“ Brand: Early Learning Centre / Type: Kids gardening kit „
The Mrs and I bought these a few days ago when we saw them on sale in The Early Learning Centre, they were just £1.50! A complete bargain! They were apparently marked down from £3 which in itself was a reasonable price to pay as they are really very good quality little items. We had been looking for some more sand/water toys for our little ones to use. We had one set but it seemed to cause lots of arguments between them so we wanted to get a few more bits so it was easier to share and more to go around so when we saw these we couldn't resist them for the price! We really like Early Learning Centre things normally so was hoping we wouldn't be disappointed... so far we haven't been!
The first thing we noticed with these is that they are very, very good quality. They are made from a dense plastic which means they are far more durable than cheaper ones we've bought. We did buy a spade once before and it ended up managing to snap- okay so it was thrown against a wall during a tantrum but these are very sturdy and look like they would withstand that! They are two different colours as the picture shows blue and yellow so although Little B sometimes says the rake is for a boy she will still play with it and they're nice and bright. Perhaps choosing a colour other than blue may have been a bit better though just so all colours are 100% neutral.
These have been a hit so far, the weather unfortunately isn't proving to be so great but the little ones have managed to have a little play in their sand table with these and they are great. They're about 15cm long which means they are a great size for them to use, they have good co-ordination with them because they are not too long but they are just long enough for them not to be like shovels. The actual handles are quite wide which gives them a good area to grip so to help improve their coordination these are great. It's amazing to see just how much control Baby B (20 months now) actually has with these.
These have both been used for sand play and water play. The shovel is quite deep so you can hold a lot of sand but also hold a lot of water too to transfer it to places. The rake is rounded so nothing sharp and it makes a great pattern in the sand. The joy of it all is that it's all completely plastic so it's really easy to just rinse clean afterwards.
Really pleased we bought these, I think the full price of £3 is very reasonable okay so it's more expensive than you see in Tesco but these are much better quality than those in my opinion as they are a very durable plastic in deed. These are great so it's just lucky we caught them on offer. I know we'll be using these for the rest of the summer and for several summers in the future too.
We live very close a park which has a sandy beach area next to the lake there. It's artificial sand, however this doesn't seem to bother my kids and is perfect for an afternoon out over the summer holidays or to go to play after school. Both my kids love playing in the sand, digging, building sandcastles and pretending to make rivers and roads. Because we go there so often I decided to invest in some beach toys.
I went to ELC as there was a 3 for 2 offer on outdoor toys. I therefore got a bucket plus one each of the spade and rape pictured above, although our rake is yellow and spa is blue. I think the spade and rake were £4 each at full price, which is quite expensive, but I got the three items for £10, which was ok.
These beach toys are just the right size for kids at around 20cm in length and quite chunky in design and a good design for little hands to hold. They are made from really durable plastic and I think it's very unlikely a child would be able to snap them. Also they dont have sharp edges like some chesp beach toys do. They do their 'job' very well and the shaped digs nicely and the rake rakes up the sand as well as making stripy patterns, which my son loves as its good for making roads in the sand which he pushes his trucks along.
These are great beach tools and I am really glad we got them as it makes going to the large artificial beach at the local park much more fun. For the price we paid they have been used a lot and still remain as new - the sand hasn't yet scratched the plastic. I only wish I had bought two of each to stop the arguments!
We have a static caravan and I like to keep a lot of toys or beach items these rather then having to load them in the car every weekend (I always used to forget something and then up having to buy new when we got there).
One item that we have had for around a year now is the Spade and Fork set from Early Learning Centre. It cost me £3 but at the time, ELC were running there 3 for 2 on outdoor toys promotion so overall cost me a little less than this.
The pack contains a yellow spade and a blue fork which both measure around 15cm each. I brought mine online and there was no other colour choice available, for me, this is the only downside of the set as I would have preferred more 'girly' colours.
Both are quite small, I found this is bonus as Lauren was able to grip them easily, it also means that when the spade is loaded with sand, she can still pick it up with ease. They also fit nicely into her bucket when we are walking to the beach (so I don't end up carrying them).
Both items are quite durable, even in the wet sand; I have found that there don't bend easily when using. I have brought cheaper sets in the past and found this to be a bit of a problem.
The edges of the spade or the points on the rake don't feel sharp, yet they are really easy to use, even when the sand is quite compact.
I would recommend this set, they get played with most weekends during the summer months and have proven a great buy. The colours are still as bright and bold as ever and are just the right size for little hands.
5 out of 5 stars from me!
Thanks for reading.
