Reviewed by Melody Floyde
When I found out that we would be reviewing the Cra-Z-Sand playset I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as from the description on the internet it sounded intriguing. It was described as ‘sand that never dries out and comes alive before your eyes that can be played with indoors or out with no mess’. The no mess aspect was particularly appealing given that it would be my four year old son who would mostly be playing with it and he makes lots of mess!
The playset arrived in a fairly large brightly coloured box which had lots of photos of cra-z-sand being moulded and used in different ways. I found the box very visually appealing and my son was very excited to open it. There was a fair amount of excess cardboard in the box but this wasn’t a problem as it went straight into our recycling box anyway.
One slight negative point was that one of the pictures on the front of the box was a little misleading in that it showed a picture of a fish shaped mould which was not included in the pack. The actual contents of the box were shown in a small photo and listed on the back of the box, these were 1.5lbs Cra-z-sand, 1 tray, 1 roller, 3 shaping tools and instructions.
Now for the Cra-Z-Sand itself, this came in a resealable clear plastic bag and was in a solid block. The instructions said to gently loosen the sand with fingers into the sturdy blue plastic tray before playing with it. This was very quick and easy to do.
The best way I can think of to describe the Cra-z-sand is that it is a cross between play dough and sand. It felt slightly damp and cool to the touch. Our set came with tan coloured sand but I understand but there are a variety of different colours available. There was enough sand in the bag to half fill the tray which was perfect as this allowed enough room to play with the sand and to build with it without losing too much out of the sides of the tray. I found the sand fascinating as it really did appear to move on its own. I found it quite therapeutic to run it through my fingers and then watch it moving in the tray, I could have played with it for hours!
The tools that came with this set were obviously designed for making some serious sand sculptures, rather than basic sand castles, which myself and my partner found great fun but was a bit beyond our four year old son’s ability and we didn’t quite manage to replicate those in the photos! The tools and tray were all very sturdy plastic and felt good quality.
This set is marketed as for age 4+ years but in my personal opinion I would say it would be more suitable for an older child who would want to concentrate on building sand sculptures. Our son wanted to build sand castles and shapes like he would do on the beach and this set didn’t have the tools for this (although they are available in other sets!) but this was easily resolved with a few old yogurt pots and moulds from his beach bucket set and he was well away. He did find it difficult to keep the sand in the tray as it is fairly small, but as he was playing on our dining room table it wasn’t a problem and it was very easy to pick up any excess sand using a clump of sand to gather it up.
When it was time to pack up I was very pleased that the sand fitted back into its original bag and everything went neatly back into the box. The tray and tools just needed to be wiped with a soft cloth to clean them first.
One slightly negative point was that the instructions provided in the box were obviously generic for all Cra-z-sand sets and described how to use a sand mould and different colour sand to make objects. We couldn’t do either of this with our set and in my opinion it would have been good to have had more specific instructions for this particular set such as how to use the different tools etc… It would also have been good to include a sand mould in the set if it is aimed at young children.
However this is just a small negative and overall I found this a great item and completely different to anything else we’ve got, which we will enjoy playing with lots and I can see us adding to our Cra-z-sand collection in the future so that we can make bigger and better sculptures!
Suitable age: 4 years +
Available to buy from Character Online here.