I recently received an email from a lovely Italian mum, asking if we'd like to try out a creative toy from Italy that has just been launched on the UK market via Amazon. I went off to have a look and discovered a fun, brightly-coloured sand art kit. If you're unaware of the concept, it's like a painting by numbers kit except the paint is replaced by coloured sand which you apply to the adhesive under the carefully pre-cut designs on the boards. The clever part about this particular version is that the sand dispensers are shaped to look just like big pencils and the ends come off and flip over as funnels to put any excess sand back in the tubes.
The kit contains eight pictures, each measuring 21x15 cm, but up until the end of the month, they are also enclosing an extra pack of Halloween designs totally free. There is no mention of this on their amazon page but they do tell you about it on their Facebook page so it's definitely worth following them to keep abreast of any new offers.
So what did the Madhouse Mini-testers think? They LOVED it ! You may notice that I put down a plastic tablecloth before we started - this is absolutely indispensable as you will get sand everywhere, however hard you try not to !
The pencil-shaped distributors make it easy to get the sand in the right places (and the little red tool helps with peeling off the papers) but it is quite hard to get the excess sand back in the tubes without it going all over the place.
The designs are very cute and appealed to all three of the kids - that's no mean feat, finding a product that a 4-year-old, an 8-year-old and a 12-year-old can all manage to do and all want to do. It was the perfect rainy day activity for all three of them to do at the same time.
Pierre needed a bit of help from big sister Sophie to get the unused sand back into the tubes but apart from that, he did it all by himself.
He loved picking out the colours and seeing the picture come to life before his eyes. As it is impossible to go over the lines, you get a really impressive-looking picture, whatever your age and cack-handedness !
Another added bonus is the free app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch which replicates the sand art experience, even down to using the same pencil-shaped sand dispensers. It's a great app for travelling in the car or at the grandparents' when you don't want to get sand everywhere !
Both the app and the kit have been really popular. The Madhouse Mini-testers have already decided that when the pencil dispensers are empty, they will be great recycled as glitter dispensers for making Christmas cards. I'm sure you must be able to buy refill sand packs too though.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £29 (+ £7.95 UK delivery from Italy - hopefully the delivery charge will come down as they become more established in the UK and find local retailers)
Disclosure : We received the kit in order to write an honest review.
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