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Whenever I'm not working, I like to make the most of my time off and as my son is only 3 he still likes to have days out with mummy. When the weather is nice we like to pack up the car with the dogs and head down to the nearest beach which is about 45 minutes away - and I like to take some things that will keep my son occupied for the whole day. One of the things we always take with us are the Early Learning Centre Spade and Rake set which we've had now for about 18 months and which my son makes good use of when at the beach. The ELC Spade and Rake cost me £4.50 when I bought it direct from the website, but it is currently on sale for just £3.00 which I think is a really fantastic price for a quality product.
The spade and rake are both made out of thick sturdy plastic which are definitely designed to be sturdy enough to last and to tolerate a lot of use. They are brightly coloured, with the rake being a lovely deep blue and the spade being a sunny yellow - and I think both colours would appeal to all children of both genders. Both the spade and the rake are designed to be hand held by the child and they are a good length to mean that children are able to manipulate the tools easily. They are both 20cm long and very lightweight and so even when my son was 18 months old he was able to handle these easily and get a good grasp on it.
Both tools cut through the sand easily and the spade is certainly deep enough to pick up a good shovel of sand. He tends to use the spade to fill buckets and sand castle moulds - and to just throw as much sand around as he possibly can.
As the tools are plastic they can be washed when they get caked in sand or mud. They have become a little scratched over the time we've owned them, but not significantly and they are still attractive to look at and very useable.
I would recommend the ELC Spade and Rake for anyone with a young child who likes playing in the mud or in the sand!
We bought our daughter a sand pit when she started nursery and she loved the one they had there, the teachers told us she spent ages playing in the sand and loved making patterns in it. We bought her a sand pit and some sand to go in it from Early Learning Centre and then we had a look at their selection of toys for the sand and bought her a couple.
We bought the spade and rake set as I knew she liked making patterns to I thought she would like a rake to make lines in the sand, it is nealy 2 years since we bought these and I am pretty sure they cost us £3.50 although they are £3 to buy now. The set comprises of a bold blue rake and a bright yellow spade and is supposed to be for children aged 2 and upwards although I cannot see any reason why my younger daughter couldn't play with these and she is 19 months.
The set is made of hard chuncky plastic and are about 8 inches long each, the plastic must be durable as they have been dropped on the concrete many times and they have barely even got a scratch on them.
We bought my daughter a bucket and some other little toys for the sand and she loves playing in it, she can't wait for the warmer weather so that I will get the sand pit back out for her. She makes patterns in the sand and loves to make sand castles although we do have to moisten the sand a little for this otherwise they just fall over. My daughter went for a day out to the beach last year and the tools went with her too, the spade is a quite deep compare to what her cousins were playing with which I hadn't noticed until it was next to other spades but this has never been an issue and allows her to fill her bucket quicker.
My daughter loves her sandpit and the tools to go in it and she will play outside for hours which is great as it means I can get jobs done. The tools are durable and attractive for children, they are easy to use and I think we paid a good price for them, certainly recommended.
Living in Cornwall, we are never far away from a beach. My daughter didn't like the beach, and still has problems with sand now. I thought buying her a sandpit to have at home could get her used to the feeling of sand a little better. But with a sandpit, you need some tools to make it fun, especially with a child that doesn't like the sand so I went out to find some good quality, bright sand toys to use with the sandpit.
I seen this mini spade and rake set in my local Mothercare and thought they would be perfect to try and introduce my daughter to playing with sand. They cost around £4 back in March 2011.
Both the spade and rake are brightly coloured in yellow and blue, fantastic to get my daughter to pick them up and play with them. They are made from a from strong plastic, meaning vigorous play wouldn't snap them. Each one is around 20cm long.
When I first bought these my daughter was around 16 months old. She took to them straight away, ripping them out of the carrier bag to give them a closer inspection. We went outside and opened up her sand pit and she didn't know what to do. This was my cue to step in and build sand castles (yay for having an excuse!).
As both of the tools were built from a strong plastic it meant they were quite chunky to grasp so my daughter didn't have any trouble holding on to these. After about 10 minutes of me building a huge fort in her sand pit, she decided it was time to knock it down and picked up the rake and gave it a shove, this was the closest she had ever been to actually touching sand with her hands, I felt like crying.
The spade is quite deep, some cheaper spades available to buy are often really shallow. The deepness of this spade means my daughter can pick up quite a lot of sand and move it about freely without most of the sand falling off. The rake has long tongs, so it can be placed quite deep into the sand and be pulled along, there is a big gap between each tong so that the sand doesn't get stuck, even with wet sand.
Ever since then she has also picked up these tools to play in her sandpit, she still hasn't got round to touching the sand with her hands yet, but we can walk along the beach in open sandals now with no tears or tantrums, and I really do believe having these tools to use in the sand has helped.
Of course spades and rakes can be found almost everywhere in the right season, quite often at a cheaper price, but the quality of this Early Learning Centre set cannot be faulted and I'd definitely recommend these if you want a strong durable set with chunky plastic perfect for toddlers to last a long time.