Before Christmas, I received an email. It was from a man named Mark Sumner, and he wanted to know if the Bubster and I would like to test out a set of Foamë. I thought for a second, and then another second, and then another. And I still had no idea. What in the name of Macaulay Culkin was Foamë?
The answer is a selection of squishable building blocks that come in various shapes and sizes and can be made into objects like boats and robots – think the new LEGO, but soft. It’s made by a family run start-up based in Cramlington, Northumberland. It’s aimed at kids aged three or older. And it’s able to be used anywhere you would like to use it, including the car, garden, shower and bath. Set prices start from £15, but, full disclosure, we were gifted the £30 Voyages pack.
The Bubster vs Foamë
Within two minutes of the Foamë arriving, the Bubster had ripped open the exterior packaging, undone the zip and poured every bit of the 130-piece set on the floor. Positively, because it’s made from foam, none of the bits bounced too far under the sofa. And even more positively, because it’s foam, none of the pieces caused debilitating damage to the underside of my foot.
Armed with the excitement of youth (the Bubster) and the exhilaration of five hours sleep (me), we began to build. Pretty quickly, two things became obvious. First, it’s relatively simple to find pieces that can be stuck together to create some kind of bunch, line, cross or stick man. Second, it’s a lot more difficult to form a discernible object. Happily, the folks at Foamë have art deficient parents like myself covered. Each set contains an instruction book that’s filled with suggested constructions. Simply pick a design, find the pieces and follow the building guide, and you’ll be able to craft something vaguely impressive (see below pic).
Sounds great, anything else parents should know?
Yes, quite a lot, so I’ve made a list.
- Foamë really comes into its own in the bath. I’ve not included any bath time pictures (for obvious reasons), but the suggested constructions float nicely and the pieces dry quickly.
- The latter of these positives is mainly due to the sets coming in a zip-up “drip dry” satchel that has drainage holes in the bottom and a suction pad you can hang it up with.
- This product is slightly harder to use than traditional construction toys like LEGO and PLAYMOBIL, as some of the pieces take a bit of forcing in, and others need to be supported while bits are being inserted into them.
- The cubes you pop out of the larger pieces are pretty small. They can be kept and re-plugged in, but if you have little one it’s probably a better idea to get rid of them.
- Preschool kids who enjoy the bish, bash, bosh, make a tower and then knock it down nature of LEGO will find Foamë a little fiddly. I know this, because the Bubster is a preschool kid who enjoys the bish, bash, bosh, make a tower and then knock it down nature of LEGO, and he found Foamë a little fiddly.
So, is Foamë the new LEGO?
In a word, no. But don’t let that put you off. Foamë is a fun, plastic-free bath toy with high production values that will really appeal to kids who enjoy a design challenge.
Want to buy some or find out more? Visit the Foamë website.
Until next time…