However old you are, we’ve all experienced the joy of being the proud owner of our very own bucket and spade and how easily these two items transformed a trip to the beach. The humble bucket and spade does more for your child than you might think - improving patience, fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and much more.
The fun doesn’t have to stop at the beach either, a bucket and spade is a great accompaniment for a sandpit.
That’s why we’ve sought out the very best bucket and spade sets available to buy, considering size, durability, transportation and how you’ll store it when you’re back home.
Our product recommendations are based on a combination of real-world testing from our burgeoning army of mum testers, and the extensive knowledge of our experienced editorial team and product specialists. Find out more about why you can trust us.
The best bucket and spade set
Best for space
As you might expect from the name, this clever bucket ‘scrunches’ down, whether you choose to fold, roll or squash it - making it a fab option for storing at home. It’s made from non-toxic, food-grade silicone, is available in a whole rainbow of colour choices and has a comfortable tube which covers the rope handle.
Capacity: 1.5 litres
Review: “This is our second one. Our first one was chewed by our rabbit. Other than that, they're pretty indestructible. Easy to scrunch up into a bag or suitcase to take on holiday or to the beach. Fab idea.”
Best all in one set
This kit is a real bargain, containing everything your youngster could need to play in the sand. It includes a beach truck, watering can, water wheel, beach bucket, sand sieve, castle animal molds and other beach tools. It also comes with a net bag, so you can keep everything safe and together.
Review: "Our Granddaughter loved this set - it is so manageable for her to use & a bonus it came in a net bag to pack away - would thoroughly recommend."
Best alternative bucket and spade set
Suitable to be used both indoors and outdoors, this Spring Flower Sand Bucket from Playmobil encourages your tot to become creative with sand and water. They can dig, mash and design sand to their heart's content with the flower mould, flower sieve and leaf shovel, making the prettiest creations.
Review: "Actually much better than the photos and kids are always trying to take them off my daughter at the park, I’m practically a spokesperson for these people at this point."
Best eco-friendly bucket and spade set
This 4-piece sand play set is made completely from recycled plastics, helping to reduce fossil fuel use and C02 emissions. It comes with a bucket, spade, rake and castle mould. The rake and shovel both have a little nub for thumbs to help push or pull while the sand castle mould is the perfect size for little hands to fill, pack, and flip. The durable cotton rope handle means you don't have to worry about it popping off or snapping when filled with a heavy wet sand.
Review: "My son loves this bucket sand set. The quality is very good plus the colour is superb! The only thing I was taken aback by was the price but I realised that it was all worth it after finally deciding to buy it."
Best overall bucket and spade set
Folding down to just 5 cm tall so it can be stowed under your buggy or popped in a rucksack, this light but sturdy bucket comes with a deeply scooped spade with comfy rounded handles for efficient shoveling. The'tip-lip' on the base of the bucket and the fully rotating handle means your tot will be tipping out sandcastles easily.
Capacity: 2 litres
Review: “The quality of the bucket is amazing and couldn't believe the price for the bucket and spade set. I love the fold away feature, so easy to take everywhere as I can pop it in my bag. I find the handle on the Kidly bucket sturdy and it folds away.”
Best Scandi bucket and spade set
There's no doubt that this set is pricey, but it's certainly adorable and made to last. Available in several different designs, it's made from 100 per cent soft, flexible silicone and comes with four cute beach moulds.
Review: "I was really looking forward to receiving this item, and I can’t wait for my son to use it. It’s even better in person!
Worth every penny!"
Best bucket and spade set for big imaginations
It may not be a traditional bucket and spade, but your youngster is bound to have oodles of fun with this baking set, creating mudpies and sandcakes. The set includes shell-shaped measuring cups, octopus whisk and crab mixing spoon, encouraging your child to mix, sift and bake.
Review: "Very robust and can tell will last a long time. Bought as a birthday present for a sandpit but could take on holiday or to the seaside. Worth the extra money as it will last for a long time. My three year old loved it and it's a good bath toy too, she had hours of fun baking cakes with her big sister."
Best budget bucket and spade set
If you want to keep things simple, this brightly coloured bargain set does just the job. It includes a bucket, spade, watering can, turret moulds and sieve and is chunky enough for little hands to hold.
Review: "Bought this for my nephew who is 2 and a half. He loved it - the water can was a particular favourite and worked just a bigger one would! Can’t fault it - I was impressed with the quality and indeed quantity, for the bargain price. I’m sure It will last us several summers to come until he outgrows it at which point we’ll pass it on. Brilliant and love the bright colours."