Although this sand and water table from the Early Learning Centre is pretty pricey (£45!), I would still have to say that is is a very good buy and both my children enjoy hours of fun with it.
My daughter received one for her 1st birthday and still plays with it now she's 3. It comes in a box but is very easy to put together. The legs just need clipping in. Very straightforward!
They come in two sets of colours, red, green and blue (unisex one) and a girly pink one. Both are lovely and, as with most early learning centre products, it is very good quality. We have had ours in the garden for 2 and a half years now and it's hardly sun faded and very hard wearing.
The best thing about it , unlike some of the cheaper versions , is that it includes a lid that clips down tight shut. On top of the lid are a few markings that can be used as car tracks so the table can also be fun and played with with the lid on!
When opened the table is split into two sections and comes with lots of accessories like funnels, tubes, and wheels that clip on to the middle so they can be used for either side.
One thing I would say is that there is no sand that comes with it and this has to be purchased separately. It can be bought from elc but you can get the same stuff much cheaper elsewhere like Argos or Tesco for sometimes as cheap as £2 a bag.
My children have had hours of fun with this and still do. There are so many options of how to play with it. Although it's a 'sand' and 'water ' table you can use it to let the kids play with anything else that they can get messy with! So it's also great for younger children to explore different textures and messy play.
This table is a fantastic buy for anyone with young children who love playing outside and / or getting messy!!
I purchased the Early Learning Centre Sand and Water Table for my son's 2nd birthday and it cost £45. We chose this one over the others because it's plastic (easy to move around), came with a lid (making it waterproof) and is very sturdy. It looks quality, not cheap like some others I've seen. The table measures: height 45cm x length 65cm x width 65cm. We've found that it's a great height for toddlers (the recommended age is 18months+) but for older children, like my son who is now 4, it's a bit low down.
The sand and water table came boxed and with instructions. It was easy enough to put together. The legs slot in place and the 2 troughs click together. It also came with some plastic toys meaning you don't have to buy any extra and your child can get straight in and start playing. The toys included are: 1 boat, 2 star moulds, 2 funnels, 2 spinning wheels, 1 scoop, 1 roller and wheel set, 1 rake and 1 spade.
The table looks really impressive when all the pieces are in place. There are holes in the middle of the table, where the 2 troughs meet, and this is where you can fit the larger toys (funnels and spinning wheels). These holes in the centre is also where the lid clicks in to. We've found that the lid isn't 100% waterproof but it does a very good job at keeping the majority of the rain water out. My son mainly uses this table with sand, but he has played with water in it and has had lots of fun with it. He's plays a lot with it with the lid on because the lid has a road track on it. The road track is wide enough to fit the ELC magnetic vehicles so he likes to play with that and his ELC garage in the garden at the same time.
Sand for the table is available separately. You can get in from the ELC or from most larger supermarkets and garden centres. It only costs a few pounds and one bag is more than enough to fill both troughs.
We've had our sand and water table for over 2 years now and it's been played with every summer. It's still in fantastic condition and both my children, and their friends, love it. It seemed like an expensive purchase at the time, but actually it's been worth every penny and offers very good value for money.
Although I do feel that toys from The Early Learning Centre can be a little (or lot) pricier than many of their competitors, I also feel that on the whole the superior quality is well worth the extra cost and they regularly hold special events where their own brand toys are reduced in price. The ELC Sand and Water Table is a case in point, at £45 it is a fairly expensive purchase, but it is extremely sturdy and even comes with a number of toys. We purchased our table last year during an outdoor toy event and while I cannot remember exactly how much it cost, it was somewhere in the region of £30.
