Compact Water Play

More Fun with Less MessAmerican Plastic Toys Sand and Water Play Set with four boats, wave maker, crane, and truck in box

  • What: American Plastic Toys Sand & Water Playset
  • When: 18 months to 8 years
  • Why: Compact, affordable, sensory
  • Where: Amazon

My son found this Sand and Water Playset during a random search on Amazon, and immediately added it to his list. He got it for his recent birthday and I have to admit, he has already gotten our money’s worth out of it.

Silly me, I thought this toy for 18 month olds might be too young for him. At five years old, he can handle some pretty small vehicles and complex games. But he wanted it and it costs next to nothing compared to some of the things on his list (I’m looking at you, Playmobil!), so I got it. Not only does he love it, but both my 7 and 9 year olds enjoy it as well.

Child playing with american plastic toys sand and water play set on coffee table

My daughter enjoys sending the boats around the channel.

I didn’t get a good feel online for the size, but it fits perfectly onto our coffee table without taking up all the real estate there. It doesn’t have legs, so you either need to put it on the floor or the ground, or have another raised surface like a table where it can go. But after seeing my kids enjoy it, I’m thrilled we got it.

If you have a tight space, this set offers lots of fun without hogging a lot of space. It comes with pieces big enough they don’t pose choking hazards. And it includes four boats and a truck safe for little hands. The wave maker, actually a paddle kids can spin, creates a current that sends the boats around the track in either direction. The crane can load and unload the cargo on the boats and the one truck included. My kids have added their own toys to give them rides around what they call the fair. We haven’t even added sand to it yet, and they love it so much, and run to play with it first thing in the morning.

Two kids playing with American Plastic Toys sand and water set compact water sensory play indoor or outdoor

My sons playing with the set before we even managed to add water.

It requires zero batteries and the only noise it makes is my kids laughing and talking and having so much fun with it. It doesn’t need a remote, although you do have to add your own sand or other material in the removable dish meant for that. The various pieces need to be cut out of their plastic stems and then assembled, which requires an adult. Then it takes about half a pitcher of water to get to the fill line and get the boats floating, then the fun can begin.

Cat next to American Plastic Toys sand and water play set on coffee table

Even the cat is intrigued by this toy.

It’s big enough that three kids can play with it without being crowded, but small enough it can be tucked away when not in use. (We haven’t gotten to that point yet.) It has enough gates and things to turn and interact with that multiple kids can enjoy it at the same time with minimal fussing. If I had known about this toy years ago, we could’ve gotten so much use out of it. Although my kids are all well beyond the starting age range, I suspect we will get lots of joy from it even at this point.

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