Thursday, March 22, 2018

Arts & Crafts Fun with Super Beads from Zirrly {A TOS Review}

I've mentioned numerous times how neat it is to be introduced to new-to-me companies thanks to being on the Homeschool Review Crew. Usually we are discovering new curriculum that help us on our homeschool journey. However, there are also times we have the chance to review fun products, like these Super Beads from Zirrly. Knowing how much my children enjoy building and creating, I figured these would be a welcome addition to our home. And once I realized one of our choices was the Super Beads 3D Car & Truck set, I knew exactly who the recipient of this product would be, especially because little Harold's birthday was close to the date we would be receiving them. 

Originally I was going to have the girls make the vehicles to give to him for his birthday. However, when we thought about it further, we decided it made more sense to give him the project in the box so he could help build them. I mean, he loves to build just as much as the girls, so why not? The only reason I had thought of doing it the other way was because these 3D projects are recommended for ages 10 and up as they are trickier to assemble than the 2D ones Zirrly sells. Looking back on it, I am so glad he got to make them with our help, as that is a part of the fun of this product. But, he definitely wouldn't have been able to have made them himself. 

He was so excited to get the chance to make his own Super Beads 3D Car & Truck

Everything we needed to create these innovative craft vehicles was included in the box, except for the water that would be needed for fusing the beads together and some sort of tray to keep the beads organized. 

Let's take a look at the kit.

The back of the box gives a bit of information about Super Beads and includes pictures of the contents.

I was intrigued that we were going to get to fuse these together with plain old water. Harold, of course, was excited that he was going to have some new vehicles to play with

We received:

Two puzzle trays
Two templates
Little packages of Super Beads in red, orange, yellow, white, and black
Two packages of wheels and little metal "axles"
White plastic pipes
Green plastic tool
Spray bottle
and an Instruction Manual with step-by-step pictorial directions

We also received corrected instructions via email. While the pictorial directions are correct, there was some misinformation and some details that weren't included on the instruction manual. We were also sent some videos to watch that show how simple it is to create with Super Beads. These videos can be viewed on their website under the Photos tab

The children were excited to get started.

Harold chose the truck as his first project.

In order to get started we had to place the cardboard template underneath the tray. There are little tabs to attach the holes of the template to, but it didn't really click in or anything, especially because the cardboard was a bit curved.

This was not a huge problem as long as you don't try to move the tray while attaching the beads. 

It is simple enough to see where each bead needs to be placed.

Amelia wanted to help Harold with the truck. They took turns placing the beads (which I had sorted into an egg carton) in the puzzle tray.

I love that the beads fit snugly and securely on the pegs of the tray. Once they are pushed on, they aren't going to fall off. And if you put a bead in the wrong place or put it on upside down you can use the green tool to pick it back up.

In order for these vehicles to become three-dimensional, they are given shape with the aid of these plastic pipes onto which we had to slide beads.

Hannah joined in, helping with these pipes. Even Harold helped with the pipes for a while. The instruction manual showed us the different patterns that needed to be formed on the pipes.

Here are all the pieces at the end of the first "stage."

The next step is spraying the beads on the tray with water.

We had a bit of difficulty here because we weren't sure exactly how much water to use or how long to let it sit to fuse. The beads need enough water to get them to stick together, but we were warned not to drown them. Also, there were 3 different "setting" times. The instruction manual stated 30 minutes. However, this is one of the details we were informed was incorrect. We were told they had to set 60 minutes in the corrected info. So, we made sure to let them sit while we watched our evening show. Unfortunately, when I went to remove the beads, they started to fall apart. I am not sure if this was due to the time or the amount of water used. In the one video we watched, the little girl mentioned leaving the beads to dry overnight. So, after spraying quite a bit more water on, we headed up to bed, hoping that the beads would be set properly in the morning.

Thankfully this worked. I was able to remove the pieces in the morning, though there were some sections where quite a bit of effort was necessary to pull it up. I was so afraid I might break off some beads and we would have to respray it again. The directions say to use the tool to help remove it; however, after trying to use the tool the previous night and having the beads fall off, I was a bit wary about using it. I found that my fingers worked pretty well. 

Here are all the pieces waiting to be assembled.

See how the beads are fused together.

While I worked on the trickier step of assembling the parts, the children got to work on the car.

Tabitha worked on placing the beads on the tray, while Harold and Hannah again worked on the pipes.