==A Parent's View==
The Sand And Water Table is supplied in a fairly large cardboard box and requires assembly before use. Although not especially heavy, the box is large enough to be unwieldy and make carrying difficult, so I really would recommend getting this delivered if at all possible. Assembly is a simple affair, the supplied instructions are basic but easy to follow and should you lose them it is possible to download a copy from the ELC website. I especially like that there is no requirement for special tools, making assembly and disassembly a five minute job. Once assembled the Sand and Water Table is a reasonable size measuring in at approximately 70cm square. The actual table section is formed of bright red plastic and sectioned into two compartments. The means you could either fill one with water, the other with sand, or both with water or both with sand. Each of the compartments has a drainage plug to allow easy removal of water, only these aren't quite as handy as you would think, as I discovered while cleaning it out today. Yes they do form a tight seal and so don't leak, but it really isn't a pleasant experience trying to remove them when the compartment is full of freezing cold rain water.
The table comes with four legs that simply slot into place and these legs are slightly splayed out which leaves the table very stable and unlikely to tip. With the legs in place the table stands approximately 40cm tall, meaning it is the perfect height for the average toddler aged between 18 months and four years. When we bought this last year Freddy was not yet standing and what we really liked about this table is that it could also be used without the legs, meaning Freddy could sit on the floor and play with the sand and water. Once Freddy was able to pull himself up to standing we attached the legs and once filled with sand/water it did an admirable job of supporting his weight as he leant on it to play. The table also comes with a cover that is in two parts which clip together and then on to the table top. The really good things about this cover are that it has a road embossed on it which adds yet another element to play and it keeps cats out, but the not so good is that it is not completely water tight and sand inside will get wet if the closed table is exposed to heavy downpours.
The toys included with the table are pretty good and would cost a fair amount to purchase separately from the Early Learning Centre, so I was really pleased that they were within the box. All of the toys are formed of thick, tough plastic that feels as if it is unlikely to break any time soon. You get a spoon and a scoop both with a large bowl that makes it easy for the child to transfer the sand around the table, a rake for making patterns in the sand, a starfish mould to fill with damp sand and create your own starfish and a boat to float on the water. The boat is really good and actually does float unlike a lot of bath toys. There are also some toys that you can connect together in various ways and then attach to the centre of the table. There are two large funnels with attachments to adjust the flow of sand or water, two single water wheels and a double water wheel with a tipper. What I really love about these toys is that I can use different combinations which keeps them fresh and exciting and that they are easy to clean and can even be sterilised (using solution).
Although it is perfectly possible for this table to be used indoors, personally I'm not keen on the idea of sand and water all over the floor, so this has been kept outside, all through the summer, autumn, winter and recent downpours. While sand could be used in both compartments, we have sand in one side and then fill the other with water changing it on a daily basis. I find that one 15kg bag of play sand is perfect to fill one side of the table and although the ELC do sell their own version (but do not deliver), the Argos version is just as good and very reasonably priced. Although the lid keeps the majority of rain and bugs away from the sand, it doesn't do a perfect job, so the sand will need checking on a daily basis. The whole table is extremely well constructed and can survive almost anything the the British weather can throw at it. As I said this has been left out in all weathers and yes the lid did leak leaving the interior slimy and yucky, but this easily washed off by taking the table completely apart and putting it in the bath. The only other damage done to the table is a little fading from sunlight, so after a clean it is still perfectly usable, although I will probably put it under cover next year as winter approaches.
From an adult's point of view this is a sturdy, well made sand/water table which positively shows that sometimes it's worth paying a little extra and I love the addition of the toys. But as with any toy it's not just my opinion that counts.
==A Toddler's View==
Although Freddy was over the recommended minimum age when we bought this table, due to a developmental delay he wasn't able to stand unsupported or indeed walk. For this reason we started by leaving the legs unattached and simply placing the table on the grass in the garden for him to play. The compartments are nice and deep meaning that they can hold a decent amount of water or sand and there's plenty of room for splashing or digging. Freddy really enjoyed playing with the sand, using the scoop and spade to lift it and pour it into the funnels. While the sand was damp it would clog in the funnels and not pour through and onto the water wheels, but when the sand is dry it works really well and is great fun to watch. The wheels and funnels work really well with water, and because of the way they can be positioned in so many different ways we can really have fun experimenting and seeing what happens when we move them round.
