Friday, April 22, 2016

Creative play with Bunchems

Brought to you by Nuffnang and Funtastic

Some days, I just can't seem to do anything to amuse my children for any length of time. On days when I'm home with them, we usually bake something, we clean up, snack, play outdoors, read and do some drawing, but I guarantee you, despite providing plenty of entertainment, I will inevitably get asked if the TV can be turned on or if the iPad can be used.
I am always on the look out for fun things to do with the kids and keep them away from electronics (not that there isn't a time and place for those too!). My children love craft, but it often ends up with Jimmy trying to draw on Ellie's artwork, the pens get used to paint fingers, people or furniture, or playdoh ends up in places that playdoh should not be. Thanks to well-meaning friends (you know who you are), there are stickers on pretty much every surface in my house, including the floor and the dog. Never let it be said that I do not support artistic activities! To my chagrin, often as soon as it's set up and they get started on an activity, one or both of them will go running off and spread mess fun all over the house. I love to foster creativity and fun, but why is it so messy?!

Enter the postman (who did not knock at all!), fortuitously bearing a box of Bunchems. We got a Mega Box, which comes with 370 Bunchems, a heap of accessories to personalise the creations and a book with ideas to start you off (rrp $39.99). As soon as she saw what was in the box, Ellie asked could she play with them with me. Jimmy took the box they came in and sat in it humming Row, Row, Row your boat. I count that as a win; everyone wanted to play!
Bunchems are furry little plastic spheres that have "burrs" all over, meaning that can be squished and connected together to create whatever you can imagine. They're quite nifty and feel nice from a sensory perspective - I liked rolling them around. Best of all, there is no glue required, and in a tribute to my eco consciousness, Bunchems are reusable, so the possibilities are endless.
I wanted to make the octopus, but I was overruled by the kids who just wanted to squish things together and get creative. It was a fabulous mix of construction and craft, and there are so many possibilities. We made a monster:
Which Ellie then insisted we turn into a Mike Wazowski interpretation:
We also attempted a unicorn from the book:
Ellie made a tiger. I don't see it, but she does, and that's good enough for me:
Jimmy might be too young to really 'get' the concept yet, but we were also learning colours, counting and patterns while we played. I quite enjoyed playing myself, and I definitely enjoyed spending some quiet, screen-free time with the kids too. Although the product is marketed at ages 4+, with supervision, we didn't have any issues. I have heard reports that the burrs can stick to hair and clothing, but we didn't experience that at all.
I suspect these will be a favourite in our house, as a few hours after we'd packed everything away (the perfectionist in me insisted on separating the Bunchems back into colour groups, which irritated my children who wanted to be onto the next activity), they wanted to play again. How can I say no to such creative fun?

What would you create with Bunchems?

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