Best kids beach toys and games for fun at the seaside

·15-min read
 (Unsplash)
(Unsplash)

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a beach toy? If it’s a flimsy fluorescent bucket and spade bought from a hut along the promenade, then we’re about to introduce you to a whole new realm of possibilities.

Nowadays, beach toys are much more sophisticated, exciting and of course compact and travel friendly.

Sure, disposable, one use beach toys are great if you only holiday once a year and storage at home is an issue for you - but instead of contributing plastic waste to landfill, why not opt for a versatile toy that can be used in various ways?

Many of our best picks discussed below double up as a sensory toy, bath toy or will simply be an excellent standalone toy on their own.

As a parent, I find versatility in a toy is key – there’s nothing worse than a toy that can only be used in one certain way – I always find they’re the toys that get put in the back of the cupboard and never actually played with. You definitely won’t find that problem here, though.

From upgrading your sandcastle building to games that will get the whole family involved, here are our best beach toys for children!

Toy Ons Sand Pal Sand, Snow and Mud Castle Building Toys

This standout beach toy is the only one you’ll ever need for sandcastle building. Say goodbye to disposable, flimsy buckets that are difficult to use, and hello to impressive, easily built sandcastle masterpieces!

Fun for all the family, this Sand Pal building kit comes with everything you need to create impressive sandcastles. There’s three brickmakers: a cylinder, cube and block. Pack them full, scrape them flat with the ergonomic, multi-use shovel then turn them upside down and gently push. You’ll be left with a perfectly formed brick – no need to bash and tap the sand out – the design of the brickmakers does all the hard work for you.

Build the bricks high, and finish off your sandcastle turrets with one of the fourending moulds – there’s a dome, rook, pyramid and triangle roof to choose from. When you’re finished building, pack all of the tools in the mesh bag, sling it over your shoulder - and off you go.

The equipment is all extremely sturdy and durable. This is definitely a buy once, have forever type of toy. It’s small enough to pack in a suitcase and take abroad but big enough to make good sized bricks. Not only is this beach toy an excellent addition to summer, but you’ll get year-round use from it as it also works with snow and mud.

We love the endless building possibilities of this beach toy – it’s impressive, unique and guaranteed to get the whole family involved in building sandcastles.

Buy now £32.00, Amazon

Learning Resources’ GeoSafari Jr Underwater Explorer Boat and Magnifier

This underwater explorer boat is great for exploring rock pools along the British coast or snorkelling somewhere a little more tropical, as it allows you to see through the bottom of the boat to see what’s happening down below.

It’s not just a plastic bottom, though: there’s also a 3x magnifier for exploring more intricate discoveries. With an adjustable wrist strap, aptly in theme as a lifebuoy ring, there’s no risk of the toy floating away in the sea. The Learning Resources’ GeoSafari Jr Underwater Explorer Boat and Magnifier is an excellent choice of beach toy for children who want to be underwater explorers without getting their head wet or wearing goggles.

Promoting STEM learning, this beach toy could be easily tucked in a suitcase for holidaying abroad, as well as being used at home as a bath toy or as part of a water sensory play tray.

Buy now £17.00, Amazon

Melissa and Doug Seaside Sidekicks Sand Baking Set

An inventive take on a regular bucket and spade, this fun sand toy encourages role play, imagination and exploration as your child ‘bakes’ with sand. The sea creature inspired set features shell measuring spoons and an octopus whisk to whip up some sand cakes.

There’s also a crab themed mixing spoon and to top it all off, the turtle shaped lid on the mixing bowl doubles as a panner for the sand – acting as a sieve or sifter in this baking set. If your child likes baking or helping in the kitchen, they’ll love this seaside baking set.

When the children are finished playing, pop all the utensils back in the bowl and clip the turtle lid on and you’re good to go – it’s easy to keep all the pieces together and store as it is.

The whole set is extremely thick and sturdy, so there’s no risk of flimsy plastic snapping and becoming sharp, and should easily last for years. The mixing bowl itself is quite large, so this beach toy is probably best suited for UK day trips to the beach or playing with an at-home sand pit as opposed to packing away in a suitcase.

Buy now £14.99, Amazon

Edx Education Transparent Tactile Shells

If, as a parent, you’re a fan of setting up invitations to play, then the Edx Education Transparent Tactile Shells are the beach toy you never knew you needed. These brightly coloured tactile shells have endless uses and will quickly become a firm favourite.

The shells have different patterns and textures on them – from bobbles and grooves to spikes and bumps – so these are a great choice for incorporating tactile sensory experiences into your fun at the beach. The different textures on the shells create interesting patterns and prints in the sand when rolled from side to side, or they can be pushed into sand to act as real shells in imaginative play.

