The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
My son received this toy as a present for Christmas just passed when he was a little over 3, as it was a present I'm not sure how much it cost but looking around it seems to cost in the region of the £15 mark which gives you the main station and 1 book.
*~* Packaging *~*
The toy comes packaged in a thick box which is very bright and colourful with lots of yellows and greens. It seems very fitting especially as this is a creative style toy and is very appealing to a young child's eye. The box does have an unusual shape almost going into a pyramid but with a flatter top, I'm not really sure of the purpose of this but however. The box states that this set is for 3 years plus which seems about accurate for most creative toys, I feel that they put this age on the packaging from a safety point of view and most of the time the age range does not reflect the actual use of the product.
*~* Getting To The Goodies!! *~*
On opening the box there are 3 items inside, the first is a strip of paints, the kind you get with a painting by numbers but quite a bit bigger. All of them are transparent and have a coloured circle on the top to let you know what colour the gel will turn. The second is the machine which holds the strip of paints and is orange in colour with a chunky purple brush with a lot of pale coloured bristles that are very soft and flexible which is attached by a wire, I do think that the length is not long enough to effectively use the toy.
The last item in the box is a Crayola Pad which is suitable for use with all Colour Wonder products I know there are pens but I'm not sure if there are other items. The pad is quite simply plain paper held within a cardboard outer layer, there is something in the pad I assume that makes the clear gels coloured but I have no idea what it is. It reminds me of magic painting but with much brighter colours.
*~* Getting To Grips With The Items *~*
To set up this toy you have to insert the strip of paints into the space on the machine and clip the pad into the clipboard style clip to hold the pad in place during use. You also have to insert 3 AAA batteries which is easily done by removing the cover of the battery compartment, the batteries are not included so if buying this it is worth remembering, nothing worse than getting a new toy and not being able to use it because you have no batteries! I always stock up on them so it's not a problem here but it definitely detracts from the attractiveness of the product as a present I feel.
The paint pots have lids like a painting by numbers and need flipped open which definitely needs an adults touch, they are difficult to get into and children would definitely not be able to get into them themselves which is a plus point in a way as it means there is no mess everywhere but at the same time it means you always have to be on hand for them using this toy.
Once you've done this you simply flip a switch and you're ready to paint.
*~* Creating Magic.... *~*
To use you simply hold the brush above the paint pots and the brushes light up with the colour inside once you've chosen your colour you dip the brush in the pot and paint it onto the pad. Trying to get the gel out of the pot is difficult as it is not like regular paint and you can end up with nothing on the brush or with a huge blob meaning you're forced to use this colour which for a 3 year old is not that great. The colours go onto the pad well but you have the same problems that there can be huge blobs left on the pad which is not nice and it means you have to leave them out to dry rather than closing the pad up and putting it away straight after use. The colours do come out bright and recognisable after a period of time but with the gel it does make it difficult to effectively paint a picture and my son does get very frustrated with it as it is so slow.
Adding to this that between colours you are meant to wipe the colour off with a bit of kitchen paper but even in doing this I found the colour wasn't fully removed and we ended up with mixed paint colours which is ok but when a 3 year old wants a plain colour it doesn't go down well when they are forced to have a mix.
*~* When The Magic Is Over Reality Sets In *~*
Once my son was suitably frustrated and decided he was no longer interested in painting I read the clean up instructions, the lids have to placed back on to ensure the gel doesn't dry out as well as switching off the machine. You have to wait until the brush has cooled down before removing the bristles to wash them under warm water and as they have been allowed to cool down it make getting the brush clean a pain especially when you can't see any colour and can only feel it even once I thought I had it clean the next time I found that they weren't and there was still paint left over.
*~* Refilling Supplies *~*
You can buy refill's of the paint pots as well as the colour pads, the pads are around £3 from places such as Asda and the paint pots are available on Amazon in various colours for £6.99 so it can get expensive if this is a toy that gives children a lot of fun.
*~* A 3 Year Old Boy's View *~*
When i asked if my son enjoyed this toy he wasn't all that impressed, even when it got brought out on further occasions he didn't display much interest in it at all, he gets very frustrated with the paints mixing and then taking an age to appear on the page. The wire is not long enough for him to use the whole page and if he tries to do the bottom the machine ends up moving around and he gets upset and annoyed that he can't use the toy as he would with an 'old fashioned' brush and paper. He also didn't seem to be too interested the 'magic' of the toy and doesn't ask for this toy out at all the only time he has used it has when i have instigated it which doesn't say much for the toy.
*~* A Parent's View *~*
From a parental point of view I think this toy is not suitable for children such as my son, he became too frustrated with the 'paint' being far too thick and leaving blobs on the page, he couldn't turn the page and do more than one picture at a time as well as it taking quite a while for the colours to show up on the pad. I also feel that the wire is far too short and it just has too many flaws for it to be an effective toy. It isn't all that magic and I feel that regular paint and brushes are a much cheaper and much more creative option. It feels to me that they are trying to take a classic creative activity and make it modern when it doesn't have to be. I would never have purchased this and after use I wouldn't recommend it, especially at the cost it's far too expensive and the refills could become exceptionally costly if you were buying them regularly. Overall as a parent it is not a toy I am happy with or that I would recommend. The remainder of the paint and pad are sat in the cupboard and I envision that they will be passed onto someone who may have some fun with it but for my son it was a toy fail.