Once Freddy was standing and starting to cruise, we attached the legs and it is now the perfect height for him to play, allowing him to easily reach all the different parts. He loves to play with the sand or water or play cars on the lid. Although we started by placing the table on the grass, that was probably a bit of a mistake as we ended up with sand all over the grass and no way of clearing it up or water that made it a bit muddy. Now we have it on concrete and even though the sand still goes everywhere it's a lot easier to clean. Although the weather hasn't yet been suitable for outdoor play this year, Freddy had lots of fun with the table last year and was pretty excited to see me cleaning it ready for this, so I would say that it has been pretty much a hit with him. Oh and it was also enjoyed by one of Freddy's friends last year who is a year older than him.
==Suitability and Developmental Benefits==
The ELC state that this table is suitable for children over the age of eighteen months, and personally I would say this is probably about right. As the legs can be removed even toddlers who cannot walk or support themselves standing can play and as long as you use "safe" sand and supervise even children below this age would be able to play. As to an upper limit, well the ELC doesn't give one, but I would imagine that children over the age of five will find the table a little low and uncomfortable to play with.
As with so many toys a sand/water table is a great opportunity to allow your child to learn new skills and discover the world around them. As they pour, dig and mould the sand they will be improving their hand-eye coordination and dexterity. You can fill a section with water and then experiment to help your child discover what items float and which don't, experiment with arranging the funnels and wheel in different configurations and see if your child can guess what will happen, or add some washing up liquid to the water to have some bubbly fun. By adding a little water to the sand you can help your child mould it and build sandcastles, or maybe pretend it's a desert. The possibilities are limited only by you and your child's imagination.
This is an extremely well made and thought out sand/water table that will last your child for several years from toddler-hood through to pre-school. Although more expensive than some competitors, it is far more sturdy and durable and even comes complete with basic toys. If you have a garden or balcony and a toddler/preschooler then I can't recommend this enough and even with the relatively high price I'm perfectly willing to give it five stars out of five.
When my eldest daughter started nursery she settled really well and when we talked to her teachers they told us that she loved the sand and would play in there for hours. We decided since we knew she like the snad so much that it was something we could buy her to have a home and we had a look for a sand pit. I found this one on Early Learning Centres website, it is one company I often look at for childrens toy as they are usually well priced and great quality and we went to our local shopping park to buy it.
The sand table cost about £40 when we bought it although it now sells at £45 but everything is going up so I guess you expect it really. The table is made of brightly colour plastic the top bit with the two troughs in being red and then the underneath is blue with green legs, the tables has a lid which is also green in colour. I think the bright colours are great as it makes your child more intersted in what it is and the table is really duarble and although we have put it away during really bad weather it is pretty weatherproof from rain and fading in the sun. The table came with instructions but it was simply a case of fitting the top to the bottom and slotting in the legs so the instructions weren't really needed.
The table doesn't come with any sand so we had to buy it seperately although we couldn't get it from Early Learning Centre but luckily Argos had some and they are next door to Mothercare. The table comes with a few toys for your child to play with in the sand although we bought a rake and a spade set as we were told that our daughter liked making patterns in the sand which we thought a rake would do not realising that there was one with the set. The set comes with a boat, star moulds, funnels, spinning wheels, a scoop, a roller and wheel set, a rake and a spade, the toys are all brightly coloured plastic and my daughter hasn't managed to break any of them.
We filled both sides of the table with sand as we didn't want her mixing the sand and water together and making more mess than she already would with the sand. We bought this in the winter months so we allowed her to play with it inside on a plastic mat and she loved it. Our daughter will play for hours filling buckets and moulds and then emptying them back out and she spent nearly all last summer coming home from school and going straight outside to play with it, not quite sure how the sand will go this year with a toddler in the garden mind.
