It may not seem like much for what you pay for, but at least in our family, this little package of fun has provided long-lasting entertainment for my 2, 4, and 6 year olds, even after 2 months of near daily use.
Comments: My preschool-aged daughter LOVES Playdoh. However, there are a few problems with her obsession. 1) Her favorite way to play with it is to mix all the colors together. 2) It ends up all over our house and is a pain to clean up. 3) She never remembers to put any of it away and it dries out quickly. For her 4th birthday, I was hoping to find an alternative, more convenient, less annoying substitute. When my dad asked what to get her, I recommended a couple ideas that looked promising. (Note: Playfoam/floam was a huge failure. While it didn’t dry out, it collected animal hair like nobody’s business and, like Playdoh, it also turns an unattractive color when it’s mixed all together.)
I’ll admit, I was a little disappointed with the kinetic sand initially as well. First off, it seems like you don’t get very much for the price. I was expecting more. Second, it really doesn’t make a great birthday party gift, because when a child’s in open-the-present-as-quickly-as-possible-and-move-on-to-the-next-gift mode, a box of dirt doesn’t really illicit many squeals of delight (at least not from my child). However, when we got home and dumped our tiny box into a plastic bin, I couldn’t believe how long my 3 kids (2, 4, and 6 years) played with the sand. (My daughter had also received this tiny sand molding kit, which my 6 year old who is learning ancient history especially appreciated, since he could make pyramids and ziggurats as well as a Coliseum and Parthenon.) After a week of all 3 kids enjoying the sand, my mom ended up buying them two more boxes so they wouldn’t have to share such a little quantity. A box per kid definitely seems sufficient, especially for younger kids. (My 2 year old really just wants enough to bury his toys and find them over and over.)
Since we have a cat, I was worried that our kinetic sand box would end up being mistaken for a litter box, but after 2 months, so far it hasn’t happened. I was also concerned that like our failed floam experiment, it would collect pet hair, but since it’s not sticky at all, that hasn’t happened either. Occasionally I find a cat hair or two in the box and it’s easily removed. I told the kids that if they got any outside the box, I was going to sweep or vacuum it up and throw it in the trash, but honestly, it is so easy to clean since it sticks together so well, that the tiny bit that has been removed from the box is easily clumped back into a pile on our hard floor and thrown back in. Best of all, it doesn’t dry out, so I don’t need to monitor when my kids play with it, like I do with Playdoh to make sure it all gets put away.
I should probably look into making our own kinetic sand at some point, but honestly, I think this prepackaged stuff is worth the cost. Everyone in our family (and even child and adult guests) love how the sand feels. It doesn’t leave any residue on hands or clothing. After 2 months, I think we’ve lost very little of the original amount and it still gets played with by someone in our house nearly every day. Mostly, in this era where it’s a challenge to get kids to resist the siren song of media, I love the tactile, creativity-inducing play that kinetic sand inspires.
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