Reviewed by Louise Totton
We have just spent a very enjoyable afternoon with the kids, stuck in the house on a rainy day when we were supposed to be at the now rained off village fete. And no, that is not a note of sarcasm you detect – we really did have a lovely afternoon in spite of our last minute change of plans because we took the opportunity to embrace the indoors and spend some quality time with the kids.
We had a look in our Rainy Day cupboard and asked the kids which activity they’d like to try out, and the response was unanimous – they both wanted to build their Hacche Paper Craft Pop Up 3D Monkey kits. These little kits are completely flat pack and allow the kids to fully construct a cardboard monkey that they can squash and ‘pop up’ by dropping on the floor as often as they like.
We sat down at the playroom table with the girls (aged 7 and 9) and made sure we had plenty of clear, flat space. The kit is contained in a brightly coloured cardboard envelope which has a picture of the finished product on the front, so the kids knew what they were working towards. We opened the envelopes to find that each kit contained two sheets of card which had pre-cut and coloured patterns for constructing the monkeys (body, head and feet), as well as a bag containing the instructions, just the right amount of double-sided tape and two elastic bands.
The figures are constructed on a modular basis – the head is one piece, the body is another and the feet are a third construction. The instructions told us to first construct the head, which is done by pressing the net out of the cardboard and pre-folding the tabs and flaps. Two specific parts are then stuck together with the tape, and then the rest of the tabs and flaps fold into each other. There are a few tricky bits, especially where you have to hook the elastic band into the structure before folding in the final tab, and for this part, the adults had to take over for both of the kids.
The body is constructed in exactly the same way, but on a larger scale and at this point it becomes obvious how the monkey will fit together and work. We added the feet before sticking the head on and we were pretty much done – with the exception of the popping part! There is a tab piece that allows the whole cardboard monkey to concertina together and the tab holds in in place. The flat monkey is then dropped from a height and the monkey pops back up to its 3D self!
We had a wonderful time with this little kit. On the face of it, £7.99 each does seem a little expensive for what is essentially a couple of sheets of card, but the value in a set like this is the quality time you will spend with the kids whilst you make it together. Adult supervision is definitely needed, and at various points, adult intervention was too. Some of the parts are quite fiddly and in places, it needed an adult to interpret the instructions but with teamwork, we had the monkeys made and happily popping within around 45 minutes.
We started off this activity with just the one adult, but I have to say that it was much easier with a second adult helping too – the kids got much more from it when they each had an adult helping them but with two older kids, I think one adult would manage just fine. The only issue we had with this was that we found that the kids couldn’t easily follow the instructions without the help of an adult, so it does require the parent to be supervising throughout rather than being able to leave the kids to it at certain points. We have also had to use proper Sellotape on the outside to strengthen them as the tabs do have a habit of popping out, which is a bit frustrating after they have spent all that time building them.
Having said that, we still think that this is a great rainy-day activity to enjoy with the kids and we all had a very pleasant afternoon working on them together.
Available to buy from Amazon here.