The first step in assembling the truck was quite easy, though when we had first seen the directions it appeared a bit confusing. However, once you are up to this step, it really does make sense. The diagram on the bottom of the left-hand page shows exactly where each letter pipe needs to be placed in the side of the truck.

Then we came to a bit of a frustrating step. I knew these black pieces needed to be attached to the remaining pipes; however, from the angle of the picture, it was really difficult to know for sure that I was assembling it correctly.

I wish they had assigned letters to each of these pipes and marked it on the diagram as they had for the side of the truck. Thankfully I finally figured it out.

Now those pieces needed to be attached to the side as the rest of the pipes had been.

I have to say, the trickiest part was putting the second side onto the pipes to finish the body of the vehicles. 

Here's a look at me putting the car together.

It was quite difficult to get each pipe into the correct hole as other pipes kept falling into the way. I had to detach various pipes numerous times and had an awful time fitting my finger into some of the spaces to get them to go where they needed to go. During this process, I had several beads break off. Fortunately they can be reattached with water. However, some of the more decorative beads couldn't be placed in the exact spot without being placed on the tray. And at this point in the process, it is impossible to use the tray. You may be able to tell from the picture below that a couple of the orange beads that were supposed to be on the roof are no longer there. Later in the process the rollbar and part of the black undercarriage became loose as well. Thankfully they can be fixed by respraying with water.

Now all the truck needed was wheels. I think I ended up using the wrong wheels for each of the vehicles. At first I assumed the larger wheels were for the truck, but they didn't have the same design on the wheel or the same kind of tread on the tire as the ones on the picture. I ended up putting the ones that looked like they were the right kind, though they were the smaller ones. Once I had them attached, they were too tight to get apart to try switching them.

I have a feeling if I had used the correct wheels the car would roll a lot more smoothly than it does now. I can't tell for sure, but I think the axles for each vehicle were a slightly different length. I could be wrong, but it seems like I used the longer one for the truck when it was the car that needed it as it had to go through the entire body of the vehicle, where the truck axle didn't have to go as far as the wheels sit underneath the hood and rear of the vehicle.

Fortunately Harold doesn't seem to mind the missing beads or the incorrect wheels. 

Harold and Hannah even made a racetrack for the vehicles, complete with tunnels.

We even had some extra beads, so Harold had a chance to get creative.

I had him make sure to fill in as much of the inner space as possible, and make sure most of the beads were connected at at least two points, as we noticed the beads are much more secure that way.

He loves his little Super Beads Dino, though he wishes it also had wheels.

The pipes are great for allowing 2D creations to stand up!

We had such a fun time putting these projects together, and I am so glad the fun didn't end with the completion of the craft. Harold loves being able to play with his vehicles (and dino). 

While I do wish the directions were a bit clearer at times, all in all it was fun to assemble. Additionally, children are able to work on fine motor skills while assembling the projects. Also important to me were the safety aspects of this product. The beads easily fuse together with just water, and they are non-toxic.

If you would like your younger child to be able to work independently, I would definitely recommend looking into the designs that Zirrly sells that are two-dimensional. However, for older children or younger children who have help, these 3D projects are wonderful ways to get those crafty juices flowing. My fellow Crew Mates and I were able to choose from several different products. If you click on the banner below you can see reviews for these additional products:

You can find Zirrly on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube.

Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought of the various Zirrly products they reviewed.

Super Beads {Zirrly Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer

Throwback Thursday Blog-Style #196: March 22, 2018

Welcome back to... 

I know, I know, Throwback Thursday seems to be all about sharing pictures from the past, great memories that mean something to you, that you would like to share with others. At least that is how it appears to me. Throwback Thursday wasn't something I was participating in, and then I came up with an idea.

I thought it would be great fun and a help to my blog to share old content, but not just any old content. Each week I will share an old blog post from a previous year, any year, BUT it has to be from the current week (for example, something I've posted around March 22nd, from any previous year)  I will go in, edit the post if needed, add a pinnable image if I don't already have one, and share it on Facebook.

Last year I focused solely on recipe posts for the posts I wanted to share, and the year before that, I shared past review posts. It was fun remembering some of the recipes and reviews I had forgotten about. This year I will be sharing random posts.

Would you like to join in? You do not need to edit your past post in any way, you don't need to create a pinnable image, though it couldn't hurt, in fact it will help your blog traffic to add quality pinnable images to your posts.

