what is right for you, what feels right. Some people prefer very strict schedules, others find this imposing. Whatever is right for you is what you should do, but some kind of routine is probably good for everybody.

If you are struggling with this, ask yourself whether it’s because you don’t have enough activities to busy yourself with. It is best not to allow yourself to simply watch TV all day. The truth is that if you have an internet connection and a laptop you can do plenty to keep yourself busy, including some of the things that we are going to look at next.

Learn A Language

As we have said, having an internet connection and a computer opens up your possibilities during lockdown wonderfully. If you have these things, there are plenty of things you can do to stay busy, so that is something that you might want to bear in mind. One of the things you can now do easier than ever online is learn a language. If there is a language that you have always wanted to learn, then you will find that now is a great time to get on to doing that.

There are a range of software which you can use, but one of the world-leading ones that many people swear by is Rosetta Stone. With this technology, you learn the language how you would learn a native language, by relating images to the words, rather than simply translating the English words to the other. You might be surprised at how quickly you can pick up the fundamentals of a language this way. Alternatively, for a simpler approach, but possibly a less complete one, you might want to use a smartphone app like Duolingo to pick up some of the basics of a language you wish to learn.

Learning a language is great brain exercise, and a wonderful way to pass the time. You’ll find it is incredibly powerful as a means of improving your intelligence, and you’ll enjoy the feeling of being able to speak with more people, even if only simply.

Exercise At Home

Now more than ever is a great time to learn how best to exercise at home and keep fit no matter how little you are allowed to go outside. It is actually perfectly possible to stay fit without ever leaving the house, and this is something that many people are starting to notice at the moment for obvious reasons. One of the best ways to do this is to get up a video on YouTube for the kind of fitness you’d like to partake in. There are plenty of these to choose between, and something for every difficulty level too. If you want to go all out on a HIIT workout, then you can do that. If you would prefer something slow and simple like a yoga-aerobics class, you can find those too. However you do it, it’s a great idea to stay fit and to keep in shape during this lockdown.

If you really put a lot of effort and time into it, you could even end up being in better shape at the end of lockdown than you were at the start. This is something that a lot of people seem keen to do, and it’s perfectly possible – just think about the fact that prisoners very often emerge from their time inside with perfectly sculpted bodies. If you are keen to do that, then now might be the time to do it.

Video Call Your Loved Ones

Finally, remember that socializing remains as important as ever, even if it might not be as easy as it normally is. If you are keen to stay in touch with people, then you can do so with video calling apps on your phone. Or you can use a video conferencing software on the computer like Google Hangouts, Zoom, or Webex. Keeping social is important for your mental health, so make sure that you do so as best as you can during this tough time. And here’s hoping lockdown will lift soon.

10 Ideas and Activities to Keep Kids Busy During COVID-19.

**This is a guest post. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.** 

Are you getting bored?

More importantly, are your kids getting bored of staying inside?

With schools closing, lock downs in place in many countries, and self-isolation the key for flattening the curve of Coronavirus, parents now more than ever are looking for ways to entertain their children while staying indoors.

Everybody has their standby activities when it comes to staying at home, and most of those activities include watching TV shows and movies, but you can only lay on the couch so long before your mind starts to wander.

You’re a warrior! Your family is ready to help slow the spread of the virus. But what are you supposed to do with your kids when you are working from home, and need to keep them busy,

Here are 10 ideas to keep you and your kids from going stir-crazy during the Coronavirus outbreak.

  1. Have a scavenger hunt

Do your kids love to play games? Odds are they do, and what better activity to do when you’re stuck indoors than a scavenger hunt?

Take some items (for example, a knick-knack, some dice, a fork, a fancy coaster, etc.) and hide them around the house.

Next, write out some rhyming clues to help your kids figure out where the first item is. When they get to the first item, have another clue waiting for them to get to the next item that you’ve hidden.

This is a creative way to keep your kids entertained while helping them use the power of reason.

  1. Find some crafts to do

Getting crafty is a great way to pass the time with your kids, and there are no shortages of ideas to try.

