On hot summer days, we pack a bag and head for the lake. My boys could spend all day splashing in and out of the cool water and digging in the sand. And as cliché as this might sound, I get to relax in a beach chair with a good book. On days like this, a broken sand toy can be a major bummer for kids. Thankfully for you, back when my boys were in diapers, I used to spend evenings carefully researching, well, cloth diapers…as well as baby gear, homemade baby food, and toys. About six years ago, I purchased our first—and ONLY—round of sand toys. They have lasted through hard play with two boys, many little friends, and six incredible summers.
This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.
Basic Sand Toys
The best basic sand toys for digging, dumping, and shaping!
Green Toys Sand Play Set
This was the first sand play set that I purchased for my kids. Six incredibly active years later, it is in practically perfect condition. If you are going to invest in sand toys for your children, this set is a must-have!
Hape Mighty Shovel
When we bring our sand toys to local parks and beaches, the other kids always go for our Hape Mighty Shovels. My boys grudgingly share them!
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand-Molding Set
Shaping sand is such a classic activity. These sand molds are thick and sturdy!
Small World Toys Express Double Sand Wheel
Like most sand wheels, this one works best with water or dry sand. It breaks apart for easy storage!
Shared below are our favorite toys for imaginary sand play. They are fairly new to us so I can’t give them the 6-year stamp of approval, but they appear to be very strong and crack-resistant.
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Baking Set
I love the bright measuring cups, whisk, and spoon included with this set.
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Cupcake Set
This set is so much fun for imaginary play. Be prepared for an all you can eat sand cupcake buffet!
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Speck Seahorse Sand Ice Cream Set
This play set is my favorite! I could scoop sand ice cream all day!
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Sand Brick Maker and Trowel Set
This one is fairly new to us, but it’s holding up well. The boys enjoy using it to make walls around their sand castles.
For the beach, park, or lake, we really prefer our Green Toys vehicles. Made from strong recycled plastic, they float in water and resist cracking and fading.
Green Toys Dump Truck
Suited for outdoor play, this truck awesomely carries sand, rocks, or whatever your kiddo wants it to!
Green Toys Ferry Boat with Mini Cars
This toy is so cute! My youngest guy loves driving the mini cars into the ferry, and floating if off into the lake.
Green Toys Seaplane
A plane that flies, floats, and drives? Just awesome.
Green Toys My First Tugboat
We keep one in our bathtub for play and shampoos, and one in our bag of sand toys.
The way I see it, purchasing high quality sand toys once saves money and prevents pounds of worthless, broken plastic from entering the landfill.
For more play tips, consider following along with Fireflies and Mud Pies on Pinterest.