The table is really hardwearing and it is easy to use, the lid is in two pieces and slips on from each side and the lid does manage to keep the rain and leaves etc out. We keep the table outside in the summer months and put it away in the shed in the winter and it still looks fairly new. My daughter really loves the table and she is asking for it out of the shed so I know we are going to get another years play out of it and even when she has finished with it our younger daughter will use it too so I think the price you pay is actually great value for what you get and the length of time is table it lasts. I would recommend this table just be prepared to go through quite a few bags of sand.
We've had this sand and water table for a couple of years now and it's still going strong. Bought for my daughter's 2nd birthday, both her and her younger sister have had more than their money's worth from it.
We got the pink table, but it's also available in red.
It came in a large box and instructions were included, but not really needed as assembly was very straight forward. It was simply a case of putting the two top pieces together and slotting the legs in from what I remember. The legs can be easily taken off if you need to store it away.
The legs go out at an angle, making it very sturdy and I'd say pretty impossible to fall over.
A lid is provided in the form of two large pieces which slot together like a jigsaw on top of the sand pit, sealing it and preventing water getting in if it rains. You do need to make sure the two pieces are fixed together in the middle to prevent anything getting in. The lid also does a pretty good job of keeping any bugs out, and doubles up as a track, which is built into the top of the lid and can be used for racing cars around.
The table is intended for using sand in one half and water in the other. We did this at first, but found that the sand was getting mixed in with the water, and vice versa, which makes a bit of a mess and leaves the sand too wet to play with. We now just use both sides for sand, which is perfect when you've got two children as they can have a side each. Although two or more children can comfortably fit around one side of the table as it's big enough to do so. Each side is deep enough to put a good amount of water or sand in. Although unlikely to come to any harm and end up face down in the water, you should always watch little ones around water.
There is a plug in each side of the table so you can empty water out when needed. Simply twist it round and pull it out.
Kids being kids, sand will inevitably end up on the floor. We have ours on the patio, where it can easily be swept up, and put back in, providing it's not too dirty. If you have the sand table on the grass you won't be able to do this and will end up losing sand. You could have the table indoors although it's not something I'd recommend as it's so messy.
There are six holes along the middle of the table in which you can place the accessories that come with the table. One is a funnel that has a water wheel underneath. Pour the water into the funnel, it runs down into the wheel and makes the wheel spin round. All being well the water then pours into the table. You can switch a piece under the funnel that has two different size holes, each giving a different speed of water flow.
There are two of these funnel pieces provided, which can be fixed into another attachment that's like an upturned U shape, with a scale-type scoop on, which lets water down onto two smaller water wheels. Children will love playing with this and it teaches them cause and effect - what happens when you pour water in the funnel, how changing the speed of the water flow affects the wheel turning, and more water in one side of the "scales" makes it tip up. My girls pour sand into the funnels, which isn't too bad if it's very fine sand, it just about flows through if pushed, but if it's a bit wet it just sticks in the funnel.
Tools provided are a scoop shaped spade, regular shape spade, a rake, boat and starfish shape. The starfish shape can be used as a star shaped sand mould. It also has holes in so water can be poured through, making it flow through underneath. Or it can be used as a sieve to filter sand through. The boat sails nicely on the water, but can also be used with the sand, pouring sand into it. The spades are a nice neat size with round chunky handles that are just the right size for little hands to hold. The tool handles fit neatly into the holes down the centre.
The only real downside is that you can't leave the attachments and tools stuck in the holes if you want to put the lid on the table, it won't go on. So when packing away each day you'll need to take everything out and just leave it laid down inside the table, where it fits ok. The funnel parts can be difficult to pull out sometimes if there is sand stuck around the holes.
The table is extremely durable and totally weather-proof, we've always left it outside over winter. I'd highly recommend it for young children. My youngest played with it before she could walk, she'd just pull herself up on it and lean against the table while playing in the sand. They've had two years of fun from it and I'm sure they'll still be playing with it in another two years time.
We've gone through about three bags of play sand in the time we've had it. The first two were from ELC, and the latest from Asda which was cheaper.
