I was recently sent some PlayMais from Crafter's Companion to review with the children. It's not a crafting material that I'd heard of before, but you can choose from a wide range of sets, both themed sets with instructions to build particular things, or sets which just contain lots of the little coloured pieces. I chose the PlayMais Fun to Learn Numbers set, priced at £11.99, which contains over 550 PlayMais pieces, along with printed cards, a cutting tool and a sponge.
So what is PlayMais? Well it's actually very similar to packing peanuts, albeit in much prettier colours. The soft, squashy pieces are made of corn starch, water and food colouring, meaning that it is natural, safe, and 100% biodegradable. When you dampen the PlayMais pieces they become sticky, meaning that you can stick them to each other and to other surfaces, for example cardboard. Then when they have dried out they become hard and solid.
PlayMais is recommended for children aged 3+ (although I think that younger children would also have fun with it if supervised!). I set both children off first with the number card activities.
This whole set is themed around numbers, and it comes with a set of 14 cards. The cards each have a number and a picture, with coloured outlines for where you need to stick the pieces. Some of the outlines are smaller, some larger, and some are shaped, so there is plenty of scope for practising different designs. There are also four cards with shapes that can be pressed out to make a small train and carriages with little animals to go inside. We've not got to those yet but I know that the children will have fun making it.
Mia loved putting her picture together. She wasn't particularly bothered about matching the colours but she was very proud of her finished picture. Harry did enjoy pressing the PlayMais onto the cards, but he had more fun using it to build his own 3D creations. He quickly saw that the pieces resembled bricks, and so with a thick piece of card as the base he built a sweet little house complete with doors and windows. I helped him with it and really enjoyed it, I think we'll be building more of these!
There were loads of pieces in the set in a range of bright colours. Definitely enough to complete all the cards with some left over for free creating. It wasn't too messy, we did get a bit sticky but it was easily cleaned up. The PlayMais pieces are definitely biodegradable too, Harry enjoyed putting a couple in a bowl of water and watching them dissolve.
If you're looking for a fun new craft to try with the children then I'd definitely recommend PlayMais. There is a lot of scope for the things that you can create.
We received this PlayMais set to review.