I have since learned that they are called Pop Beads. You might think that I would be sturdily against some gendered jewelry-making toy, made of plastic, no less, but I have no quibble here. These things are AWESOME.
Sure, you can make jewelry, with the ring and bracelet findings that come with the set (well, our "set" was contained in an unmarked cardboard box, but I'm assuming that the contents of the box consisted of one set)--
--but this is a really cool and really versatile building toy aside from the jewelry-making components. Sydney prefers imaginative play to jewelry, and so she made all the pop beads that she got her hands on into little people, usually with funny hats. They happily join in to play with the small ponies and plastic dinosaurs.
The only negative aspect of the toy is that the bracelet base isn't sized for an adult man. But Matt gamely sported his beautiful pop bead bracelet, made for him with love, for much of last Sunday, only quoting what one horrible train-wreck mother taught her preschool daughter to say as she was getting spray-tanned and her eyebrows plucked and having false eyelashes applied and fake front teeth inserted on this one episode of Toddlers and Tiaras that we watched--"It hurts to be beautiful."