First impressions were very good and expectations were high!
On opening the box you discover everything you need to make the cakes. The instructions are bright and colourful, the pieces and moulds are solid and easy to assemble and then there’s the silver sealed bags of scented sand. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but the sandbags aren’t marked with which colour and "flavour" is in each bag, so it added an extra dimension to the fun as we spent a good ten minutes opening each bag and attempting to guess what flavour it was!
So far, so good. We couldn’t wait to get "baking"
The instructions were super easy to follow with both pictures and text to explain the process. The clips and handles are two different colours but they don’t necessarily have to be paired with their matching pieces. In fact the colours of our pieces didn’t match the colours of the pieces in the instructions but it’s all pretty obvious what goes where and for those free players amongst you (and those who disregard instructions as soon as you open the box) it’s all very intuitive. You can easily work out what needs to be done and it’ll all come naturally. Stick the sand in the mould and get to work.
So what did we think? Well, here we enter the territory of a review of two halves! When you’re reviewing anything for children you try and remain as objective as possible as to whether the child has fun, and there was no doubt at all that seven-year-old loved the sand. He made a cake following the instructions and then set about making his own creations in free play mode for a good hour afterwards (the only reason he stopped was because we had to go shopping – I’m sure he would have continued for much longer if he was given the chance).
But as a parent there’s always those little niggles and I personally did have one or two.
Firstly – You don’t get enough sand to fill the mould. Seven-year-old decided to make the round cake as pictured on the box and we only managed to fill the mould by about 2/3. On the box they show a completed circular cake and a heart cake in the process of being made side by side. That’s not going to happen. It’s one or the other and then you’ll have to dismantle your cake to make the next one.
Secondly – The decoration mould won’t create the same image as you get on the box or in the instructions. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the same swirly mould but the size is a lot bigger than the box image shows. On the box you’ll see a beautiful rainbow cake with six swirls on top. We only managed to fit four and then there was no more room.
Finally – The sand will mix! So you’ve made one cake and you want to dismantle it to make another. It’s going to take some precision cutting to separate the sand again into individual colours. Otherwise you’re going to end up with the old Play-Doh problem of one huge lump of mixed batch colours. Which is exactly what happened when seven-year-old went into free style mode.
The bags that the sand comes in are resealable so storage solutions are provided, but we’ve now got five bags of multi-coloured sand rather than separate coloured bags, so as to the question of whether its replayable the answer is both yes and no. We’ve played with the sand again since, but not in the way it was intended as there’s no way we could create another cake as outlined in the instructions, although if Marble Cake is a favourite of yours we created a lot of those on the second play.
So in conclusion – seven-year-old loved it and gave it four stars, but I’m afraid that the parental eye is going to have to knock it down to a three. After all the parents are the ones who’ll pay for it and in our opinion the box art is misleading in the scope of what you’ll receive and the outcome of your creative endeavours. Plus at approx. £15 the price tag seems a little high for what is essentially a one time play game when there are cheaper and more versatile sand kits (both from the same and other suppliers) on the market.
That said, it did keep our boy amused for at least a few hours so if you have a budding baker or builder in your family this may just be the kit for you.
PWT rating: ♥♥♥ from adult and ♥♥♥♥ from child.