I still remember those days where, as a child, I used to play with plasticine in pre-school. Though the smell left much to be desired, the joy of creating animals (especially snakes as they were so easy to shape and mold), vehicles and of course, food, more than made up for it. Hours and hours of fun just creating something out of lumps of colorful plasticine.
Things have improved a lot since then. These days, there are so many types of modeling materials (clay, kinetic sand, dough, plaster, etc.), tools (cutters, rollers, stampers, extruders, etc.) and brands (Crayola, Fimo, Play-Doh, Tutti Frutti, Kare & Kind, etc.) to choose from that the mind boggles just thinking about it.
NB: From some research, we found out that the Peipeile tools in this review are very similar to those of Kare & Kind.
After a bit of survery, we finally took the plunge and bought our first modeling set: PeiPeiLe Dough Fastfood Center. For the simple reason that it was so much cheaper than the other brands we found like Play-Doh. Though the dough wasn’t as soft and pliable as Play-Doh, it was still playable. But what I really like about it was the fact that it was half the price yet given double the tools and items.
The PeiPeiLe Fastfood Center set contains:
- 8 pots of bright colorful dough (white, green, purple, red, blue, yellow, brown, orange)
- 1 ice cream machine
- 1 dough press/extruder
- 1 spoon, 1 fork, 1 knife
- 4 ice cream cups
- 2 rectangular plates/trays
- 4 round plates (or rather 2 round plates and 2 oval bowls)
- 1 spatula
- 1 shooter (similar to a toy syringe)
- 1 waffle mold
- 1 roller
- 4 vegetable stamps
- 4 rulers (2 for ice cream machine and 2 for the dough press)
So, armed with only the memories of playing with plasticine those many years ago, it was time to indulge in a favorite childhood playtime again.
When all the items were out of the box, first thought that came to mind was: “Wow! So many things to explore, to use, to play with. Which one to use first?”
While the ice cream machine was the main item, I really like the dough press best. This is because many different little molds (teddy bear, heart, flower, sweet, etc.) can be found on the sides for additional oomph! You can simply roll a small round dough and press it in the mold so that it overflows around the mold evenly. Then, lift it up gently. Ta-daa! You have a pendant-like teddy bear.
As for the dough press itself, simply insert a ruler and place the desired design at the “mouth”, pull up the handle, put in some dough and press the handle. However, in my opinion, the dough wasn’t very soft so a bit of strength was needed to push it out of the dough press. My 27-month-old son came to me for help in dispensing the dough.
The ice cream machine comes in two parts. Very easy to assemble and use. While it is not as fancy as the Play-Doh Perfect Twist Ice Cream Playset, it gets the job done. Choose the desired shape from the rulers given and place that shape at the “mouth” of the machine. Then, just pull up the handle, put in some dough, insert the core, press the handle and the “ice cream” will come out. Use one of the cups given to “catch” the ice cream. For creative experimenting, just mix two or three colors of dough. As a final touch, you may want to create rice sprinkles, biscuits, cherries, etc. as decorations.
What I don’t like about the ice cream machine is cleaning it. While the dough is not sticky, it is a bit troublesome to extract the dough that tends to get into the hidden nooks. Something long and sharp like a toothpick is needed to pick it out.
The rulers are a lot of fun. Besides being used with the ice cream machine and dough press to create long strings, spaghetti, whipped cream, etc. they can be used to create standalone designs as well. Easy enough for young children to do.
The vegetable stamps are simple for children to use as well. Just put some dough in it and press down on a flat surface. Trim off the excess using the spatula given. Finally, gently peel off the dough from the stamp.
The waffle mold works similarly to a real waffle maker. First, roll a bit of dough. Then, use the roller to flatten the dough a bit and place it in the mold. Press down firmly. Trim off the excess using the spatula given and peel off from the mold. Finally, serve on one of the plates given. For decorative purpose, can add a bit of whipped cream or honey to make it more realistic.
The other tools like ice cream cups, oval bowls, utensils, etc. are all in bright, attractive colors which really appeal to children.
By looking at the pictures on the box, we can already create many items like waffles, burgers, hotdogs, macaroni, ice cream and spaghetti just to name a few. As for the rest, just use your creativity and imagination.
The dough in the tubs wasn’t as soft as I would like as some strength was needed to it push out of the ice cream machine and dough press. We must also remember to put the leftover dough back in its container to keep it soft as leaving the dough out in the air hardens it. We left some dough outside for three days as an experiment. It hardened and even though we added water to soften it, the texture was never the same as before.
NB: We added quite a bit of water into the containers with the dough inside. Left them for two weeks. The dough became soft again. Too much water made some too sticky and too soft to mold properly. If you can administer the correct amount of water, the dough can be as good as the Play-Doh quality.
What I really like is the scent of the dough. It has a nice smell, not plasticky like the plasticine years ago.
The colors are also bright and attractive. Different colored dough can be mixed to create a new color, e.g. white and red produce pink dough.
The dough is not sticky that it sticks to the items. It is very easy to clean up. When used properly, it mixes well, rolls well, stretches and does not break easily.
It is stated that the dough is non-toxic, non-irritating and non-allergenic except children who are allergic to wheat gluten may have an allergic reaction to it.
What We Like About It
- Tools that are easy to assemble and use
- Many different accessories like serving plates, trays, etc.
- Different little molds all around the ice cream machine or dough press
- Bright-colored and scented dough
- Encourages creativity and imagination in children
- Hours of fun for children of all ages
- Made using safe materials
- Tested for quality and durability
- Affordable price
What We Don’t Like About It
- Cleaning the hidden nooks in the ice cream machine
- Young toddlers may need help to push out the not-so-soft dough (on the other hand, it is great for building hand strength)
- Have to find the right consistency for the dough by adding water a little bit at a time
As the dough tends to harden over time and some may be mixed up too much that they become an unrecognizable color, some mommies may want to save money by making their own dough as shown here.
In conclusion, the pros more than outweighs the cons. Besides encouraging their creativity, playing with this playset can keep the children occupied for hours. Definitely a good investment.