The My First Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler toy was released last year and I’m updating our review now that it’s been out a while.
First off, I’m a big fan of the My First Crayola toys. This line has several good quality creative toys for toddlers and preschoolers designed to inspire their inner Picasso. Nothing not to love about that!
The concept of the Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler is to enable toddlers to “write” in the sand, making pictures and lines, with no mess.
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How Does the My First Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler Work?
Remember those magnetic toys you could buy in the supermarket (believe it or not, those are still around) where you have bits of magnetic flakes under a piece of plastic? You could put a stylus on the plastic and drag around the magnetic bits and make a picture.
How many of you tried and tried to make that darn clown face they always advertised on it? Yeah. I always failed too.
That’s what this toy reminds me of, only the Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler is a bit more advanced than that. It’s a screen about an inch deep containing sand. Kids shake the sand to make an even layer, then use the stylus (which holds a magnetic nib) to connect with the magnet beneath the screen to “draw” in the sand.
Obviously, it’s mess-free because the sand stays contained within the screen. Here’s a short video so you can see how it works.
Recommended Age for the My First Crayola Sand Scribbler
The package says this creative toy for toddlers is designed for ages 24 months and up. I wouldn’t recommend going too far in the “up” direction.
It may keep children from 2 to 3-years-old occupied, but older children might want something a little more challenging. See my notes on this a little further down in the review.
The Good Points of the Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler
- The Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler is designed to not only encourage creativity in young ones, but also to improve dexterity. Toddlers have to connect the stylus to the magnet beneath and this requires a bit of thinking, effort and co-ordination.
- The ergonomic stylus is easy for little hands to grip and is attached to the screen to keep it from getting lost.
- The writing feature does not require batteries so it works right out of the box.
- The background light is pretty cool because it cycles through twelve different color and illuminates the sand drawings.
- Toddlers can use a button feature to scroll through the colors and pick the one they want, which is a great way to teach colors to little ones.
- Although the light show feature needs batteries, it turns itself off after it has been inactive for a certain period of time, which is nice to conserve battery life.
- it’s small and portable, so it’s easy to take along on outings or when travelling. The changing lights make this a fun toy for kids to have while camping or riding in the car at night.
The Not So Good Points
We feel the Sand Scribbler toy really needs more sand in it to work effectively. It’s supposed to be a creative toy for toddlers, but there isn’t enough sand to draw a distinguishable picture.
The drawing area is fairly small and since the stylus is large, it’s not possible to draw with any detail. Very simple drawings, like shapes and letters and squiggles are about all a child can do on it.
This is why, in my opinion, it’s suitable for kids aged 2 to 3-years-old, maybe 4-years-old, but not much older than that.
The drawing experience could be frustrating for toddlers because they do have to put forth a bit of effort to line up the magnetic tip of the stylus to the magnet beneath. They may give up if it’s too much of a challenge for them.
When your child first begins to play with the My First Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler, expect to help him or her a bit at first. You’ll want to gauge whether this is a toy they can use without much help or supervision, or if you’ll always need to be nearby and able to help them when they get stuck.
Is the My First Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler Worth the Money?
The Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler has come down in price since it was released, so that’s a plus, given that it doesn’t quite work as well as advertised. You can check the current price on Amazon here.
Bottom line…if you buy the Sand Scribbler toy for yourself or a parent, to use as an entertaining learning tool for toddlers, then it might be worth the price. It does have the novelty of the light show which is entertaining for toddlers and could be useful in a teaching situation.
But if bought solely as a creative toy for toddlers to entertain themselves, they may not pick it up after the first try, out of frustration.
Some Better Options for Creative Toys for Toddlers
Aside from the Mess Free Sand Scribbler, Crayola makes lots of other great creative toys for toddlers and preschoolers. The three below got good reviews and may be more appealing to your little Picasso.
Final Rating for the My First Crayola Mess Free Sand Scribbler
If this toy had more sand, it would be a little more fun. It works great for simple letters and numbers, so we give it a high score for learning value, but younger kids in the age range get frustrated with it and may not want to pick it up again. It’s come way down in price, which is great. But even a free toy isn’t worth having if your kids don’t play with it. Our final opinion is that, With supervision, it’s an okay toy to use as a learning tool with 2 to 3-year-olds, but there are better creative toys for kids in that age range.
You can use our handy Amazon search tool below to search for more creative toys for toddlers and preschoolers.