Why not build a sandcastle, and then use the shells to decorate the castle walls, or hold them up to the sky to see how the light shines through? Scatter some of the shells around your area on the beach and send the children on a treasure hunt – although be sure to count how many you hide so you don’t lose any.

An impressive 108 shells are included in two different sizes, so you can pack as little or as many as you wish for your seaside adventure. When you’re at home, why not use the shells with kinetic sand or a seaside themed small world play set up? The possibilities truly are endless- these are a great pick for anyone passionate about learning through play.

Buy now £29.99, Amazon

Scrunch Bucket

For those who like a traditional bucket and spade at the beach, the Scrunch Bucket is the ultimate upgrade.

Made of silicone, with a rope handle, the bucket can be folded, rolled, and… you guessed it: scrunched! It’s incredibly flexible and extremely strong – look after your Scrunch bucket and it’ll last for years on end. The matching spade is made of 100 per cent recyclable phthalate free polypropylene, and is perfectly sized to pair with the Scrunch bucket.

Great not only for collecting sand and water or making sandcastles on the beach, the Scrunch bucket will become an integral part of your outdoor adventures – from collecting keepsake treasures on family walks to helping with the gardening.

Scrunch also have a range of other silicone beach toys such as water scoops, sand panners and even a crocodile shaped jug – all of which are malleable enough to be squished in a suitcase or stuffed in the bottom of a beach bag. With a range of colours to choose from - from muted Scandi inspired pastels to bright pinks and greens – there’s bound to be something to fit your aesthetic.

Buy now £11.00, Kidly

Mamatoyz Kasabam Play Mat Set

We love a toy that’s both functional and versatile, like the Mamatoyz Kasabam Play Mat set. Whilst not a traditional beach toy, it is definitely suitable for a summer beach outing.

Your child will get hours of unlimited play with this adorable town play mat, which has roads, houses and buildings printed on with wooden characters and cars to roleplay with. The monochromatic design is striking, simple and great for all ages – in fact, this would be great option for a beach toy for a family with a newborn in the mix to act as a safe place to lay baby down and have some visual sensory tummy time.

The best bit? When you’re finished playing, pop all the pieces inside the mat, fold it in half, zip it up and fling it over your shoulder and you’re good to go.

This is an excellent travel friendly toy and a top pick if you’re a fan of beautiful wooden toys.

Buy now £52.00, Mamas & Papas

Hape Hide-and-Seek Periscope

For little adventurers, the Hape Hide-and-Seek Periscope opens up new heights of exploration. Made from sustainable bamboo, this eco-friendly toy is a great addition to your beach bag this summer. Why not peek over coastal groynes or into lively rockpools, play hide and seek with friends or play a beach themed I Spy?

There’s a handy wrist strap to stop it falling to the ground (or floating out to sea!) and we love the versatility of this toy, which could also be used at home in the garden or out on nature walks, all year round. It fits easily in a suitcase for exploring the exotic surroundings of wherever your next adventure takes you.

Buy now £11.66, Amazon

Asmodee Dobble Waterproof

Dobble is a family friendly game of observation and speed. There are 55 cards, each with 8 beach themed symbols. Based on a principle of interaction and a generalisation of an old famous mathematical puzzle, for every two cards that are drawn, there will only ever be one matching symbol. Yep, I can’t work out the maths on that one either.

A game of Dobble can be played in various ways, but simply put, you draw two cards and race to see who can identify the matching symbol first. The matching symbols have to be the same object and same colour, but can be different sizes. Seems simple, but once the adrenaline is pumping it becomes a competitive and fun fast-paced game.

It isn’t just the beach themed symbols that make Dobble Waterproof an excellent choice of beach toy, though – the cards themselves are durable and (as the name says) fully waterproof. It also comes with a convenient mesh bag for storage and transport.

It’s always a battle getting children to sit down in the shade to have a little bit of rest or calm time at the beach – but with Dobble Waterproof to hand it doesn’t have to be.

Buy now £12.99, Amazon

Infantino Splish & Splash Play Set

There’s no doubt that bath toys make excellent beach toys; after all, they’re both designed to be used in the water. What stands out with the Infantino Splish & Splash Play Set, however, is that there are a few different types of toy to choose from – you could pack the whole set to take to the beach with you, or if you’re short on luggage space, pack their favourite.

Best suited for babies and toddlers, there’s everything from sea themed water squirters to stacking cups and a fishing rod. You could sit with your little one in the shallows of the sea and fill up the spinning water wand, watching as the water trickles out and sprinkles back into the sea, or why not work on some hand-eye coordination by digging a well in the sand, filling it with water, and letting your child try to hook the plastic sea pals with the fishing rod?

