Pianojazzgirl, here's some more encouragement to give into temptation and purchase hand bells......
I'm glad I purchased mine and the students love them. I have a C major metal set and an F major plastic set of hand bells plus C major desk bells.(Thanks for reminding me, I haven't brought them out in a while!) I'd be careful to check first if they are in tune as some instruments such as bells and xylophones from toy shops are not. Yes, I am one of those annoying customers who wants to open packages and try first! I've even had to return an out of pitch xylophone from an education supplier. Yet I was surprised to find good quality bells in a 'two dollar' store sold individually so I bought an octave set plus an extra C E G. Bargain!
I use my hand bells for introducing the major scale/triad/arpeggio, for scale degrees, for stepping/skipping/intervals and for playing simple tunes and ostinato. I have used them at group class where 8 students have a bell each and myself or a student conducts the playing of a melody. In instrument free play with groups of young students the bells are the first thing to be snapped up.
Another thing to be careful of, my first set of plastic bells had black foam rubber to attach the bell shape to the metal chime and I stored them where it was too hot and the rubber perished.
Thanks Amanda, I like the idea of using bells for echo patterns and with flash cards. I will try this