Like most of the Melissa and Doug products I've purchased, the quality on this is good. The plastic is thick and durable and brightly colored. The little scoops are adorable. My girls love them. I am so glad there are two of the scoops or there would definitely be fighting. I like that everything fits nicely in the bucket. We just got this set so our girls have only played with them in the bath, no beach yet. Even though they couldn't make "ice cream" with them yet, they still enjoyed the set in the tub. The sets are a little pricey, probably should be priced at just less than $10, but are way neater than the cheap plastic sand toys you typically see at the store.
Update 12/1/12: We purchased three Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside sets: the Speck Seahorse Sand Ice Cream Set, the Sidekicks Sand Baking Set, and the Sidekicks Sand Cupcake Set to take on our 3 week vacation to the Pacific Northwest. The kids played with them almost every day at the beach and/or in the bath tub. Great quality. No broken pieces the entire trip or since we've returned home. Lots of creative play options. I was able to nest the ice cream set pieces inside of the baking set bucket, and store all of the smaller pieces from all three sets along with the cupcake pan in the netted carrier that comes with the cupcake set. The end result was that I was able to get all three sets and the hand full of play dishes (plates, cups, utensils) I brought entirely into one bucket and the net carrier. VERY convenient for storage in the car and carrying to/from the beach. If you were to only pick ONE, I would recommend the baking set as it's pieces seemed to be most universally versatile. But the shaker that comes with this set was a BIG bit with my girls.
I posted pictures of all three sets on the Amazon product page for the baking set - search for "Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Baking Set"
This has been one of my favorite purchases since my daughter was born...shes 3 now and every kid we come across at the beach has loved this set. They have loved it so much that we have already lost a few components, only because all these kids keep taking the pieces and forget to give them back. Any of these M and D sand sets are worth the money.
My son is at the age when pretend play is so important and sand is always a great medium for play so this is an ideal toy. He loves making the ice-creams and involving others in play. The sand comes out easily and perfectly represents ice-creams. He uses the bucket to run to the water's edge and fill up to make the sand the just right consistency. This toy is a child magnet for other kids at the beach and facilitates some nice socialisation. Surprisingly the shaker is the most exciting part of it for him and he loves filling up with sand or water to play with it. When finished with ice-cream play the bucket, cones and tops make great shapes for traditional sand castles - more so than purpose designed sand play toys for this I must say. I bought 3 sets of sand toys at once and this was the one I was most hesitant about because it looked prescriptive and a bit pricey, but i would recommend it be prioritised based on the play value my son has had with it.
hours of fun at the beach with this play ice cream set. my daughter loves the little shaker to put sprinkles on her ice cream cones. i also like how it has it cover for the bucket so you don't lose everything.
I bought this for a child who is almost 4 years old. She loves it and especially the scoops with a choice of soft serve or regular scoop shapes. They are so real looking that she can't really resist tasting the "ice cream" from time to time. The pieces seem well made and are sturdy. You do not have to worry about the scoop/shovels bending while digging in wet sand. The colors are also vibrant and it is overall a very appealing toy. The lid of the "ice cream" pail is also a seashell sand mold. I am pleased with the purchase and would recommend it to anyone.
This set was a huge hit (along with a few other companion sets) with my 4 year old daughter. The different scoops and sprinkler were fun for her to fill up and use. The bucket seems pretty sturdy, as she was constantly filling it up with water and sand.
I bought this a gift for my active 4 year old who is hard on his toys. He loves to play with the Kinetic sand with this. The scoop really makes it look like real ice cream. He has not used the shaker yet but the rest of the toys he loves. They are made of thick plastic that is not easily broken. Which we love as most of the other sand buckets he had have cracked after a year or so of use. This one we have not had that long but you can tell it is better made then the ones from the big box stores we normally buy.