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18 Best Sand Toys In 2021 For Babies, Toddlers, & Kids

These toys make getting sand in your swimsuit worthwhile.

Sure, splashing in the waves is the best part of being at the beach, but chances are, you’re going to find yourself spending a lot of time sitting on the sand, too. And because kids can get bored in an instant, you’re going to need some sand toys stat to keep them occupied. So before the sand starts flying, you can offer up any of these toys to play with, which will make getting sand in your swimsuit worthwhile.

It’s kind of inevitable. You’ll have one kid who refuses to come out of the water, and another one who just wants to be on the blanket all the time. Although it’s fun to sift through the sand with your fingers for a while, you’ll want to think beyond buckets and pails (although those are good, too). So if you’re wondering what are the best sand toys, the ones below should be ideal for a day at the shore, the beach, or even the lake. You can choose from the classic toys that help your kiddo dig or make shapes in the sand, but you’ll also find items (like a toy that can brings new meaning to mudpies) that can make playing on the sand full of STEM learning and creativity, too.

One thing is for sure, with these sand toys, it’ll totally be a day at the beach.

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A Sand Toy That Turns Your Kid Into A Construction Worker

Digging a deep hole will be a cinch with the WonkaWoo Metal Ride On Toy Sand Digger. Your child sits on the seat and can maneuver the hand controls that function like an actual backhoe. The scooper extends up to 38 inches, and the toy comes with a construction costume vest, too, so everyone will know who’s the boss of the beach.


A Sand Toy That’s Eco-Friendly

The seaweed-inspired tote is just the first part of this cute Green Toys Tide Pool Bath Set that your child will totally love. The sea creatures are all made from recycled materials, and can make fun shapes in the sand. And after a fun day frolicking in the waves, just dump them in the dishwasher and they’ll be ready for your next day at the beach.


A Sand Toy That’s An Absolute Doll (Literally)

There are some toys you can take to the beach — and some that are safer leaving at home. Dolls definitely don’t do well soaking up the sand and surf, but Sandy the Beach Doll will. She’s made with a durable frame, and can stand up in the sand, too. You can fill her with sand and then empty her out again. You can choose the bikini color she wears, from green, to fuchsia to Pacific blue. Sandy is also wearing pink sunnies that can come off, and her blonde hair is in pretty pigtails on top of her head.


Sand Toys For Your Darling To Dig With

Every kid needs a basic beach sand kit. And this one from Fun Little Toys can do the job. It comes with everything your child will need (think bucket, rake, scoopers, and sifter), along with fun plastic shapes like seashells, sea turtles, and fish, to create fun new forms in the sand. It all packs up nicely in the mesh travel bag — that is, if you remember to pick up all the pieces before heading home.


A Sand Toy For Finding A Stegosaurus

Your itty bitty archeologist will have a blast digging for brontosaurus bones with this HABA Dinosaur Sand Glove. You can use the head to scoop sand — or uncover the remains of a T-Rex. The toy comes with a 5-year warranty and also won the 2015 Family Fun Toy Fair Favorite Award.


A Sand Toy That’s For Snuggling (Sort Of)

After a busy day playing on the sand, your little one might need some snuggle time. Their Narwhal Toy from Yinibini Baby is cute and will fit right in at the beach. It’s made from knitted organic cotton, and while you probably won’t want to get it wet (sorry, Narwhal), it might be a good toy to cuddle with on the car ride home.


A Sand Toy For Sorting And Sifting

Four levels of sifting and spinning await your kiddo with the Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks Funnel Fun. Meant for both water and sand, your child can have fun watching everything go down the funnel and through the toy. It comes with a handle on top for your child to carry, and the octopus on the bottom offers stability for the toy while your child plays with it in the sand.


A Sand Toy That Keeps Your Kiddo Contained

If you’re worried that your little one will wander off, you can always get this Homeware Red Hemlock Sand Box with Canopy. You can just stick it on the sand and fill it up, then put your little one inside for safe sand play. Best part, the canopy can help protect Baby’s super sensitive skin while digging to their heart’s content.