We also use sand toys that we bought for playing on the beach with. Sand moulds are particularly good for using with the table and can be bought cheaply from a lot of places, including ELC.
depth: 65 cm
width: 65 cm
height: 45 cm
The table currently retails at £45 from Early Learning Centre.
My son has recently been bought one of these by his grandparents. Typically the weather means it is now not being used as much!
You have to put it together which isn't as difficult as you might think. The instructions are pretty clear and there are only a few pieces to slot together and a few bolts to fit. It can all come apart afterwards too if you are short on storage space. The legs slot in and out so could be taken off each time for storage as well or to put it flat on the floor or another table. Make sure you get the legs the right way around, or the table is very unsteady (trust me I've done that!)
There are a few holes in the centre of it to put the sand and water toys into and the tools (a spade, a shovel and a rake). There are 2 toys that don't fit the holes a boat shape and a starfish shape mould. My one bugbear with this product are these holes. No child keeps putting their spade back in the hole to store it so it becomes a game of who can chuck the most sand down this hole? It would be better to have a couple more small toys to put in the extra holes in my opinion.
Once you're not using it the cover slots together (it is in 2 pieces) and does a good job of sealing it up. It's not easy for little fingers to lift it off preventing any unpleasant look at the mess I've made surprises. It also has a really good road pattern on it so the table can be used even when the cover is on.
So far I've only used it for sand on both sides. Don't buy the sand at the ELC it is half the price in ASDA! A really good sand table my son absolutely loves it.
Last August, my little boy was lucky enough to receive a sand and water table from the early learning centre as one of his presents for his first birthday. I was really pleased with this as he has always enjoyed his baths ever since he was a tiny baby and started to splash and play with the water from very early on, so I was in no doubt that this was a present he would get lots of use from.
My memory of the packaging of this toy is slightly hazy, as I was somewhat distracted on the day in question due to trying to play hostess to the party guests. I do remember that the box was rather large as several children disappeared into it at one point, however it was discarded soon after so I'm not sure as to how sturdy it was. At any rate, I have found that this toy remains in good condition even if left outside over the winter so keeping the box for storage is not absolutely necessary.
The table itself comes in separate pieces which have to be correctly assembled and fortunately, this is very easy to do. There are four legs, made of strong green plastic which fit into a cross shaped blue base. On top of the base, you then fit the two red plastic water/sand pits opposite each other. In the middle of the pits there are several holes, where your child can slot in the various water toys included. You are also provided with a yellow plastic cover in two pieces, which easily fits over the top of the table and protects it whilst it's not in use.
There are eight water/sand toys that come with the table, including two types of funnels with wheels, a spade, rake, sieve and a little boat. All the toys are made from strong, brightly coloured plastic, which appears to be very durable and there are other separate toys available from the ELC which are designed to be used specifically with this table.
Using the table is very simple as you just fill each section with with either sand or water as required. The pits are roughly 40-50cm deep, which I have found is perfectly adequate to hold a decent amount of water whilst still allowing a toddler to reach their hands to the bottom. The Early Learning Centre recommend that this toy be used from 18 months onwards, however we were more than happy to let our son play with it from 12 months old (with full supervision of course.) In fact, I would say that as long as an adult is there to provide extra support, most babies who can stand supported would enjoy splashing about in this toy and although they may not be able to use or reach the funnels and wheels, it's still fun for them to watch the water flowing through. The only thing you do need to be careful with is that the table is quite light when empty and can easily move or even tip over if your child uses it to lean on for support whilst empty. For this reason, it's best to fill it up with water before letting babies who can't yet stand unsupported play with it, as this adds extra weight and stops the table from moving if leant on.
We were also wary of using sand in the table with a 12 month old as a trip to the beach had shown that he was just as likely to eat sand as to play with it. However now at the age of 19 months, he understands the word 'no' and is more likely to realise that sand is not for eating (that's not to say he won't give it a try though!) At the moment, it doesn't look as though the ELC is selling play sand, although this will probably change as summer approaches. You can however buy three 10kg bags from Tesco online for £8.61, or you can get a 15kg bag from Argos for just £2.99.
