Inside: Replacing cracked sand toys year after year is a waste of time and money. In this post, discover the strongest and cutest sand toys for kids of all ages.
On hot summer days, we love to pack a bag and head for the lake. My boys could spend all day splashing in 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.
Your Guide to the Strongest and Cutest Sand Toys for Kids
About eight years ago, I purchased our first—and only—round of sand toys. The toys shared below have lasted through hard play with two boys, many little friends, and eight incredible summers.
Buy sand toys once and enjoy them for years to come!
Basic Sand Toys
The best basic sand toys for digging, dumping, and shaping sand.
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.
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand-Molding Set
Shaping sand is a classic activity. These sand molds are thick and sturdy!
Green Toys Sand Play Set
This was the first sand play set I purchased for my kids. Eight 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!
Quut Alto Beach Toy
Three pieces, perfect for building sand castles!
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 Nesting Pails
Perfect for preschoolers!
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Clicker Crab Hourless Sand and Water Sifter and Funnel Toy
My kids love this toy! I highly recommend.
Melissa & Doug Clicker Crab Sand Pail and Shovel
This set is as strong as it is cute.
Shared below are our favorite toys for imaginative play.
Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks Ring Cake Set
Perfect for making delicious sand cake!
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!
Toysmith Get Outside Go! Bag of Bones Beach Playset
This toy is so unique! My kids enjoyed pretending they were searching for skeleton pirates.
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Baking Set
I love the bright measuring cups, whisk, and spoon included with this set.
Safari LTD Knights and Dragons
My boys like these litttle characters for their sand castles.
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.
Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Seaside Sidekicks Sand Cookie-Baking Set
Forget the kids…I want to play with this all afternoon!
Green Toys Dish Set
We love to bring this dish set to the beach for imaginative play.
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 Tractor
Perfect for towing sand, pebbles, and shells.
Green Toys Seacopter
Perfect for land or water.
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 Construction Vehicles
These vehicles are perfect for little hands!
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.
More Toy Guides for Kids
Click the images below to view more of our favorite toys, books, and games for kids.