* Prices may differ from that shown
Before my daughters break up from school for any of the holidays I began picking up a few toys and putting them away so that they have some fun things to do and play, especially on those rainy days. There is quite a large age gap between my girls (10 & 4), so sometimes it can be a little difficult finding toys and activities suitable for them to participate in together. I find craft activities are ideal as both my children love creative play and using their imaginations to make a variety of different things. Play-Doh is therefore an essential holiday item, of course there are many cheaper alternatives available, but in my experience Play-Doh is simply the best. I was delighted to discover Sainsbury's had a toy sale on ( 1/3 off) and it was whilst I was picking up a pack of four Play-Doh tubs that I noticed this Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Frosted Bakery discounted from £15.99 to £10.65. I really liked the look of it and thought it was something my daughters would enjoy playing with together and added it to my basket.
Yesterday it was a particularly miserable day, in fact I don't think it stopped raining at all, my daughters were looking a little bored and so I thought this to be the perfect time to get out the Play-Doh Sweet Shop Frosted Bakery.
Play-Dohs Sweet Shop Frosted Bakery comes in a medium sized box. The front shows a picture of the toy and the back a picture of two children playing with it, there are various picture examples of what the product does and what designs can be made with it. There is also a picture of the four tubs of Play-Doh which are included consisting of two regular tubs and two Play-Doh Plus tubs. A few warnings are also given such as "fun to play with, but not to eat". The packaging is very bright and colourful, it looks incredibly fun and my daughters were immediately interested in its contents.
Instead of a list of contents there is a picture, but I will briefly list the contents here:
* The stamping station
* x2 regular Play Doh tubs (colour may vary)
* x2 Play Doh Plus tube (colour may vary)
* 4 shape stampers (heart, flower, star & square)
* 1 plastic cake tin
* 1 plate, 1 fork, 1 knife & one cake slicer
* 1 frosting maker / "excruder"
* 4 frosting maker tips
* Various moulds
* Assembly Instructions
All the pieces come wrapped in separate bundles but it didn't take long to open everything up. Some adult assembly is needed, instructions are given but really its just a case of slotting a few pieces onto the main base, its really simple and took literally two minutes.
As mentioned earlier the set comes with 4 Play-Doh tubs - 2 regular and 2 Play Doh Plus. To be honest I had never heard of this Play-Doh plus before so I think it is worth quickly comparing the two. Hasbro claim that the Play-Doh plus has a softer texture which makes it easier to squeeze. Holding the regular in one hand and the Plus in the other I have to agree with Hasbro's claim, it certainly have a softer feel to it and if I am honest I actually prefer the general feel of the "plus" compared to the harder original. Hasbro suggest that the "plus" version is best for the frosting on top of the cakes. All four tubs are quite small, being just 170g each, so I would certainly recommend buying a few larger tubs too, especially if more than one child will be playing.
The stamping station itself is of a decent size, I think it is suitable for between 1-2 players, both my daughters were able to sit in front if it and play together. It is incredibly colourful and very eye catching, it is quite girlie with plenty of pinks which may put some boys off. It is made of thick quality plastic, my youngest daughter frequently dropped pieces on the floor and they didn't break or split, so I feel it is of a very good quality.
Hasbro state on the box that the toy is suitable for children 3+, but I think young children will need quite a lot of adult supervision. My four year old needed a lot of help and she did find some parts rather difficult and frustrating. My ten year old daughters found using the stamping station and making the cakes fairly easy, I feel she would have been fine using the toy by herself.
There is a stamper on one side to make the base of the cake, there is a choice of four shapes (square, star, heart & flower), my daughters found it rather difficult to keep changing the stamper, so it wasn't much changed during play.
The base of the cake is then placed under the frosting station. The frosting maker is to be filled with Play-Doh plus and the desired tip is to be connected. There are three tips which can be connected, all of which squirt the Play-Doh out on a different shape. We found the tips would easily fall off during play so we had to ensure they were tightly screwed on frequently. This is were the Play-Doh plus really came into its own, its soft texture made it ideal for the "frosting", it squirted out of the frosting maker much easier than the original, plus it did not get stuck or clog up the accessories.
The "cakes" can be decorated with the "frosting" and / or the various moulds. The finished cake can then be placed in the cake stand, Unfortunately the cake stand is rather small and can only accommodate one cake at a time so my daughters just placed their creations at the side of the station instead.
I was a little disappointed to discover that parts of the station are incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to take apart after play, when fully assembled the station will not fit back in the box which poses a really annoying storage problem.
Both of my daughters really enjoyed playing with the Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Frosting Bakery, they were able to share the toy without arguing. When finished they pretended they had a cake shop and took turns being the shop assistant and customer, which was really nice. I doubt it is a toy which will be played with on a regular basis but I guess only time will tell. I was happy with the price I paid for it but I think the original £15.99 is a little pricey.