Tried and True: Break out the summer toys!

Filed under: Decor, Toys

Welcome to Tried and True, a monthly feature where cool products are put through the ringer -- from our family to yours.

It's that time of year, folks. The warmer weather is just beckoning our kids to come outside and play on the green lawn. This month, I had the chance to try out some of this summer's coolest products with the help of a few kid testers.

The three products we put to the test were the Wiggling Water Snake by Small World Toys, the Noddo Croquet Set from The Land of Nod, and the Sand and Water Table from One Step Ahead.

I must say that our kid testers loved all three products, and the parents were pleased as well. Check out the Tried and True photo gallery for shots of the kids in action, and continue reading on for the pros and cons of each product!
From Small World Toys, the Wiggling Water Snake is described as:

Its time for summer fun and giggle with our exciting Water Wiggles! Attaching easily to your garden hose, this 20' long sprinkler snake brings all the fun of a water park straight to your back yard! Constructed from durable PVC with no inflation required, water wiggles are a safe, fun way to cool down on hot days. Children can coil this sprinkler snake up or lay him out straight, then turn on the hose to spray water in every direction for an afternoon of super-soaked fun!


  • The snake sprinkler is included in the 3-5 years category on Small World Toys, but the younger toddlers absolutely loved it.
  • Extremely easy to set up and store.
  • Perfect for toddlers - the streams shoot about 4 feet in the air, and the pressure isn't too forceful.
  • Can be manipulated into several shapes (a straight line, a squiggle, a circle, etc.)
  • Makes an excellent lawn sprinkler. (Seriously!)


  • If you're looking for a higher-pressured water toy with lots of bells and whistles, this probably isn't the right one for you.

From the Land of Nod, the Noddo Croquet Set is described as:

Noddo and friends have gotten themselves into a sticky wicket. Well, to be accurate, they've been fashioned into wooden croquet wickets.

This Web Only Nod Classic includes 2 mallets, 2 polka dot balls, 6 multi-patterned wickets and 24 stands for indoor and outdoor play. Ages 3 and up.


  • This was my favorite toy of the three, due to its versatility, style and fun-factor.
  • Online customer rating is a 4.7 out of 5.
  • Absolutely darling animal illustrations.
  • Easy setup and storage.
  • Comes with indoor/outdoor wicket stands for year-round play.
  • Recommended for age 5+, but our toddler testers had a blast rolling the balls through wickets.
  • Adults can play too.
  • It's on sale right now!


  • The paint on the croquet balls chips off quickly.

From One Step Ahead, the Sand and Water Table is described as:

Do toddlers ever get tired of scooping, sifting, and splashing? Not the ones we know - that's why sand and water tables are a backyard must! After surveying the market, we chose this one. Unlike others, it collapses for easy end-of-summer storage. And it includes more toys, plus a neat ledge to hold them! Molded cover has recessed roadway on top. 10-minute assembly. For ages 18 months and up. Colors may vary.


  • Online customer rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
  • Easy setup - it took 8 minutes to assemble the table completely.
  • It breaks down into an easy-to-store module.
  • Relatively easy to clean.
  • The water tower toys in the middle aren't stationery. You can move them into whatever position or height works best for your child.
  • It's on sale right now!


  • The table can get really messy. (Con for parents, but a pro for toddlers!)
  • Hard to drain. I had trouble getting the drain to pop out, so I ended up tipping the table over to drain the water.
  • The feet aren't very sturdy once the table is filled with the heavy sand and water.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.