Friday, April 22, 2016

Funtastic ‘Bunchems’ Play Invitation

{ This Product Talk is brought to you by Nuffnang and Funtastic ‘Bunchems’ }

At our place we do a fair amount of art & craft and sensory & messy play. It does involve a bit of work, especially with the clean up. But the children all love it and it’s good for them too… getting all their creative juices flowing, practising their hand-eye coordination skills, stimulating their various senses.

Though sometimes, it’s also nice to have a break from all the clean up and mess-management. So when I came across ‘Bunchems’, I was immediately intrigued. All the creative, crafty, hands-on play with some funky-looking material without any of the icky-sticky-gooey mess.

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The Bunchems Mega Pack comes with:

400 pieces of little Bunchems;
36 accessories to embellish your creations with;
And one ideas booklet.

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I laid out everything on our big play table as a ‘Bunchems Play Invitation’. My little ones were so excited they could hardly finish their afternoon tea in their eagerness to begin playing with the little ‘spiky pom-poms’ as they called them.

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The pieces are fairly intuitive to work with. Just like the name, you simple bunch ‘em together to make whatever you like. Each little Bunchem piece is covered with tiny hooked spikes which grab hold of each other when attached.

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Five-year-old Nathan got the hang of it almost immediately——coming up with ideas on what to make, figuring out how to arrange the pieces and positioning them in the right way to attach the various accessories on. It was so much fun exploring the different accessories and thinking of creations to make use of each accessory.

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One of my three-and-half year old girls also got the hang of how the pieces work fairly quickly. Though she needed a bit of guidance on coordinating the accessories and positioning the pieces in the right way to attach the accessories on.

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And it’s amazing just what a few features and accessories can transform a simple clump of Bunchems into. It’s all about accessorising!

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The two and three year olds were eager to be part of the action as well. They enjoyed exploring the unusual texture of the spiky Bunchem pieces and attempting to stick them together. They were more focused on the process of attaching the Bunchem pieces together rather than the end result—-which is typical of younger children around that age anyway.

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I had sort of anticipated this, so I already prepared some containers, bowls and utensils in the play invitation for the younger children to incorporate into their play and exploration process. They used the tongs and spoons to pick up the pieces and collect them into the different bowls and containers.

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The Early Childhood Educator side in me can already see opportunities for colour sorting games, counting, shape recognition activities with the little ones using these Bunchems.

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The children then further extended the play into their own pretend and role play, doing some cooking in the play kitchen using the Bunchems. I was treated to a variety of colourful Bunchem cakes, soups and ice cream.

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Funtasic ‘Bunchems’ are definitely a highly versatile and construction toy, craft material and open-ended pieces for imaginative play. I am glad to have it included in our collection of creative-play toys and materials to support the learning and development of the children under my care.

If you can think it, you can create it with Bunchems!

 

Some closing thoughts on Funtastic ‘Bunchems’…

I personally like Funtastic ‘Bunchems’. They are a fun and engaging toy and are a unique combination of construction-type toys and creative-sensory-type material.

The recommended age of 4+ for this toy is pretty spot on. My five-year-old son was able to engage with the toy very quickly and easily to create and construct with them. The under four-year-olds enjoyed the toy from a sensory and explorative perspective, but generally did not focus on constructing anything in particular with the pieces--though they thoroughly enjoyed playing with it anyway in their own way.

Based on my observations on how the different children under my care engaged with the toy, I would say Bunchems is somewhat a tad bit more of a girls’ toy. Boys definitely enjoy the wacky side of Bunchems-- coming up with weird and interesting creations. However they might find limitations in the types of constructions they can build with the Bunchems pieces which allow them to extend their creations into more solid, action-type play. This is strictly my own personal opinion based only on my observations of the boys in my care. And every boy is different after all. I do not intend to gender-stereotype in any kind of way. I always strive to minimise gender-stereotype play while at the same time respecting the fact that boys and girls are different. Bottom line is still that both girls AND boys will certainly enjoy Bunchems as an open-ended toy and craft material to fuel their creativity and imaginative play.

I’ve heard some of the cautionary stories and news about the dangers of Bunchems due to the fact they can get badly tangled in hair and clothes. I had seen some images circulated around of a girl’s hair all horrifically frayed and tangled up with Bunchem pieces. The children under my care don’t seem inclined at all to putting stuff in their hair so I would say the risk of a drama like this happening is not dangerously high. But I suppose you’ll never know what kids can get up to when left to their own devices. If you or your kids ever find yourself in this situation, just refer to this tutorial on how to get those clingy pieces out of your (or their) hair. 

{ I received this product in exchange for a review but my opinions are completely genuine and honest }

1 comment:

  1. When I first saw these I totally thought my daughter would turn it into a colour sorting activity haha. I don't think she'd be old enough to understand the construction side of the toy, but having said that it means they would be a great toy that would continue to grow with them.

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