“ Brand: Spinmaster / Age: 3+ / Type: Sand „
In the past I had heard a lot about Moon Sand, but always thought it was quite a messy product and therefore had never bought any for my daughter. We were given a set to try out by a friend who had two a couple of months ago, so being the kind parent that I am, myself and my daughter sat down to play with it one rainy afternoon. She was very excited as she loves her Moon Dough, and I couldn't explain to her that Moon sand is different. As we opened the box, I realised the box actually acted as the play area. I liked this idea, as despite having laminate flooring in the lounge, I still wasn't relishing having to hoover up stray particles of sand for days afterwards. Within the set we received two different coloured bags of sand, some moulds with different patterns on, and a sweet factory kit that I had to set up to get the production line running in our factory. First impressions of the set itself were good. I liked the way the play set was half set up within the case, with a ramp for the made sand sweets to travel down to the base. The areas for the production line were pre set out and all we had to do after clicking the machine together was slot into the correct space. I decided we would only use one bag and colour of sand on our first go, mainly because my daughter is still quite young for this play set despite being suitable for ages three and above, but I know an older child would probably get more out of the play set itself, when it moves on to designing the sweets with different colours and baking them to paint finished sweets at a later date. The sand itself it very crumbly to start with but the box does state that you can mould it slightly in your fingers to firm it up. I found this worked marginally well, but despite not being a fine grain, I did find small clumps would fall from the whole piece you had moulded to make firm quite often. The idea of the play set is to create different moulded sweets within the machine. Once you have chosen your mould and compacted the sand into one, you set it in the candy press machine and pull the handle down. This triggers the wheel on the machine and turns it, compressing the sand within the mould and pushes it onto the down ramp. Once at the end of the ramp, the mould can be turned upside down and most of the time a perfect sweet made of sand will pop out and can be placed within the shop area of the play set to be sold or played with as required. The two main flaws of the production line I immediately found was that you could only make one sweet well at any given time, the moulds popped out of the wheel if more than one were in at one time. On the third outing this set got, the handle of the candy press machine made a huge cracking sound as we turned it and hasn't worked properly since. From my daughter's point of view, she has had loads of fun just compressing the sand into moulds and making her own sweet shop from it. From an adult's point of view, I find the set to be quite pointless. I understand imagination plays a big part in many games and sets you can buy, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of point to this set other than putting sand into moulds, taking it out and breaking up again to start over again. If you decided to bake and paint the sweets after making, then you have to understand that the sand you were provided with would diminish quite quickly and then the set itself would become even more useless. The sand itself could be left out in the air and not packed away in a sealed bag without too many effects as we found out. I do find that despite keeping within the play set area, there is still plenty of sand that escapes and gets onto the floor. Overall I think the play set is very overpriced at around £18. I personally would rather spend my money on better value play sets that are made stronger and have a purpose to them.