Top positive review
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Going on our 6th year with this toy...
on March 15, 2010
Below I'm going to cut and paste my first review of this toy, one I posted almost 3 years ago. My five stars still hold true although I have had some leg weakness since then (but we've owned the toy 6 years now and I've got three bigger kids--7, 5, 3--leaning on it in every direction as well as an 80 lb. labrador retriever who has taken to standing in it to look over the fence, ahem...anyway). I am about to rescrew new holes in each leg and the table and fill the legs with stand to make it stable again but it is completely worth it given the joy it has brought my children. The water cover is still 100% effective and the toy still looks practically brand new. I have bought one more new umbrella since my last review. So, that's two new umbrellas and some leg maintenance in 6 years. Not bad. I'm determined to keep it because it is a great place for us to do lots of messy science experiments and activities, as listed below, that are best kept outdoors.
Old Review from May 2007:
First of all, we have had this toy for 3 years and it still looks like the first day it came out of the box (in the BLAZING Texas sun). Also, it has been moved around too many times to count and is still as strong as ever. It's durable. Plus, it really does keep water out and the cover stays put tightly even through the most violent and windy thunderstorms. The umbrella is awesome, although I did have to replace it once due to weathering. I soooooooo don't care. Read on...
I'm on my third child now and if there is one thing I'm sick of, it's the toy that's a one-trick pony. I'm really looking for more versatility in a toy. That said, let me tell you why we will keep this toy until the kids outgrow it even though we also have an 8x10 ft. sandbox in the back yard. Sure, it's a sand and water table but we've done it all:
(1) sand alone
(2) water alone
(3) potting soil/trowels/silk plants/plastic pots
(4) landscaping stones and small Tonka construction vehicles (aka "the quarry")--sometimes the small trucks even deliver to the Tonka Mighty and it goes on for hours
(5) bubble solution to use with the large wands and even the small and different wands (so that the kids aren't fighting over the tiny opening of a tiny bottle of bubbles that inevitably gets spilled all over the patio)
(6) a Mommy-made iceburg (colored blue) on the hottest summer day with dollar store penguins and polar bears--you can even shave the iceburg to make snow (I used a putty knife) and put crushed ice (if your refrigerator makes it) in the water to make it a happier habitat
(7) dishwater and play dishes with sponges and scrubbers to play clean-up without making a mess at the sink like they do inside
(8) aquarium gravel/toys/plants with pretend fish
(9) sand over buried "fossils" (pretend dinosaur bones found at the local dollar store) -- Put a small layer of sand on the bottom of the table, place bones all over that, add more sand to fill, then saturate all the sand with water and let it dry completely (left in sun, might take a day or two depending on temps). That way, they'll actually be able to kind of chisel the bones out instead of just easily moving the sand.
(10) sand sifters and dirt with various sizes of rocks that I spray painted gold -- super fun day!
(11) measuring spoons/cups/jugs that teach lessons about volume -- pair with bath color tablets to learn about color mixing!
(12) Did you know that Little People LOVE to go to the beach? (Off subject, they're also not opposed to a tumble in the dishwasher!)
(13) any number of arts and crafts activities that I would rather do outside than inside (making slime, papier mache, etc.)
(14) tin pans/muffin cups paired with dirt/sticks/water mud for mud pies
(15) sand castles, of course!
(16) dinosaurs and various animals add a tremendous amount of play value to your basic sand environment.
Well, that's all that I can remember doing in three years time as I sit here writing this review, although I'm sure there's more. As if all that isn't enough, this table is a great size. No elbowing for more space here. There's room for 6 kids. Yep, one on each end and two on each side. True story.
Do you miss sipping iced tea and reading a magazine or chatting with friends? It can happen again while your toddler plays happily and safely. I LOVE this toy. Can you tell?