Realistic play, sparking imagination
Works in sand, dirt, or snow
110-pound weight limit
Great for motor skills, spatial reasoning
Requires some tools for assembly
We purchased the Reeves International The Big Dig Sandbox Digger Excavator Crane so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
When heading to the beach with kids, you usually need a bagful of beach toys to keep them occupied. Building sandcastles can be as simple as pushing a pile of sand together, or it can get as complex as creating an elaborate moat and drawbridge. If your child wants to take their sandcastle construction to the next level, the Big Dig Sandbox Digger is a great addition for preschool-aged kids who love construction.
Design: Some assembly required
The hardest part of using The Big Dig Sandbox Digger is putting it together. The box came with all hardware needed, but we had to supply a screwdriver and wrench to ensure that everything was secure. The seat connects to the base using the included screws and washers. We also had to connect the lever arm.
To store The Big Dig Sandbox Digger, we chose to fold up the lever arm and keep it in our garage. It’s possible to disassemble for storage, but it would add an extra step each time you want to use it, and we didn't want to lose the hardware. If you have space, we highly recommend storing it assembled with other sports equipment or outside toys.
The base is sturdy, but we noticed that our 3-year-old moved it when he stood up to dig a particularly heavy load of sand. This didn’t impact the operation of the lever arm and taught him cause and effect. To ensure the base remains stable, you can weigh it down or bury it slightly in the sand.
Entertainment Value: Hours of simple fun
When our 3-year-old saw the Big Dig Sandbox Digger box arrive, our child could hardly wait to open it. The most challenging aspect of this popular toy is getting a 3-year-old to be patient throughout the assembly, waiting to get to a sandbox, or setting it up. It's versatile; it can be used in the dirt, sand, or snow.
When he played with it the first time, he dug in the sand for almost an hour and only stopped because it started to get dark. The next time we took it out, he played for three hours off and on with the digger. He was able to work on his motor skills as well as his spatial reasoning.
This is an easy-to-spot toy, so a crowd of other interested kids quickly gathered around him. Some wanted a turn on the digger, while others were happy to play in the new holes that the digger created. We didn’t expect the toy to be a conversation starter at the beach but were happy to see our son practice his social skills and physical and mental abilities.
Age Range: 3 and Up
We expected some competition between our three-year-old and his younger brother over this toy. But the operation of The Big Dig Sandbox Digger was just complex enough that our 2-year-old wasn’t very interested in trying it yet.
Our 3-year-old needed some help with the controls initially. He moved the actual digger almost as soon as he sat down but needed a demonstration of how to swivel in the chair. Once he saw it a couple of times and practiced, he mastered the lever controls and swiveling in the chair to move sand around. If you plan on giving this toy to a child younger than 3, you will probably need to help them manage the levers.
The weight limit of The Big Dig Sandbox Digger is 110 pounds. This means that our kids will be able to use this toy for years before they get too heavy for the seat. We expect that they will outgrow it based on their height and how comfortable they can be on the seat before reaching the weight limit.
Ease of Cleaning: Great with dry sand
We tested The Big Dig Sandbox Digger in wet and dry sand at a nearby beach. We also used it in our own yard to dig in the dirt. The dry sand was by far the easiest to dig and the easiest to clean. It was lighter for our son to move around, and we could brush off the toy quickly when it was time to head back home.
We used a garden hose for more extensive cleaning to make sure that all of the dirt and wet sand was off. Most of the cleaning was focused on the base and the scoop itself. Because this was a metal toy, we made sure to dry it off before storing it to prevent rust. This is an outside toy, however, so some residual dirt and dust should be expected. We stored The Big Dig Sandbox Digger in our garage to not have to worry about hosing it off thoroughly every time.
Price: Big-ticket beach toy
At around $50, The Big Dig Sandbox Digger is on the expensive side for a beach toy. But given the amount of fun that our 3-year-old had with it, we would happily pay even more. If your child is not into construction, this is probably more than you will want to spend on a beach toy. But for kids who love construction vehicles, building, and getting dirty, this is money well spent.
We didn’t expect the toy to be a conversation starter at the beach but were happy to see our son practice his social skills and physical and mental abilities.
Competition: Diggers for all kinds of environments
Reeves International The Big Dig and Roll Ride-On Working Excavator with Wheels: If you want your child to be able to move their sand digger around, consider one with wheels like the Reeves International The Big Dig and Roll Ride-On Working Excavator with Wheels. It is a little bit more expensive, but if you want to use the digger in a yard, the wheels would really up the realistic factor and provide a lot more opportunities for your child to dig. Unless you have very compact sand that is easy to wheel around on, the wheels are probably not worth the extra cost to use at the beach.
Aosom 6V Electric Bulldozer Ride-On Construction Excavator Toy Vehicle: For a ride-on toy geared towards the construction loving kid, the Aosom 6V Electric Bulldozer Ride-On Construction Excavator Toy Vehicle combines the opportunity to dig in sand, dirt, or snow with an electric vehicle toy. It is almost twice the cost, has more features, and is heavier, making it better suited to use close to home.
Yes, buy it.
Our 3-year-old loved this toy, and we loved how much it engaged his muscles and imagination. If you are looking for a beach toy that will wow a construction-loving kid, this is the perfect gift.
- Product Name The Big Dig Sandbox Digger
- Product Brand Reeves International
- MPN 100
- Price $49.99
- Weight 9.15 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 21.5 x 19.3 x 5.2 in.
- Color Yellow