  • Do a paper mache craft
  • Create your own slime
  • Make a tin can pencil holder
  • Make cardboard cut-outs of animals
  • Do paper roll butterflies
  • Practice straw weaving
  • Do egg carton flowers
  • Create your own stress ball
  • Draw your own coloring book pages
  • Make a paper plate craft
  • Create a pop-up book
  • Make a Mason Jar Lid Banjo

There are so many creative and fun craft ideas on Pinterest and in various parent blogs online. Your child is sure to be entertained for hours!

  1. Put on a show

Do you have a creative child? Do they love to write or ham it up in front of the camera? If so, what better way to spend your time than writing the ultimate play together?

Come up with a funny short story and write it out into scenes. Spend the day practicing your lines and then dress up and perform the play in front of the whole family.

  1. Make exercise fun

Your child’s health is the most important thing in the world, which means you’ll be self-isolating and practice social distancing during COVID-19.

Since you’ll be staying home anyway, why not keep your kids occupied and healthy with some at-home exercises?

There are plenty of awesome, free classes online you can look at to keep exercise fun and interesting for your little ones.

  1. Write letters

Letter writing is a thoughtful and sweet way to keep your kids thinking about how they can show love and concern for others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Make a list of everyone you want to write letters to. Alternatively, you can compose emails for friends and family.

Ask your kids to think of something encouraging or upbuilding to share with the ones they love and take turns writing the letters out.

  1. Have a family board game night

There’s something so nostalgic and fun about playing board games around the table with your kids.

  • Clue
  • Monopoly
  • The Game of Life
  • Scrabble
  • Cards
  • Scattergories
  • Yahtzee
  • Trivial Pursuit
  • Battleship
  • Chess
  • Apples to Apples
  • Checkers
  • Cranium
  • Snakes and Ladders

The list of fun games to play with your kids is endless. You’ll be occupied every night of the week with these ideas. And on the off chance that you’re still looking for something new, why not create your own board game with your kids?

  1. Facetime with friends

Just because you’re social distancing doesn’t mean you have to stop being social.

Give kids much-needed time with family and friends via social media, Skype, or Facetime. You can even do a family conference call through Zoom and have a big family chat.

Get creative with your socializing. Why not call your family or the kid’s friends while you’re eating dinner?

Or, set it up so that you’re all watching the same movie at the same time. This way it’ll feel just like having friends over.

  1. Have them take a class

Why not make good use of your time indoors by learning something new as a family? Pull out your old guitar, ukulele, bass, drum set or keyboard and learn how to play.

You can teach your kids what you know or take a class online. Who knows, you could be the next family band!

There are other ways you can be productive while having fun at home. For example, why not take a class or look up a YouTube video to help you learn a new language or try out another new hobby?

  1. Go old school with your games

You’ve played board games and you’ve played video games, but what about old-school games?

Plan a family night of fun by playing the following classic games:

  • Charades
  • Simon says
  • Tag
  • Hide and seek
  • Leapfrog
  • Greenlight

These games are a classic for a reason and are especially fun with younger children. Plus, they all involve being active which will help your kids burn off energy throughout the day.

  1. Camp out

Self-isolation is important to stop the spread of the virus, but there is no reason why you can’t go enjoy the fresh out in your backyard.

Many governments and health officials are saying so long as your backyard is private, you can still enjoy the outdoors from your home.

If you have a backyard and some camping equipment, why not camp out under the stars with your kids?

Build up the tent, have a picnic, maybe even roast some marshmallows on the barbecue or in the firepit. Playing outside is a great way to banish cabin fever for both you and your kids.

Don’t let your time at home be a bore. Now is the time to get creative with your kids and focus on family bonding.

By doing any or all of our shelter in place entertainment ideas you’ll help keep your family occupied and smiling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the author:

Rachael is a noted writer currently associated with Marriage.com. She provides inspiration, support, and empowerment in the form of her motivational articles and essays. Rachael enjoys studying about today’s evolving forms of loving partnerships and is passionate about writing on all types of romantic connections. She believes that everyone should make room for love in their lives and encourages couples to work on overcoming their challenges together.   

An Eclectic List Of Artistic Hobbies That You Could Pursue

 

Everybody is creative. Of course, creativity comes in many different forms. Not everybody has the natural talent to paint, for example. Luckily, art is a broad idea that can be interpreted in so many ways. If you’ve yet to find your creative passion, then it might be time to try out some new things. Your next hobby could be waiting out there for you. So, this is an eclectic list of artistic hobbies that you could pursue. 

Music.

If you love music, then that could become your creative outlet. Maybe you enjoy listening to it, but you doubt your abilities to create it. You might not be good at singing (or you might simply not want to sing), and you might have tried to learn instruments but struggled to stick with the lessons. Well, the world of music creation extends far beyond these traditional mediums. In the modern world, you don’t even need instruments to create music, unless you count technological devices as instruments.

Download GarageBand on your iPhone or iPad. It’s free, so it would only require a bit of your time. You might find that you really enjoy creating sounds with synths, virtual drum kits, and a sampler. It takes a while to get used to a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), so don’t expect to produce the next big hit overnight. Just have fun with it. If you enjoy it as much as listening to music, then this could be the ideal artistic hobby for you. You should only do something creative if you genuinely enjoy it, of course.

Photography.

You might want to pursue a hobby of taking photographs if that interests you. Some people have a talent when it comes to drawing or painting, but that isn’t the only way to create visual artwork. Taking photographs is the next best thing. Of course, you shouldn’t tell yourself that it isn’t a skill; it might simply be a skill that you can acquire more easily than skills in other forms of art. You need an eye for photography. Find something that interests you. Maybe you love travel accounts on Instagram. Well, you could try taking some artistic travel pictures on your next trip to see if it’s the right fit for you. Or maybe you like photographs of people. That offers plenty of artistic avenues. You might want to check out this macro photography of the human eye. It could give you inspiration for your own pictures. So, get creative.

Social media.

As mentioned in the introduction, art is a broad term. With modern technology, the term has become even broader. That’s definitely the case when it comes to social media. For some people, social networks are platforms for communication with family members and friends. For other people, social networks are platforms for creative expression. Perhaps you could start posting videos on YouTube. Making fun vlogs or sketches could be a way for you to create art. You could even make money from that. Or perhaps you could start making memes to post on Reddit. The point is that you can be artistic in more ways than you might currently imagine.

Writing.

You don’t have to create novels to say that you’re a writer. Any sort of written work can be viewed as art. Even a well-crafted meme, as explained in the previous point, can be viewed as art. So, a witty tweet on social media could be viewed as art, too. A well-written blog post could be viewed as art. Maybe you simply want to get a notebook and a pen so you can start creating a journal. Documenting your daily life, even if your words are only ever viewed by you, counts as art. You could try it, even if you’re not sure about the idea. It’d certainly give you a bit of privacy if you don’t want to post your innermost thoughts online and have them read by the world. Of course, you can make private posts online if you want to keep your writing to yourself.

When it comes to writing, there are no rules. Well, grammatical rules might count, but the point is that you have the freedom to let your creativity flow. Perhaps you could start introducing your creations to other people once you feel confident in your ability. You might want to create a private poetry account on Instagram, for example, and start by letting a few of your friends follow you. If you gain confidence and start feeling good about your writing, you could make your account public. So, try writing something. Anything. Don’t force a particular style of writing. Start by writing about your day or a happy event from your life. Write about the things that come naturally to you.

Movie Review: Abominable

 

Now available on Blu-ray, DVD and on digital is the animated film, Abominable.

Abominable is the story of a young Chinese girl name Yi, who recently lost her father. She continues to work odd jobs to save money to go on a trip across the country that she had planned on taking with her father. She is also a violinist, like her late father.

One night she comes across a creature that is hiding out on the roof top of the building where she lives. It’s a giant, abominable snowman. She is frightened, but soon realizes that he’s harmless. She also sees that he is injured.

Yi takes care of her new friend, and heals his wound. She names him Everest, after the mountain where he is from, Mount Everest.

Everest was captured and taken from his family by a wealthy businessman Mr. Burnish. He wanted to use Everest to prove the existence of Yetis. All he wants is to get back home to him.

With the help of her neighbor friends, Peng and Jin, Yi sets off with Everest to get him back home to his family before Mr. Burnish and a Zoologist working with Mr. Burnish, Dr. Zara, find the Yeti.

The children, and Everest, head off on a magical journey to get Everest back home, all while being closely pursued by Mr. Burnish, Dr. Zara and their military-like employees.

Along the way the children learn that Everest has magical powers. He uses these powers to help the children escape from Mr. Burnish and his people.

Will Everest ever return home to his family? Or will he finally be captured again by Mr. Burnish and his people? And what will become of Yi and the other children? Will they ever get back home to their families? To find out, you need to pick up a copy (or download/rent) Abominable. Look for it where ever movies are sold or rented.

This movie will make you laugh. It will make you cry. It will make you angry and it will make you overjoyed. You will certainly experience a lot of emotions while watching this film.

Abominable is a visually stunning film. It’s breathtaking. Even if there was not one spoken word in this film, it would still be an amazing film based upon the animation and background music.

I love how incredibly detailed this film is. You can make out the individual hairs on Everest, you can sense the puffiness of the clouds and even so far as to see texture on things. The animation is so amazing that at times it seems like what you are looking at is REAL and not an animated drawing. To me, that is impressive enough in it’s self. The beautiful story just adds to it.

Speaking of the story, I think that Abominable is a great story that touches upon many different themes – family, friendship, perseverance, grief, and environmental issues such as protecting rare creatures (or creatures whose numbers are very limited).

I loved this film. So much so that I plan on watching it again during the holiday break. Speaking of which, Abominable would make a great gift for the holiday.

Of course there are plenty of bonus features included with this film. Here is just a small sampling.

BONUS FEATURES ON 4K Ultra Hd, BLU-RAYTM, DVD and digital:

  • DREAMWORKS SHORT – MAROONED – Marooned, tells the story of a cantankerous and selfish robot named C-0R13. Stranded on an abandoned lunar outpost, C-0R13 longs to return to Earth. With a partially built ship and his last power source, this determined robot will stop at nothing to achieve his goal.
  • SHOW AND TELL – Back home in the Himalayan Mountains, Everest puts on a magical show-and-tell for his fellow yetis after he receives a special care package from Yin, Jing and Peng.
  • DELETED SCENES with Intros by Writer/Director Jill Culton and Co-Director Todd Wilderman
    • Play All
    • Spa Day
    • Villains at the Map
    • Magic Montage
    • Yak Attack
  • MAKING A MYTH (MOVIE) – In this entertaining ‘making of’ we learn from the filmmakers and stars how they brought the heartfelt and whimsical story of Abominable to life – from the use of magic, music and humor, to the themes of family and nature.
  • ANIMATING ABOMINABLE – From production design to storyboarding and animating, the creative team behind Abominable will take us through the design and animation of the film.
  • YOUR YETI CARE GUIDE – Chloe, Albert and Tenzing provide tips and tricks to caring for your newly adopted “Yeti”. In this case YETI stands for pet – dog, kitten and bird.
  • HOW TO ABOMINABLE – Bring Everest, Yi and Nai Nai to life in your home with this How-to-Draw with a difference. Not only will we show you how to recreate your favorite characters from Abominable, but also how to magically bring them to life through a homemade Chinese style lantern!
    • How to Draw
    • Play All
    • Intro
    • Everest
    • Yi
    • Jin
    • Peng
    • Nai Nai
    • How to Make a Chinese Lantern

I also have some fun extras and clips worth checking out.

You can download the recipes here – http://bit.ly/AbominableRecipes.

 

Click on the above image to download the activities.

Here are a few brief clips from the film.

 

 

 

To learn more about this film, you can visit it’s official website. You can also follow the film on social media – Facebook, Twitter (Dreamworks Animation) and Instagram. The official hashtag is #AbominableMovie.

Did you see Abominal? If so, what did you think of the film? Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

 

Kimberly

*I received a free screener copy to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Holiday gifts from Highlights

 

Are you familiar with Highlights? Highlights is a kid’s magazine that has been around for as long as I can remember.

Going to the pediatrician is never fun for a kid, however, I didn’t mind going because the waiting room had Highlights magazines in it. Often my doctor would let me take some of the older issues home with me. It was like getting a “gift” every time I went to see him. For that reason, I didn’t mind going.

My most favorite thing from the magazine is the search and fine puzzles. Those were always a lot of fun. Actually, all of the activities in the magazine were fun.

I loved Highlights magazine as a kid. As an adult, I can still appreciate this quality children’s magazine. I used to subscribe to it for my kids when they were little.

Highlights has not changed since when I was a child, which is a good thing. The brand has also gone on to create many wonderful Highlights books – both reading books as well as puzzle and game books.

I was sent to review a few Highlights books, all of which are great for the holiday season and beyond.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

 

Families will start a new holiday tradition with this special Hidden Pictures edition of the beloved holiday poem, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas”—the debut title in the HighlightsTM Hidden Pictures® Storybooks series.

MSRP: $12.99

Age: 4 to 8 years

This is such an adorable book! The illustrations are darling!

The front and back cover of the book have glitter on it, to bring the “snow” to life. That was such a creative idea.

This is the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas story, but with a twist. Each set of pages is a a “find the hidden picture” page. One side features part of the story, as well as illustrations of the items you need to find. On the other page is a scene from the story with the hidden pictures somewhere inside of it.

This book is geared towards children 4-8 years old, but I must say, there were a few times I was stumped as to where the hidden item was hiding. Some are not as easy to find as others.

This is a fun book for children to read on their own, or if they just want to try and find the hidden objects without reading the story.

60 Second Puzzles

The Fun to Go books are ideal for busy kids—they fit easily into backpacks for travel, waiting time, or any “I’m bored” moment.

MSRP: $6.99

Ages 6 to 9

This is a small book that comes with an sand timer. The sand runs out in 60 seconds. The idea of the book is to see if you can complete a puzzle in one minute, before the timer runs out.

There is a nice variety of puzzles in this book, from mazes to find the hidden objects. I find that the mazes were a bit easier to do in the time frame than the find the hidden objects puzzles.

Each set of puzzles gives you four tries to complete them. I like that you get more than one chance. You can also do different puzzles each time, then go back to the ones you want to try over again.

This book is small (think), but it’s ideal for tucking into a backpack or luggage when traveling. You can even tuck it in your purse or tote bag to take with you to keep your child occupied and entertained while at a restaurant or waiting at a doctor’s office.

Jumbo Pad of Word Puzzles

This 256-page pad of word puzzles joins our successful, best-selling collection of jumbo books. It’s jam-packed with word searches, crosswords, riddles, codes, and logic puzzles, with removable sheets that are easy to share.

MSRP: $12.99

Ages 6 to 9

There are over 125+ puzzles in this jumbo pad. There is a nice assortment/variety.

Even though this is geared towards children, I found some of the puzzles to be fun to do myself.

You can work directly in the pad, or tear out pages if you want to share them among children (in case you have more than one child/grandchild who wants to use the pad).

The nice thing is that the backside of each page features the solution to the puzzle, so you can easily check your answers.

All of these books are “budget friendly.” They are available on the Highlights website, as well as on Amazon and other retail locations.

These not only make great holiday gifts and stocking stuffers, but they are also great gifts for year round gifting.

For more information about these and other Highlights products, visit Highlights.com. The brand can also be found on social media. Their links are found on the bottom of their website.

A Highlights magazine subscription also makes a great gift.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples to review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

Move over Perler Beads, make room for Aquabeads

 

PHOTO SOURCE: Aquabeads

I work with children in an after school program. They range in age from 9-12 years old (4th through 6th graders).

We do a lot in our program, from homework help to cooperative games. We also do a lot of arts and crafts. My “work kids” are especially interested in arts and crafts, even the boys.

We try and make seasonal and holiday crafts, as well as every day projects. Sometimes my “work kids” are content to do easier things, like color, paint or make things with the Perler Beads.

No offense to Perler Beads. I think they are cool and all, but I am tired of having to sweep up half the container off the floor. I am also not a fan of having to iron the finished creations.

Due to safety concerns, we don’t let the kids iron the Perler Beads, even if they do so at home.