The ELC doesn't suggest an upper age limit for this toy, however the table is quite low so it may not be very comfortable to play with once your child reaches a certain height. At a guess, I would say that an average five year old may find the table a little too low and a also a bit too babyish for their liking by this age.
Although we have so far only used water in the table, my son absolutely loved being able to stand and splash about in it whilst playing with the various toys. As with any sensory play, your child can use their imagination and play with whatever other toys or other suitable bits and bobs you have in the house in conjunction with the table (kitchen utensils are always a favourite with Elliot!) and you don't necessarily have to limit their play to water or sand. The smooth plastic of the table is very easy to clean, so it creates an ideal opportunity for messy play outdoors and you can fill the pits with jelly, custard, rice or whatever else without having to worry so much about the mess as you would indoors.
My one and only gripe with this table is the inclusion of a 'race track' in relief on top of the lid. This is apparently designed to be used with the ELC's car trios (or any other toy cars that fit in the tracks) so that your child has an extra added dimension in which they can use the table. My personal feeling is that this is not only unnecessary, but also makes the table less useful than it would be with a smooth, flat lid. A smooth lid would be ideal for creating the dual capacity use of a craft table, using the pits underneath as storage for paints and crayons. Of course this would mean we parents only have to spend money on one item, rather than two so the cynic in me doubts that the ELC will be changing the design any time soon!
Nevertheless, I do think that overall this is great outdoor toy for toddlers, offering a good opportunity for explorative and sensory play. It's an extremely durable product, as lack of space has meant that it's had to stay outside in our garden over the winter and yet the plastic is still in excellent condition and none of the colours have faded. The Early Learning Centre are currently selling this table for £45, which may seem pricey but is actually not too bad in comparison with similar products from some other brands. It's also worth keeping an eye on the ELC's website as they often run generous sale discounts on certain items during the year so you may be able to snap one of these up for less if you're lucky.
I'm not that fond of sand pits usually, as i think they get full of bugs and i was worried that our two cats would think it was their own personal litter tray, along with the other half dozen cats we see wander through our garden.
My mother in law however, was quite insistent that little boys should have a sand table, and came along one visit with this as a gift for my eldest just after i had my second child. The table has now been in use for over 2 years, and has been a much loved garden toy.
The table has 2 sections for playing in. This could be one side for water and one side for sand, or both sections filled with the same. The lid that comes with the sand pit comes apart in two bits and fastens like a jigsaw piece, so it is possible to only play in one side at a time. I find it great as i can get each of my children to play in their own side, and so reduce some of the inevitable bickering from 2 children playing together.
The lid also has a road pattern indented on it, which the child can play with cars on if they want to. We haven't ever really used this part of it.
The set came in pieces, and the legs needed assembling when we got it. This was so simple my 18 month old could do it with grandma. It also came with some good accessories. It has a couple of spinning wheels and funnels that can be put into different combinations to make it more interesting. It also came with a little shovel, a rake and some little shapes. You can pick up sand toys very cheaply at other shops if you want to extend the toy more.
ELC also sell bags of play sand for about £4. One bag fills both sides quite nicely.
I really like this toy as it is easy for the kids to set up themselves and to put away, and because it has the lid it can be left outside in all weathers. It doesn't look unsightly or take up that much space either.
*depth: 65 cm
*width: 65 cm
*height: 45 cm
The only negative is that it has holes across the middle of the 2 sections to put the funnels and wheels on, but if they stack these parts on top of each other there is no way of covering the holes and you end up with a lot of sand on the floor underneath. Maybe that is just me being over fussy there.
It has provided a lot of fun, and because it is made from such durable plastic it will last for a number of years. It is quite pricey i think, but you can pick it up cheaper on occasions when they have special sale events.