NOT a sponsored post, and NOT a freebie. We were stupid enough to pay for this ourselves.
This is almost a story of two halves. Or lots of little pieces. I’ll explain.
It was recently son number two’s birthday. Among all the fabulous presents he received and is loving playing with was something which was bought for him by his parents. Call it pester power, but said son had seen the Creepy Crawler Bug Maker on a cITV advert (that’ll teach me for letting him watch television. It was at the weekend, m’lud, and, ahem, I needed a lie-in) and thought it looked the business. Against my better judgement (well, I would say that…) it was bought, wrapped, and opened amidst much glee. At this stage I should confess that it cost £38.99. Yes, nearly £40. Enough to buy a scooter or half a night in a budget boutique hotel. Not that I’m bitter or anything.
The son and his fraternal cohorts had convinced themselves, and therefore me, that the bugs were edible and part of a game. I tried to convince myself that the eventual game would be educational and teach them about mini beasts. No such luck.
Basically, you pop out a couple of coloured jelly-like pods from some pill-like packaging, place them in the Creepy Crawler Bug Maker machine, wait for it to heat up, then ooze the resulting heated goo into a bug mould. Bug mould is then cooled, before resulting bug is taken out. This bit was given a quasi-scientific bent with the instructions advising to use the enclosed plastic tweezers. No need. Even our one-year-old baby managed to pick out a bug, and he also managed to play with it in the only way possible, by squishing it.
Nothing educational about that, nor about the insect’s anatomical details. The only variant on the play was the ability to create bugs filled with goo, all the better to squish.
As I said, though, this was a story of two halves. Naturally, my four boys aged six to one, were thrilled at being able to create disgusting slightly slimy bugs. Once they realised they were not only allowed to squash them, but that this was the entire point, they were in heaven. So I let them have their fun, and it was about two hours of fun in all. Which isn’t bad for a weekend afternoon in the kitchen. But we’ve only enough jelly pods left to make three or so more bugs. You can recycle existing bugs, according to the instructions, but they didn’t give instructions on scraping the stuff off the walls. Besides, none of the children have mentioned using their bug maker again. So I feel thoroughly ripped off and might just have to sell the TV. Or make it an ad-free CBeebies-only zone.
So, the Scores on the Doors:
What the children like: Making like Frankenstein and creating grim bugs that they’re allowed to squash
What I like: Erm, not much. Guess it kept them quiet for an hour or two. Though for the same price we could have enjoyed a pizza takeaway. Twice.
What the children aren’t sure about: Helping mummy clear up the goo created by squishing the bugs.
What I’m not sure about: The point. What is the point? Why create uselessly expensive bugs that will be ground into the carpet and over the walls, and cost about £6 each to make?
The verdict: Save your money. You’d get as much fun from a vat of Plasticine at a fraction of the cost.
SCORES ON THE DOORS? 4/10, and that’s only because the children enjoyed playing with it and couldn’t understand why I kept saying, ‘Are you actually enjoying this?’