Review of The Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Candy Cyclone Playset
Why I Bought It
I had promised my 4-year old niece that we would make play-dough, but as time passed, we never had the opportunity to do it. So when I finally got a chance to visit with my niece on short notice, I ran to Toys"R"Us to pick up a play-doh (isn't it play-dough?) set. I ended up buying the Sweet Shoppe Play-Doh toy, and since I now have experience with it, I thought I would do a review on the toy.
Setting Up The Sweet Shoppe
I am not scared to admit it; I got my husband to set it up. However, it was not rocket science by any means.
The base has all the appropriate holes for the parts to go in. The slide, where the gumballs come out, easily fits into the base. And the top part, where the gumballs are made, sits on top of the slide part. The crank handle attaches to the top part, and then you are pretty much set to go.
All the additional attachments have appropriate places on the toy, but they can be used either on or off the toy.
How The Toy Works
What is supposed to happen is that you put a string of play-dough into a hole in the top of the machine (see picture to the right). Then you crank dough through the rotating spirally things, and out comes gumball shaped 'candy'. Then you can put the gumball into the various molds that are all over the base of the machine, and voila - you have all kinds of candy.
The 3-year old spent the whole time shoving the dough in the top and not cranking it through, so I spent a lot of time cleaning up a mess of dough inside the machine because you cannot over-stuff the top and it should be a long string, not a giant wad of dough. Even though this toy says for 3 and up, if you have a 3-year old like my niece, then I wouldn't buy it for him or her yet.
In addition, you get two little plates with five different candy shape molds in them that fit on the base of toy (see picture above for the green attachment). You can put the gumballs into these molds and then you can smash them down with the attachment that goes over top of them (again see picture). I used that part more than the kids did.
The 4-year old was more interested in the syringe that comes with the Sweet Shoppe. Basically, you shove the dough inside the syringe and then you can create lollipops by twirling the straight line of play-dough that comes out. However, the kids didn't really understand that, and instead they just kept pushing it out, stuffing it back into the syringe, and pushing it out again.
What I Liked About The Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Candy Cyclone Playset
I really liked a few things about the set.
1. The price - It was only $24 at Toy"R"Us. Considering it came with four little cups of dough (red, yellow, blue, and white), I thought it was worth the money.
2. It sparked the 4-year olds imagination and kept her busy. She was making me all kinds of candy and lollipops and she had a blast for hours doing it. A plastic knife, a lollipop stick, and a cotton candy like stick were included, and those parts of the toy (plus the syringe) were enough to keep her happy. In fact, we barely needed the gumball maker.
3. There are many different molds to create unique candies. There are two plate like attachments that have five molds each, and all the candies are unique looking when you pull them out. There are also many molds along the base of the machine and on the top part, right by where you put the dough in (my niece spotted that). Therefore, you can create many different looking candies, which is fun for the imagination.
4. It was easy to clean. Even though the dough kept getting stuck in the top part and blocking the balls from coming out, it was easy to clean. You can pull down the back of the top part, like a door, and get inside by the twisty things to clean out excess dough. This came in handy a lot!
What I Didn't Like About The Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Candy Cyclone Playset
1. The top wasn't stable. You had to put your hand on top of the machine in order to get the gumballs to crank out right. If you didn't, the top was likely to fall off. It didn't attach to the slide part, but rather sat on top of it. It took a while to get my niece to learn to hold it, and she wasn't able to get perfect gumballs until we were almost done playing.
2. The gumballs kept getting stuck inside the top part and right on top of the slide for them to come down. I think this was more because the 3-year old kept putting big blobs of play-dough in, and the 4-year old wasn't cranking fast enough. I had to pull out blobs of play-dough at the top of the slide, and they were not looking anything like gumballs. It was easy to clean out, but it made the fun of seeing the gumballs fly out disappear.
Should You Buy It?
For a younger kid, they should be supervised. It is hard to get them to understand that you have to put a nice small string of play-dough in the top in order for perfect gumballs to come out. Nevertheless, they still have fun making shapes and using the syringe.
However, for the 3-year old, I think that some play-dough, without the Sweet Shoppe Candy Cyclone Playset would have been good enough.
I would think older kids would be able to entertain themselves forever on that thing. I say this because I could have played forever on it, and I'm a 34-year old kid. I also made some pretty awesome gumballs as they came flying out and down the slide, just as is illustrated on the box.
In the end, I think it is a good toy to spark imagination and have some fun time creating things. I definitely would recommend buying it.