Character Options recently sent us through one of their brand new products to review - the Cra-Z-Sand Deluxe Play Set.
Cra-Z-Sand is described as an amazing modelling compound that 'comes to life' in kids' hands and expands in contact with the air. It never dries out and it is non toxic and anti-bacterial. You can mould it into different shapes or press it together with your hands and it will hold its shape. If you've ever played with Moon Sand before, it feels very similar.
Inside the box, we found a 1.5lb (700g) bag of purple Cra-Z-Sand (it comes in various colours, including a natural sand colour), a plastic tray and four tools - a roller, a knife, a scoop and a scraper. Given the picture on the box and the fact that this is called a Deluxe Play Set, I was surprised to see that there weren't any moulds included - on closer inspection, this is written on the front of the box but it didn't leap out at me. Luckily, we had lots of moulds already anyway.
It has a lovely texture to play with and Pierre and Juliette had great fun squishing it into mountains, then rolling it out flat again, over and over again. It's a weird texture because when you squash it together, it feels like soft Playdoh, but you can also run it through your fingers like real sand.
It works well with moulds too and holds it shape without crumbling, even if you pick up your creations to move them around.
It's marketed as being mess free and I did find that the Cra-Z-Sand that fell on to the table stayed clumped together and was easy to wipe back into the tray. Unlike regular sand, it is easy to hoover up off the floor too and it doesn't stick to clothing or hands.
All in all, we thought it was great. The only improvements that I would make are providing a couple of moulds in the box and also creating a lid for the tray so that it can be put away cleanly. I left the sand and accessories in the tray and put the whole thing in a large freezer bag before putting it back into the box, because I thought trying to get the sand back into the little resealable plastic bag it came in would have been a nightmare. You could also use an empty ice cream tub to store the sand in, but then it wouldn't fit back in the box. With hindsight, we could have squished it all into a ball before popping it back into the little bag - doh !
When I went to check the RRP of the kit, I had a quick look at some of the other reviews, as I always like to compare notes and see what other people thought of the products we try out. As it's a new product in the UK, the only reviews I could see are on American sites and they almost all complain about it having a very strong, chemical smell. I can only assume they've changed the formula because ours didn't smell of anything at all.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £19.99
for more information : http://www.character-online.com/products/Cra-Z-Sand/
Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.