Since I did a review with DD1 a couple of months ago, DD2 has been bugging me to do one too, so I promised her that I’d accept the very next thing that was suitable for her.
So when we were offered MystyleJapanese Best Friend Dolls to review, I breathed a sigh of relief that it was suitable for girls 8 years +. DD2 loves crafty things, especially painting, so she loved the idea of making something that she could give to her friends. It was perfect for her.
The Japanese Best Friend Dolls come with everything you need for the activity, so you don’t need to run around looking for extra bit and pieces. All you need is a flat work surface; it’s a good idea to cover the area with newspaper, and make sure your child isn’t wearing their best cloths, as it can get a bit messy.
As you can see from the photo above, the dolls begin life as simple wooden figures, all ready for painting.
DD was very keen to get on with her dolls, as she had visions of taking them to school the next day and giving them to her friends. But the thing about paint is that it needs to dry. This kit uses acrylic paints and so the best results are gained from painting multiple coats, and giving the layers time to dry completely in between coats.
Of course, DD didn’t want to wait. The instructions say that a layer of paint will dry completely in just 15 minutes, but I don’t think this was quite enough time. It would be a good idea to oversee this part of the activity as I didn’t, and just let DD get on with it. She was happy enough to continue on her own but didn’t let the paint dry well enough, and so we ended up with a bit of smudging on the finished product.
The kit comes with step by step instructions to make three different dolls but there is no reason why your child can’t just design their own, using the paints, stickers and pompoms supplied.
All in all, this was a nice, simple craft kit that didn’t require too much parental supervision. DD needed a bit of help to get the lids off the paint pots, but she managed everything else herself. I thought the stickers might be a bit tricky for her to get off the sheet, but she didn’t find them a problem.
To me, the end product looked a bit rough, on account of not waiting for the paint to dry long enough, but DD was happy enough with them, and that’s what matters isn’t it? And her friends on the receiving end liked their presents as well.
I also liked the idea of introducing my family to a tradition from a different culture. These dolls are based on Japanese Kokeshi, so the whole family has learned about the traditions behind these beautiful little dolls. Reading more about them on the internet could inspire older girls to pain their own designs, instead of simply replicating the suggested ones.
I would recommend the Japanese Best Friend Dolls kit as a good activity suitable for girls from 8 -10 years of age. A competent 7 year old would have no problem with it, but would require more parental help. DD1 was dying to have a go, but had to be banned from the kitchen for the well-being of all concerned.
At a RRP of £9.99 for three dolls, this kit is well priced as a rainy day activity, or even as a birthday present for a creative girl, and can be purchased online from Interplay.com.
For the purpose of this review, the Japanese Best Friend Dolls were provided free of charge. However the opinion expressed above is all my own.