Review: Sands Alive Glow!

My kids love the beach. They love kicking about in the water, flinging plastic buckets and spades at each other and most of all they love playing in the sand. They certainly didn’t inherit this love of the beach from me. I’m not a beach person. I don’t like sunbathing, I don’t like getting a suntan and I’m not hugely keen on paddling. But the one thing I really don’t like is sand.

My specific dislike of it comes not only from having it stuck to me at the beach but also, as a parent, I’ve gained a new relationship with it as it often sticks to all of my children who then bring it into my house. It spills out of towels, swimsuits and socks. Every piece of footwear is a potential carrier. My kids only have to cast a sidewards glance at a beach and their shoes fill up with sand. I’ve hoovered enough sand out of my car to fill a playpit three times over (we had one, it’s now a raised flower bed).

So when Sands Alive Glow arrived, I approached with caution.

sands alive

sands alive

Sands Alive Glow is a malleable, mouldable material that you can use, much as you would normal sand, to build all manner of structures and shapes. It comes with a number of little moulds to help you form bricks and turrets, but there’s nothing to stop you using any cutters or shapers you already have to help build your own masterpieces. The whole caboodle comes in it’s own easily contained tray that really helps minimise mess.

The texture is very soft and not at all gritty. Having experienced similar products, Sand Alive Glow holds together a little more and seems less willing to immediately return to its loose, granular state. It’s almost as much a dough than it is a sand but is no less appealing for it. In a lot of ways it makes the product easier to handle for smaller fingers and makes the production of bricks and walls easier. Perhaps the best advert for it is that even a sandophobe like me had a great time with it!


In addition to all the usual excitement of having a new mouldy-buildy set to play with, as the name would suggest, this sand also glows in the dark! Having built some rudimentary battlements we turned off the lights and used the uv-light pen that accompanies the set to have a go at glowing up our sand architecture. The battery-powered pen is a neat little addition and it’s easy to paint your creations a glowy green colour or even do words and drawings!

Our middle child, Morgan, is autistic and as you’ll note from other posts we love finding new sensory experiences for him. He’s a huge fan of soft, squishy materials so this one was right up his street. Although he didn’t want to be photographed for this review, he spent a lot of time playing with the product, letting it squidge through his fingers and drawing on it with the glow pen. He loved it and I think a big part of it was the fact it engaged him from a tactile perspective but also a visual one.

sands alive

Overall I was a big fan of the product. It was ‘messy play’ but without half the mess that usually needs cleaning up afterwards. The product doesn’t appear to dry out or need particularly special storage (we’ve seen several bin-loads of rock hard Play Doh come and go) and whatever got on the carpet was hoovered up easily.

The kids all loved it and we’re keen to see what other sets are available to expand on our collection!

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Disclaimer: This review was produced in return for the product. No financial agreements were entered into. All opinions remain our own.

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