Just go into your archives, choose a favorite post from this current week from any previous year, and link it up below. (If you don't have anything from this current week, it is still okay to link up with a post from a previous year around this time. And if you haven't been blogging for a full year, feel free to share any earlier post.)

Please make sure to share from the past as instructed above. Most weeks I find that there is a wonderful post, but I can't feature it because it is a current post, not from the past. Sadly, I am going to have to say, I will be deleting posts that do not follow the rules. The spirit of Throwback Thursday Blog-Style is to share posts from the past. Please follow the guidelines.
Thank you

I will be pinning posts to my appropriate Pinterest boards and will be randomly selecting a Featured Throwback Thursday post to share next week. Just a note, I will be sharing a picture from your post if you are selected as the featured post, but I will link back to your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. By linking up you are giving me permission to use your picture in the post. 

Here is my Throwback Thursday post:

Originally posted March 24, 2015
Toddler Ideas Tuesday: Nimby Cloud Crafts

Here is this week's randomly selected
Featured Throwback Thursday:

Pglooney from Looney for Food shared 

To participate, link up below. It would be great if you could visit several of the other posts that have linked up. Stop by, comment, and pin images so we can help each other.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Throwback Thursday Blog-Style permalink please.

Happy Throwback Thursday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Wordless Wednesday: March 21, 2018 (w/linky) : Helping Daddy Build a Bookcase

Looking forward to seeing your Wordless (or not so wordless) Wednesday posts this week.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button on your Wordless Wednesday post or in a list of Wordless Wednesday linkies. Just link it to my Wordless Wednesday permalink please.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Littles Learning Link Up: March 20, 2018- A Cat in the Hat Shape Craft

 Each month you will find:
  • A seasonal round-up (usually toward the beginning of the month)
  • Posts where I share what I have been up to with my early elementary children (including occasional highlight posts where I share how we used ideas that have been linked up here on Littles Learning Link Up).
Each week, I will host a link up, where you can share either what you have been up to recently, or old posts that may go with the theme.  Feel free to link up more than one post.

Each week I will continue to feature a couple of posts from those that have been linked up. 

I hope you will continue to share your wonderful posts, and I hope you will find something new to try with your child(ren).

It would be great for everyone to stop by and visit the other linked-up posts as well. Check them out, leave some comments, pin those that interest you. Let's make this a real party and socialize with each other.

What have we been up to?

This past week we have been fighting a battle against pink eye, and I'm not sure who's winning right now. Yes, even mommy has gotten it. In fact, it's been quite bad some days, and I haven't been able to get as much done as I would have liked. Surprisingly, we haven't fell behind in our Bible reading and history. Though we are a few days behind in The Children's Homer. We have been reading about King Saul and David in the Bible. And we learned a bit about the early Russians and the Scythians. 

For more history fun, we have been playing the File Folder Tomb Dash! game from Home School in the Woods, which is a wonderful review of Ancient Egypt. In fact, I just posted my Home School in the Woods review last night. If you would like to learn more about the fun À La Carte projects we have been using, I invite you to check out that review. 

Sadly, we didn't really do anything for St. Patrick's Day. We never even got a chance to read the books I had taken out of the library. Between all the reading for our Creation to the Greeks topics, and my having pink eye, I just couldn't fit more in. I didn't plan any special meal for Saturday because I wasn't supposed to be home. I really do need to fit more of these fun things in. I miss them, as do the children. 

Anyhow, Resurrection Sunday is coming up. I'm going to have to make sure we do some fun activities to celebrate Jesus. 

Though we haven't really been doing our MFW Science activities, the girls are now in the middle of some science experiments for a Science Fair Exhibit for co-op. Tabitha has been observing the heliotropic actions of Amelia's tomato plant which is in the window. And Amelia is exploring how different solutions affect cut flowers.

Moving on to today's craft. This is a project we made a few weeks ago in the preschool co-op class. I would have posted it sooner, but I was focusing on St. Patrick's Day these past couple of weeks. In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday and Read Across America, we had read The Cat in the Hat and made this simple craft. I found the idea over on the blog titled Non-Toy Gifts. Her Paper Roll Cat in the Hat Craft was one of the crafts that was a part of my Fun With Dr. Seuss Round Up last year. I had thought of making that craft, but it seemed a little tricky for my group, as I have a couple who are quite young. I was thrilled when I found the link to her Cat in the Hat Craft Made With Shapes. This was much more along the lines of what my kiddos were capable of. And it is no secret, I just LOVE shape crafts! She does offer a template, but I always prefer cutting out my own shapes and creating my own. If you prefer the ease of a template, you can find it in her post, where she lists the supplies.

