The Best Sand Toys for 2-Year-Olds

Last Updated on February 28, 2023 by admin

I could never seem to bring sand toys to the playground or even pack them on vacation, but I always admired parents who did have a bag of them handy. Those kids were always the envy of the beach, playground, or restaurant-adjacent sand volleyball court.

Despite never being the queen of sand toys, I maintain that young kids don’t really need a lot of them. The cheap plastic sand toys that you can buy in bulk generally got ignored by my kids, because the lesser quality plastic made the tools flimsy and difficult to use. They’ll work in a pinch, but in my experience, the the kids will be fighting over the sturdier, larger tools. In most cases, you just need buckets and shovels for this age group.

Here’s a few options for sand toys that are appropriate for 2-year-olds.

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A Pail and Shovel

This Green Toys sand set is about $22 on Amazon.

Any sturdy sand pail and shovel will get tons of use throughout a childhood — at the beach, at the playground, and just at home in the dirt. The bucket is crucial because it can be used to carry sand and water and can also be used as a mold. My sons really liked having an adult make towers of sand so they could smash them. (It’s one of those things that I think they would literally do for hours if the adult assisting them didn’t get mind-numbingly bored.)

Green Toys is a popular toy brand that produces really durable plastic toys from recycled milk jugs. You can even put these toys in the dishwasher when they need a good wash. They make these sand toy sets in a couple of different colors.

Watering Can

Blue Ginko Sand Play Set

In particular, if you’re headed to the beach or a playground that has a water source near the sand play area, a watering can or another vessel designed specifically to pour water can be another way to keep kids entertained. Sure, they can use the bucket to pour water, too, but a watering can is a little easier to pour slowly and produces a different effect. Plus, if you have a garden at home or indoor plants, your little one will enjoy “helping” their parents care for plants when they’re not at the sandbox/beach.

I like the watering can in this set because it looks easy to fill (the handle isn’t obstructing the opening), easy for a toddler to hold, and easy to clean with very few nooks and crannies for sand to hide later.

“Rain Shovel”

Hape Rain Shovel, $4.99

I came across this inventive toy on the Hape website. At just $5, it seems like a no-brainer to add to your collection. It’s both a sturdy shovel and has some properties of a watering can, and it seems perfect for the toddler set.

“Sand Drill”

HABA Sand Drill, $14.99

My kids would have loved this thing. It’s the kid version of the adult sand drills that are used to anchor beach umbrellas. This drill is kind of a heavy work toy because toddlers have to push to get the drill in to the sand, and then they’re left with a satisfying little hole that they can fill back up if they want.

Easy-to-Clean Play Vehicles

Hape Beach Digger, $11.99

Even if your own toddler isn’t one of the many truck superfans out there in their peer group, a digger truck is particularly appealing when it’s time for sand play. When it comes to toy vehicles for 2-year-olds, you have plenty of options. The brand Hape has entire line of vehicles specifically designed for sand play. Green Toys is another brand that, although not specifically designed for sand, makes toy trucks that are relatively easy to clean, battery-free, and made of durable plastic.

A Bag for Sand Toys

If you don’t want to transfer your sandy toys directly into the car or house, it’s a good idea to have a bag that you can grab that’s dedicated to sand toys only. Almost all of the beach bags you’ll find for sale online will be made of plastic mesh to withstand the water and allow you to shake out the sand later. Some bags also have backpack straps so you can have both hands for your melting down toddler when you want to leave the beach. These bags are designed specifically for kids to hold a few beach treasures (shells) and maybea few smaller sand toys.

Steel Diggers/Excavators

The Big Dig and Roll Big Dig Sandbox Digger Excavator Crane, $48

I almost didn’t include this toy on the list because mosts toy excavators are labeled for ages 3 and up. But then I found out that my 2-year-old nephew loves to use the one at his house! Some of these toy excavators are adjustable to fit a wider range of children’s heights. Taller 2-year-olds (or those who are about to turn 3) can probably use it with little difficulty.