We were sent a couple of boxes of PlayMais for Garden Girl and Garden Boy to try out and Garden Girl in particular has been having great fun with it. I had never actually heard about PlayMais before we were sent some to try but we love doing crafty things so we were all excited to try something new. So what exactly is it?

PlayMais is an eco-friendly craft material made from a mixture of maize, semolina, water and natural food colourings so is completely biodegradable. Each box contains loads of different coloured pieces of PlayMais, each piece about the size of a toe. Then all you need is a wet flannel to make the pieces wet. Once the pieces are wet they can be stuck together in any way you want to make whatever you want. They also include a plastic picnic knife in the box so you can cut the pieces smaller to make things like eyes or zebra stripes. You can see from the box some of the amazing things that can be made by older children. But how did my two get on with it?

Well Garden Boy at age two is too young for it really.This is one toy where the age 3+ really is accurate. He loved playing with it but didn’t really get it. He was much more interested in squashing the pieces of PlayMais and ‘glueing’ them to the table than actually building a model with them. I managed to encourage him to try and make a lion but to be honest I did a lot of it myself trying to show him what to do. The ball of PlayMais next to the lion in the picture is his lion’s cage and he also made some ‘stompy elephant toes.’

Garden Girl (age 4) however grasped the idea much more quickly and made a fairy sleeping in a house with a tree, flower and sign post outside. She went on to make a jelly and has become quite skilled in making models with the PlayMais. Because it doesn’t involve using glue to stick the pieces together it is not at all messy and really easy for her to do. All that is really needed is some imagination which she has in abundance and she is content for a long time just building things with it. What she does struggle with is cutting the pieces of PlayMais and I have to admit that I also didn’t find it very easy to cut with a picnic knife. It didn’t matter how gently we cut the pieces we usually ended up squashing them in the process so in the end we switched to using scissors which was much more effective.

Building models isn’t the only use for PlayMais. Once it is wet you can stick it to lots of different surfaces, such as paper, card and even glass. We haven’t tried sticking it to glass yet but we did have a go at making a birthday card with it. I forgot to take a photo before we posted the card but the results were really quite effective and this task was much easier for Garden Boy than building models so is a way in which he can use it when his older sister is making models.

When the PlayMais is wet the colouring, as you would expect, does start to run but not so much that it is too messy. Garden Girl does usually get a bit of colouring on her clothes but no where near as much as when she paints and so far it has all come out in a normal wash.  You can’t really pull the pieces apart to reuse as they are quite hard to separate without squashing them and will be stained if they have been stuck to a piece of a different colour but given the fact that this craft material is made from entirely natural materials and is 100% biodegradable you can let your little ones work through it with a clear conscience.

Garden Girl gets a lot of pleasure out of creating models with PlayMais but it is also suitable for older children who will be able to make much more detailed models. You can buy large boxes of PlayMais or they also come in themed packs which include cardboard backings that help you create specific scenes. We were sent the jungle pack which included jungle scenery backings and instructions on how to make various animals, park ranger and vehicle. This was too complicated for Garden Girl and Garden Boy so we just made whatever we wanted from the pieces and when this box and the large box we were sent have run out we will definitely be buying more.

If your children like doing craft they will love PlayMais and you can buy it on Amazon here.