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on February 8, 2010
I have researched the different lacing beads out there and have to say that this is the best set I have found and definitely worth the money! The beads are larger than you might be expecting, since you can't really tell from the picture. The blue and yellow circlular beads are 1 1/2 inches across. The green beads are 1 3/8 inches long and smaller in diameter than the blue and yellow ones. The orange cubes are 1 1/8 inches. To put it into visual perspective, the blue and yellow, circular beads are the exact diameter of the opening of a toilet paper tube. Since they do fit into the toilet paper tube, the 3yr minimum age is appropriate for the potential of being a choking hazard. However, I did purchase these for my 21-month-old who does not put anything into her mouth anymore and enjoys busy work like this. I just supervise her play with them and store them on a high shelf when she is done. My daughter loves them! On another important note, Plan Toys is a wonderful, quality toy company that you can trust to be safe! These beads are not coated in paint that will chip off over time, as most of the others on the market are. They are actually stained with the colors you see. This gives them such a beautiful look and unique durability that can be expected of all Plan Toys. I am thrilled with these! They can be used for fine motor skill developement, as well as color recognition, sorting, and matching. The simple design and vibrant colors are absolutely perfect to enable numerous learning opportunities, especially since each shape is stained in the same repeated color (all cubes are orange, for example). We add dry pasta to the beads for additional things to string with them and just to mix things/textures up a bit.
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on February 6, 2015
These are NOT Plan Toy Brand Lacing Beads. I received cheap knock-offs from a company called "Oriental Trading Company." The blocks are only cut into three shapes and are only painted on the outside. The paint is also very rough and has a strange odor. The lace is also just a cheap shoe lace.
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on June 10, 2012
These are colorful lacing beads with different shapes. The beads were generally well-made on arrival other than a few holes with slightly rough edges. After several months, the beads have held up well. My only complaint is the laces do not have a fixed "end" and as a parent, you must knot a bead on the end of the lace to keep the beads from falling off. You can't simply add a knot to the end of the lace because 1)the holes on the beads are large and they would still slip off, and 2)the lace is a bit slippery and doesn't hold a knot very well (although this is a plus when you want to unknot it!). My toddler has enjoyed playing with these, but usually at my suggestion. She much prefers her "Alex Toys Wooden Stringing Sets - String a Farm" set to these when making a choice between the two sets. The Alex set has a fixed end and the colorful animals can be used for stringing as well as playing. If you are only going to have one set of lacing beads, then I would recommend buying an Alex set. If, like me, you want multiple sets, then these are a good second set to the Alex.
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on November 19, 2010
I just received these, and while the quality is excellent-- smooth wood inside and out, paint that clearly will not chip off-- there are two shades of orange, instead of orange and red. Since one of my main reasons for buying these was to talk about colors with my toddler, this is perturbing to me. Persimmon and marigold are a little bit beyond my boy, who is still working on red and orange-- the basics, please! This seems like a no-brainer, and I'm surprised that a fantastic company like Plan Toys would think this makes sense. Also, the lacing strings do not have plastic tips, which makes this toy more frustrating than fun for my beginning beader, who has no trouble with his lacing cards that do have plastic-tipped strings. I deliberated before spending the extra $$$ on these instead of the Melissa and Doug set, but now I think I'll return these and get the M&D ones after all.
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on January 10, 2013
I really liked the quality and colors of the lacing beads but the strings could use two improvements - one would be to add a "stopper" so that the beads don't just fall off the end (I ended up just tying one of the beads into the string) and the other would be to add a plastic aiglet to the other end to aid in lacing the string through the hole of the bead. For little hands, it's difficult to push the string all the way through the bigger beads. I ended up hot-gluing a Q-tip stick to the end of the string. Once I did that, my 2.5 year old was lacing away! Before I did that, she had no interest.
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on July 22, 2013
Love that they are stained vs. painted. Liked the variety of shapes. Do wish the ends of the strings had the plastic stiffeners on them - hard for a 2 1/2 yr old to get through - though I guess it is supposed to be a challenge. However I think it frustrated my daughter the first time she played with them so she hasn't wanted to try again even though I keep pulling them out. Will try again in a few months. Also, as previously reviewed, the colors are not "basic" red, green, yellow, blue so it is hard to use to help learning colors.
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on September 25, 2014
These seem to be very nice lacing beads, thought they're a little expensive for what you get.

They are made of the usual Plan Toys wood and dye/paint, so they should hold up very well for a long time to come. The variety of beads is pretty good, you get quite a few of them, and you get two strings (at least...).

My only suggestion would be to put some sort of "stopper" at the end of the string, so the beads don't just fall off. Of course, you can always tie a bead at the end, but it would be nice if the set came with something else to serve this purpose specifically. Also, the strings are REALLY long, so you'll probably want to cut them and burn the ends (so it doesn't fray). Finally, maybe including some sort of plastic "needle" would make sense, so younger kids would have an easier time threading the beads; because the string is so limp, my two-year-old sometimes has a hard time getting the string through the holes.

Overall though, a nice lacing bead set, if not a little expensive for what you get.
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on June 1, 2016
Beads are well made with smooth wood and even paint. Lace is hard for my kids to thread because it's just a nylon string; no hard plastic sleeve at the end or anything to keep beads from sliding off other end. Because of this we don't play with them as much as expected.
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on January 27, 2016
My two year old really enjoys these beads. I thought they might be too sophisticated for her, but she can handle them. They really help her focus -- she sometimes plays with them for 30 minutes at a time.
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on May 15, 2013
I have a four year old and was on the fence about this. On the one hand, I love Plan Toys, on the other, this just did not strike me as something with a lot of repeat play potential. I was completely wrong. My daughter absolutely loves this thing. She makes necklaces all the time, and also likes to stack them by color, or just line them up and "make rainbows." Like all Plan Toys, it's beautiful wood and child-safe. The pieces feel like quality and the shapes are interesting and fun to play with - we have even added them to our blocks when building castles. My two year old also likes to make necklaces, and I like that the package came with two laces. My only complaint, and it is very minor - the red, orange, and yellow are not distinct enough to use this for appropriate color learning. The orange and yellow are barely discernible on our set (other than the shape) and the red is more orange (persimmon?) than it is a true red. That being said, neither of my girls cares, and this gets far more play than I expected, even after three months.
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