If you’ve been on holiday with kids recently, you’ll know the range of beach toys available – from cheap’n’cheerful Brit seaside shops to beachside boutiques abroard – is, well, pretty limited. You get buckets, spades, blow-up dolphins… and that’s about it. I don’t know why, but it’s an area there doesn’t seem to have been much innovation in for years. Until now.
A cool Belgian design company, Quut (pronounced ‘cute’, www.quutbeachtoys.com) has created a new range of six clever gizmos that also work well in sandpits, the bath and even in the snow. In sturdy plastic, bright colours, and with very reasonable price tags (from £6.99 to £14.99), they’re well thought-out and a lot of fun.
While writing a piece for a magazine recently, I got the chance – along with my very helpful assistant, Sam, two-and-a-half – to try out the Alto, a sandcastle-making toy inspired by professional sand builders, in the glamorous location of our local sandpit. In three sections, you fill each one with sand, before placing the next section on top…
…and then carefully lifting the whole lot upwards, starting at the bottom, to leave a three-tier architectural masterpiece!
You can use the sections on their own, or in pairs, to create different-sized sandcastles; or group them together into a huge sand city (as we did, before a passing toddler crashed into the lot). Not only did we enjoy ourselves immensely, but we attracted lots of envious glances from the other parents in the sandpit, which made Sam very proud indeed.
Other toys in the range include (below, clockwise from top left) the Ballo, a new take on a bucket; the Cuppi, a scoop, sieve and catching game all-in-one, which also works well in the bath; the Scoppi, a cool spade with sieve attachment for serious digging; and the Ringo, a ring-toss game you can also use in the park or playground: