Children learn through play. As an occupational therapist who works with children and youth, I use games and toys almost every day to help develop important cognitive, visual perceptual, motor, sensory, social, play and leisure skills. While many different types of activities can be used in therapy, this blog focuses on off-the-shelf games and toys that are accessible to most. Whether you are a therapist, parent, teacher, or a game lover like me, I hope you discover something useful while you are here. Learn a different way to play a game you already own or discover a new game for your next family game night. Either way, just go play. It's good for you!

The OT Magazine named The Playful Otter one of the Top 5 Pediatric OT Blogs.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Colorations Wet & Stick Fuse Beads

Perler-type beads that fuse with water.  Not impressed.

Work on visual discrimination, figure ground, spatial relations, eye-hand coordination, manual dexterity, fine motor precision, pincer grasp, web space development, palmar arch development, thumb opposition, in-hand manipulation, separation of two sides of hand, shoulder stability, executive functioning skills, process skills, play and leisure exploration and participation

In the jar: 3,200 wet & stick fuse beads

I like fuse beads but have never used them in home therapy, in large part due to the ironing. So when I saw these fuse beads that stick together with water, I was excited. Before I bought them, I went looking for reviews and could find none. That worried me, but I was so excited to try them that I went ahead and bought them anyway. After trying them out, all I can say now is that I'm not impressed. First I hated them, then I thought they might be OK, then I thought they might not. I'll give you the facts as I see them and you can decide. 

If you don't use fuse beads much and have no idea how many 3200 beads is, here is a little perspective.

These beads can be used on the standard perler bead pegboards (image above right) if you already have them. Otherwise you will have to buy a pegboard(s) because they do not come with these beads. These wet and stick beads are not flat cut on the top and bottom like the original perler beads, they are a little rounded. And, a few of them have a little extra plastic on the top or bottom that didn't get trimmed off so the bead will not stand exactly straight. There are 7 bead colors in this jar: red, black, white, yellow, green, blue, and a very few orange.

To use the beads, put them one at a time on a pattern board to make your design. 

The instructions say to spray thoroughly with water, then come back in 30 minutes and it will be done. I followed the directions and thirty minutes later, I was back. The beads were stuck together, but my bead design wasn't anywhere near dry. I picked up the design from the pegboard (they held together well enough for me to lift them) and there was a puddle of goo on the bottom of the pegboard. The puddle looked like glue, so I would recommend washing it off right away. I set my bead design on a paper towel, wet side down, and when I picked it up there was a colorful pattern on the paper towel - the colors bleed. As I gingerly handled the design, since it wasn't dry, all I could think of was maple syrup. This is the place where I hated it and decided I was going to send them back. However... a couple of hours later I walked by and decided to pick it up. It was very dry and not sticky in the least. This is where I thought "hey maybe this will work after all". Much later in the day I picked it up again. I had just washed my hands and they were still a little damp and the bead pattern I had made got instantly sticky when it came into contact with the water. This is where I am thinking they will probably not work for me. Kids and water, it's just gonna happen. Then once the beads get wet the colors may bleed onto their clothes and the design will fall apart. I'm think I'm going to send them back.

UPDATE: OK, so I really, really wanted these to work so I kept trying. I came back to the pattern I had made several days later and it was nice and solid. So I thought maybe, just maybe... I took them to several sessions over the next couple of weeks. The biggest problem ended up being the fact that the beads are not exactly uniform, like the plastic beads are. They are just unstable enough that if you bump one, you may upset many. And nobody likes to do tedious work over and over. So although several kids started patterns, only one finished, and that was with help from me to fix things when they tipped. Bottom line for me, I don't like them.

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