Alternatively, if your children are anything like mine then they’ll be in absolute awe of the stacking cups included in the Infantino Splish & Splash Playset – in fact, I think they are some of the best stacking cups I’ve ever seen. These aren’t any old stacking cups – they’re sea themed! Each cup has a protruding design from the rim, meaning not only can they stack into a tall tower just begging to be knocked down, but you could press the cups into the sand to create prints of the sea creatures. There are also holes in the bottom of the cups to encourage you to fill them with water and watch the water dribble out, as well as being a great size for mini sandcastles.

Don’t forget, once you’re done with these beach toys, simply wash the sand off of them and take them home ready to be used as regular bath toys. Oh, how we love a versatile toy.

Buy now £22.99, Amazon

Winning Moves Giant Pass the Pugs

Another typical beach toy has got to be inflatables: inflatable balls, rings and lilos. Here’s a more unique suggestion of an inflatable beach toy: Pass the Pugs.

Pass the Pugs is a family friendly game consisting of two life-size inflatable pugs. The game is simple: throw the pugs in the air and see how they land – different landing positions score different points, and you’re on quest to be the first to hit 100 points. The rules are easy enough for young children to get involved, but all the family will enjoy throwing (and running after) the inflatable pugs.

Included in the box you get a score pad, pencil, mesh carry bag and even a small repair kit in the unfortunate circumstance that your pug gets a puncture. Poor pug!

It’s a silly game bound to end in laughter, but that’s exactly why we love it.

Buy now £19.99, Winning Moves

Janod 5 Activity Baskets

Another great choice for younger babies and toddlers, these Janod Activity Buckets make for a great beach toy. They’re extremely sturdy, and the bright, pastel colours are an aesthetically pleasing choice. Adorned on the buckets are different animals, and the numbers one to five, making them educational as well as fun.

Use them at the beach by filling with sand to make sandcastles or in the sea by filling them with water and watching it trickle out of the different shaped holes in the bottom of each activity basket.

They stack together to save storage space, so these are another good option to throw into a suitcase or beach bag, and can be used as a regular toy or bath toy when summer is over, too.

Buy now £14.00, Kidly

JoJo Maman Bébé Safari Bat And Ball Set

When you think of classic, traditional beach toys, a bat and ball is pretty high up on the list, right? Originating from the beautiful beaches of Brazil, a game of paddle ball is a great family friendly game for all ages to enjoy – all you need is two bats and a ball.

The JoJo Maman Bébé Safari Bat And Ball Set is a great option to get your children interested in the game – and burn off some energy – with the brightly coloured tiger and lion shaped bats. The handle is covered in soft foam for little hands to easily grip, whilst the bats themselves are strong and sturdy, made from MDF wood. The set comes with two balls that are soft and lightweight, with a bit of bounce.

Taking up very little space in a suitcase, this is a great choice of beach toy for sportier children… and if you have two children that are old enough to play together, you might even get a few minutes of peace and quiet to sunbathe and relax. Bliss.

Buy now £16.00, JoJo Maman Bébé

Hippychick Dena Rainbow Play Set

In a range of colourways from pastel to neon, the Hippychick Dena Rainbow Play Set is a versatile toy with endless options when used as a beach toy.

Made from BPA-free, food-grade platinum silicone and suitable for even the youngest of babies, the rainbow pieces are bendy and malleable (and make excellent teethers for sore gums, too!). As well as building towers, shapes and obstacle courses, on the beach you could use the Dena rainbow to scoop sand, form solid walls of a moat, decorate a sandcastle or create pictures in the sand – the possibilities truly are endless.

Stacked as a rainbow they take up little space in a beach bag or suitcase, and they’re dishwasher safe if they get muddy and dirty. Whilst we’re at it, they’re even oven and freezer safe as well.

If you want to save on even more suitcase space, you could opt for a six-piece rainbow instead, which is still bound to provide hours of fun both in and out of the sand, and there’s other shapes available in the Dena range too, including people, houses, and much more.

Buy now £42.50, Amazon

Waboba Backnine

This nomadic disc golf game is a great beach toy for all the family. Throw the Flying Target Ring near or far, then try to throw your own Wingman disc to the target in the least amount of throws. Use the paper scorecard or digital scorecard included to spark a bit of friendly competition, or if you want to take the game to the next level you can make up some rules depending on what colour zone your Wingman disc lands on – there’s some good examples included in the instruction pamphlet.

The discs themselves are bright and extremely flexible and lightweight, so even the littlest of children should have no trouble throwing the disc. Waboba Backnine can be played on nearly any surface, making it a great beach toy for not only beautiful golden sands but also a good old pebbly beach!

All of the equipment zips into a lightweight carry case for ease of storage and is another great choice no matter where in the world your travels take you this Summer.

Buy now £16.85, Amazon

Verdict

The Toy Ons Sand Pal Sand Castle Building Toys is the standout star for us – it opens a whole new realm when it comes to building extravagant, unique sandcastles. Durable, affordable and beautifully designed, we think this is destined to be a family favourite for years to come.

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