I just love Hama beads, and hope to do some beading with them some day, but in the mean time when my kids need a little activity and Mommy is too busy to sit with them or come up with something interesting, so I try to encourage working with these fun little plastic beads, as it builds fine motor coordination and is a true exercise in patience! My six year old, who made the happy face, was actually copying the exact design from a 11 year old neighbor's piece, and almost gave up, but sat a full 1 3/4 hours to finish this!
We do have quite a few of these little hama bead works of art, so I'm planning on mounting them all on a large white board and framing it, or at least that's the plan for the moment. And no, my kids have no idea about the origins of happy faces and peace signs, but since the 70's are back in full force they seem to be everywhere, even in our tiny little corner of the world!
For those of you not familiar with these little beads, they are actually available in a few sizes worldwide, and the designs are made on a plastic base, and then the beads are melted together using an iron. Fun for all ages, and really unlimited if you get a large base to work on.