Sand Toys For Dumping And Excavating

Not every sand toy has to be a bucket. These three CAT construction vehicles (a dump truck, wheel loader, and excavator) are meant for fun playtime at the beach. They measure 7” tall, and are rugged enough to tackle any bulldozing sand project your kid creates.


Sand Toys That Are Almost Good Enough To Eat (But You Shouldn’t)

Who can resist cookies? You won’t, when your kid whips up some sandy delights with the Melissa & Doug Seaside Sidekicks Sand Cookies Set. Your child can play with a happy rolling pin, spatula, and three “cookie” sand cutters, then serve up their culinary creations (whether it’s a double chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin cookie) on the two yellow fishie-shaped plates.


Sand Toys That Are Pretty And Pastel

When you think of sand toys, primary colors are often what come to mind. But your child might prefer something softer, like these pastel-colored sand toys from Toy Life. You’ll get nine beach toys, including two buckets, a shovel, four animal molds (think star fish, octopus, crab, and a turtle), and a watering can and water wheel. It all fits into the mesh bag so you can easily bring your sand toys to and from the beach.


Sand Toys That Teach About Tide Pools

Who says you can’t get a little STEM learning into sandy play? The Green Toys Oceanbound Tide Pool Set is geared for water babies ages six months and up. It has a starfish, scallop, squid, snail, jellyfish, abalone and a seaweed-patterned storage bag. Each of the toys pours water in a completely different way, and is made with OceanBound Plastic that would otherwise wind up floating in the ocean.


Sand Toys That Can Create Castles

A trip to the beach wouldn’t be complete without a castle. But if your building skills are somewhat shoddy, you can always use the Top Race Sand Castle Beach Bucket Toy Set. The four sand castle molds come in pink, yellow, orange, and blue, and are stackable, too. Just help your kid fill up the molds with wet sand, and soon, they’ll have a castle that everyone will want.


Sand Toys That Offer A Little Of Everything

Let’s say that your kid begs to bring a bucket to the beach. But 10 minutes in, they decide they want a shovel…and you left it at home. Well, with the B. Toys Summer Beach Bag, you’ll always have everything that you need with you. From a bucket to a rake, a small dump truck to a pinwheel, your child will happily spend time playing with this assortment of beach toys, all of which are phthalates and BPA-free.


A Sand Castle Kit With Its Very Own Knight

This adorable kit from Playmobil is perfect for little ones, because you can use it to make a traditional sand castle... or, if that feels a little too challenging, you can use the bucket itself as a castle. Either way, there’s a cute little knight and horse to make it even more fun. Comes with a sieve and shovel, too.


A Sand Toy For Creative Culinary Play

Sandy treats and mudpies, oh my! Your kiddo’s culinary skills will become totally beachy with this Seaside Sidekicks Sand Backing Set from Melissa & Doug. From three shell-shaped measuring cups, to an octopus whisk, to a crab mixing spoon, your sous chef will have fun whipping up treats in the sand.


Sand Toys That Let You Build Castles From Scratch

Yes, you could use a mold and make life easier, but if your child is determined to build a real sand castle from scratch, this kit from Sand Pal can work. The ergonomic shovel and block builders are meant to help your child build a beginner’s castle to something super cool — and structurally sound.


Sand Toys For Making Shapes

Little hands will love rolling the Kaplan Early Learning Jumbo Textured Hand Grip Sand Rollers at the beach. The easy grip handles each make a unique pattern (think lines, boxes, zigzags, etc), and are meant for small hands ages 18 months and up. And on days when the weather is conducive for a beach day, these rollers can also be used with paint for a fun craft project, too.

Of course, you already have a lot to carry when you’re heading to the beach, the shore, (or any body of water with some sand, really). But by bringing a sand toy (or two) with you, your kid will have a blast — and you might even get a minute of peace to soak up some rays, too.