Kids love sandboxes. The sensory component alone makes them a universally popular toy. So when I bought a My Little Sandbox sandbox for my class of three year olds, I had high hopes. It is a small ( 10"x10") wooden sandbox with a layer of sand, as well as a variety of pretend play components. Every My Little Sandbox has a theme and there are quite a few themes to choose from (a sample shown below - pirates, princesses, and puppies).
Our class close Kitty Tea Party...
The sandbox itself is sturdy wood and it comes with plenty of sand, in case you want to save some for later refills. There is a plastic playmate to place under the sandbox (although we don't use it as much) The pretend play toys included a tiny rake, a tiny shovel, a tiny bucket, a tea set, a potted plant, a table, a tea cabinet, some cat toys, and of course, a number of small kitties. All are made of sturdy plastic.
My class loves it and I am constantly surprised at how it encourages cooperative play. Whether alone or together, the kids love to create scenes and pretend play around the kitties. It sustains their attention and provides for long periods of awesome, productive play.
*Small and portable
*Sturdy and great quality
*Encourages sustained, productive play and keeps their attention for awhile
*Encourages pretend play and creativity
*Encourages fine motor skills and sensory play.
*Tiny pieces - so if your child is still putting things in his mouth, you should be aware.
*Gender specific themes - pink princess and kitty tea party especially. This is nitpicky on my part, I know. Obviously, you should work with your child's interests, regardless of what gender the theme suggests. I know a few girls who would be just as interested in the pirate, castle, or dog themes ( and boys who would like the princess or fairy themes). My hope is that parents would ignore the gender suggestive packaging and go with what their child likes.
The Verdict: It is a sensory toy and a pretend play toy. It is "open-ended" to some degree, allowing for children to create their own play scenarios. It is small and portable - and it is fun! Highly recommended for the 3 and older crowd.
Let them Fly