A Cat in the Hat Shape Craft

Here is what you will need:

White construction paper
Black Construction paper
White Cardstock (I used the cardstock so I could have slightly different shades of white)
Red Construction paper
Blue Construction paper
Glue sticks
Black Marker

I actually used a lid from one of my canisters to make the black construction paper circles, and I found a bowl that was slightly smaller to make the white construction paper circles. I cut out white cardstock squares that were about the same width/height as the circle's diameter. Then I cut out 1 inch strips of white cardstock that were slightly longer than the square. These were for the brims of the hats. Then I cut red strips for the stripes, and red triangles and circles for the bowties. I cut the small ovals for the eyes out of the cardstock.

The craft is simple enough for the children to assemble. They glued the black circle in the middle of the blue construction paper, added the white circle in the middle of that, then they added the hat brim and attached the square to the top of the blue paper.

Then it was time to add the stripes.

Next they added the eyes. Then they took turns using the marker to give the cat facial features. A couple of children worked on their cat's faces while the other children attached the bowties under the face.

Here are their Cat in the Hat Shape Crafts:

Let's take a look at that review schedule real quick:

Last week I shared two reviews. The first was for a couple of resources from Parenting Made Practical: the book What Every Child Should Know Along the Way and the DVD Taming the Lecture Bug.  I also shared my review of MathArt in Ancient Cultures from NatureGlo's eScience. Last night I posted my review for the À La Carte projects from Home School in the Woods. Later this week I will share my review of the 3-D Super Bead vehicles from Zirrly. Next week I will share my review of a few books from Carole P. Roman

In April you will be able to read my reviews of a couple of Unit Studies from Creation Illustrated, Traditional Spelling from Memoria Press, a movie titled Princess Cut from Watchman Pictures,, and the Planet 316 Story Book Bible plus app. And in May I will be sharing about some books from Weigl Publishers, along with the mutlimedia content we will be granted access to.

Here are some things I would like to share with you:

Resurrection Sunday is less than two weeks away. Here are a couple of posts to help you focus on Jesus and the Cross this holiday season.

Now onto:
Littles Learning Link Up Features

On my last Littles Learning Link Up post, there were 15 wonderful posts linked up. I will be sharing a randomly selected post and the top clicked-on posts.

Please, don't forget to stop by other posts that are linked up. See what catches your eye, stop by, pin the post to a relevant board, and perhaps leave a comment to let the author of the blog know you have been by for a visit. I know I appreciate others commenting and letting me know they have read my posts, so I am sure others do too.

This week's randomly selected post is:

Lisa from Syncopated Mama shared Latticed Learning - Dinosaurs.

And here are this week's most clicked on posts.
(There were four of them!)

1- Kelly from Our Everyday Harvest shared 30 Snack Ideas Inspired by Dr. Seuss.
2- Gale from Imaginative Homeschool shared St. Patrick's Day Free Faves.
3- Kristen from A Mom's Quest to Teach shared Learning About the Alphabet: D is for Dogs.
4- Kelli from 3 Boys and a Dog shared Books About the Holstein Cow for Children.

Join the Party!

I would love to have you join in this week! What sort of activities do you do with your young children? Do you have some favorite activities you would like to share? I invite you to link up below. I will be pinning posts on one of my relevant boards, and I would love to feature some of the activities each week from what is linked up.

Please know I may share a picture from your post and link back to it, along with sharing how we used your idea in our school time. By linking up you are giving me permission to use a picture from your post. I will ALWAYS give credit and link back. Additionally, if you choose to try out any of the ideas with your child, please make sure you give credit where credit is due.

Linky will be open through Monday night, to give me time to check out all the posts and get the Features organized. Please take the time to visit some of the other wonderful posts linked up.

No button currently, and there won't be one until I can figure it out seeing as Photobucket has changed things. Feel free to still share the picture in place of the button. Just link it to my Littles Learning Link Up permalink please.

I am sharing over at

Homeschool Coffee Break

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