“I am going to make seven sets (of matching charms) for me and Bo Bo.” — Alexander, 8 years old
TDmonthly Magazine’s Tweens & Teens Roundtable made something special for their pets with BowWowMeow’s Make Shrink Art Jewelry and Tags for Your Pet and You Too kits. Although we're not sure how the pets rated the finished items, the reviewers gave this all-inclusive kit a solid 4.5 out of 5 stars — high marks for high fun.
Make Shrink Art Jewelry and Tags for Your Pet and You Too by BOWWOWMEOW Gender: Boys and Girls Category: Arts & Crafts Age: 8 and Up MSRP: $17.99
What It Is: This is a craft kit kids can use to make shrink art jewelry, tags and charms for their pets and themselves. The kit comes with four sheets of shrink film (to make up to 20 tags or charms), six colored pencils, ribbon, alphabet beads, black satin cord, S hooks, parchment paper, a cardboard baking sheet and a hole punch.
What the Moms Thought: Christensen, Lilova and Ledford enjoyed the creativity inspired by the kit. Zuidema found the quality of the shrink film of better quality than another product Alyssa (9) already owned. Several moms appreciated that the kit contained nearly everything necessary to complete the crafts (except scissors and an oven).
“I liked that my whole family was happily engaged in this activity,” raved Christensen. All of the moms thought the packaging was colorful and attractive. Richardson called it “a fun, colorful package for pet lovers!”
What the Kids Thought: “I am going to make seven sets (of matching charms) for me and Bo Bo — one for each day of the week,” Alexander (8) excitedly told his mom. He “loves his dog — and anything he can do that brings a connection between the two of them,” commented Richardson. He did create matching charms for his dog and himself, and "although the dog did not appear to understand how charming it was, Alexander (8) certainly did,” Richardson noticed.
“How does it shrink like that?" asked Joe (9). Sister Victoria (13) also thought watching the drawings shrink was “the coolest” and “oddly fascinating.” Although initially skeptical of the kit, Christensen said, “All four boys really enjoyed watching their creations shrink in the oven.” They told their mom: “This is more fun than I thought!” She heard “lots of laughing as they created the jewelry and tried it on our dogs.”
Radina (12) “enjoyed making all of the different types of tags and necklaces,” observed Lilova, adding “[she] thought it was a very fun toy.”
Alyssa (9) “had fun being creative and felt she was doing our pets a service by adding name tags to their collars,” reported Zuidema. Although Joe (9) is not usually interested in crafts, he “was eager to make something special for his new puppy, Daisy,” Ledford said.
Though age-graded for children 8 and up, the kit held appeal for those younger than Teens and Tweens, with Richardson’s 6-year-old daughter, Christensen’s 7-year-old son, Lilova’s 5-year-old son and Ledford’s 3-year-old son all enjoying the craft immensely.
What the Kids Learned from this Toy: “Alyssa (9) learned a bit about proportions and anticipating the final size of her charms,” noted Zuidema. Ledford point out fine motor skills for younger children and encouragement of creativity, adding, “It is interesting to learn why the shrink film shrinks.” The Christensen boys “learned what it looks like when an object shrinks by 75 percent.”
How to Improve It: Zuidema and Josh (11) suggested including more pictures of cats on the box, since there is only one small image of a cat. “Including templates would allow even preschoolers to be able to enjoy the kit,” Ledford noted. Richardson also thought providing templates would take some of the guess work out of planning for the size of the finished piece. Although Alexander (8) was “thrilled by his first set of tags created for himself and his dog … they had shrunk more than we had expected and, in the end, the design was hard to see!” Richardson reported.
Christensen would like to see “more S hooks and more plastic sheeting, or information about where more supplies could be purchased,” and Lilova thought more sandpaper should be included. Christensen’s husband suggested a few permanent markers; she said, “We found them much easier to use than the colored pencils (and no sanding required!).” She did find that the color comes off rather easily, though, especially on items colored with permanent markers as opposed to colored pencils.
Would You Want Another Toy Like This? This kit “would make a perfect rainy-day activity,” raved Christensen, adding, “When we made jewelry it was sunny and beautiful outside, and we still had a lot of fun!"
Roundtable participants are homeschool parent Sue Christensen with Mac (15), Kent (14), Joshua (11) and Ben (7); Susan Ledford, editor of the "Homeschool Resources Directory for SC,” with Victoria (13), Joe (9), and Griff (3); research scientist Kostadinka Lilova with Radina (12) and Victor (5); World Bank policy advisor Gail Richardson with Alexander (8) and Jessica (6); and. former retail manager Jill Zuidema with Alyssa (9).