Thank goodness for Aquabeads. Aquabeads are similar to Perler Beads, but instead of ironing the finished design,  you spray it with water.

Lets compare the two when it comes to children. Which is safer? A scolding hot iron, or simple tap water? I think we all know the answer to that.

Aquabeads are similar in size to Perler Beads, maybe a smidge bigger. Unlike Perler Beads, Aquabeads are shaped like tiny balls.

I was sent to review two different Aquabead sets;

  • Beginners Studio – This set contains more than 840 shining jewels and solids beads for plenty of options for creative play.
  • Deluxe Studio – This set gives you even more including more than 1,300 jewels & solid beads.

Check out this brief video about Aquabeads so that you can see for yourself how extremely easy these are to use to create things.

 

The Beginners Studio is a great set to start using Aquabeads. I’ve never used them before, so I like having something more simple to work with. Some of my “work kids” have used Aquabeads before, so the Deluxe Studio was a better option for them.

I appreciate that combining both sets we have plenty of beads and designs to choose from.

The Beginners Studio comes with over 840 beads in 16 different colors. The Deluxe Studio has a whopping 1,300 beads in 24 different colors.

You can actually stack both sets so they stay together. This is a handy feature when packing up at the end of the day. It makes clean up a lot easier.

Both sets come with trays that you work on, the beads, designs, tiny spray bottles for the water and “pens” to help you handle the beads. The pens make things A LOT easier compared to trying to use your fingers. You can use just your fingers if you want, but it won’t be as easy as using one of the Aquabead “pens.”

The pen that comes with the Deluxe Studio has a wheel on the end that allows you to collect and easily dispense a variety of colors. Personally I prefer the Deluxe Studio pen over the standard Beginners Studio pen. I like that you can collect all the colors you need so that you don’t have to stop creating to pick up more Aquabeads.

There is a considerable size difference between the two. The Deluxe Studio is bigger and has more room for storage. It also comes with two design boards instead of one.

Aquabeads Deluxe Kit

Each set comes with different templates, which is nice. You can mix and match each template with the different sets.

The templates are super cute. They feature a lot of animals (elephant, horse, turtle), cars, flowers, bugs and more.

What I like is that each design does not use a lot of the beads. With the Perler Beads you often have to use dozens of beads to complete a design. With the Aquabeads you don’t need that many. If you opt to create your own design and not use one of the templates, then the amount of Aquabeads you use would depend on the size of your design and how complex it is.

Using Aquabeads is simple. Simply slide your template into the appropriate spots on the word station. Next, using one of the Aquabead pens, add the beads to cover the template. You don’t have to use the same color beads that are on the template. You can get as creative and as colorful as you want.

Once you are done with the design, spray some water on it with the included spray bottle, or your own spray bottle.

Spraying the water is an “issue” with my work kids. Some want to soak the beads (making the place soaking wet) where as all you need is enough to coat the beads to “activate” whatever it is that makes them stick together. Just make sure to get all of the beads in the design wet with the water, otherwise you might have a bead or a few beads that don’t stick. Thankfully it’s an easy fix. Simply put the bead back where it belongs, spray it with water, and let it dry.

I love the FREE holiday and seasonal templates on the Aquabeads website.

Once your design has been sprayed with water, let it dry to completion before handing it. Both sets give you a special drying tray that frees up your work station so that you can keep on designing and not have to let drying pieces take up valuable space.

Once your design dries, you can handle it.

I’m not really sure what to do the designs. I want to try and attach jump rings to them to see if the kids can make key chains with them, or maybe charms for necklaces. In the mean time, my “work kids” are content to just keep making and collecting them.

This is not that hard to use. Once you get used to using the pen (do it slow and steady), the rest is a piece of cake. If you do it too quickly, beads will come out and roll around your tray. If that happens, simply move the bead to where it belongs using your finger.

Aquabeads are available at many retail locations, including Amazon. There are different sets and refills available, including Frozen, Toy Story, Disney Princesses and more. There are also free templates on their website.

For more information about Aquabeads, visit AquabeadsArt.com. The brand is also on Facebook and Instagram. Those lines are found at the bottom of their website.

Kimberly

*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.