Sand Dunes and Sand Buggies Small World Play

Adding to our growing collection of small world play ideas is this fun sand dune small world, perfect to drive little sand buggies around! We have a sand dune buggy sitting in our shed as we did annual holidays to the dunes growing up. My children have also been a couple of times and thought this activity was pretty cool as a result. That of course doesn't mean that a child who hasn't seen sand dunes and buggies wouldn't like this activity, pop any cars in and they will start driving them around in no time!

A child's hand driving a toy car through pretend sand dunes

I made this small world using sand foam as the base and just added a few sprigs of rosemary from our bush as little plants. It really was that easy! If you haven't heard of sand foam then you will be glad to know that it too is very simple to make. All you need to do is mix sand together with shaving cream and it's done! It's so simple in fact, that the children mixed it together themselves.

Two children mixing sand and shaving cream to make sand foam

It's up to you how much sand you mix with your shaving cream, but it's generally good to start with 3 cups of sand and 250g of shaving cream. The texture will change depending on your mix, for a slimier foam add more shaving cream and for a foam that you can shape and mold into sand dunes you will need to add more sand. Just keep adding and experimenting until you find the right mix for you.

A close up photo of the texture of sand foam

It is hard to describe what sand foam feels like, it is soft and squishy yet gritty at the same time. It really is one of those things you have to try yourself to really know.

Driving toy cars through the sand dune small world play

Driving cars through the sand foam sand dunes
The sand dunes provided a fun place to drive the cars. They drove up and down, slow and fast and got 'bogged' numerous times, all of which contributed to a growing narrative from Mr 3.

Like all small world play, the idea is to provide a play scene to help encourage a child in their imaginative play. It can be a place for children to further explore their interests. A place for them to play alone and immerse themselves inside their own magical world. Or a place for them to play with a friend, combining their shared knowledge and practising social skills of cooperation, sharing and communication.

A child driving toy cars in the sand dune small world play

This sand dune small world is a versatile play scene which you can use even if you don't have little sand buggies. You could use the sand dunes to create a small world for desert animals or even flatten them out to use the sand foam as a beach.

I wonder what would happen if you added water to the beach?? If you try it out let me know!

Of course towards the end of the play the sand dunes were well and truly gone as the children mixed and squished it all together.
One small piece of advice that I will leave you with is to not go for the cheapest shaving cream on the shelf. I did this, thinking that as it was just for play I would save some money. However my sensitive skin on my hands didn't love it in the end, next time I will opt for shaving cream for sensitive skin!

Two children playing with sand foam

If you try this activity please let me know, I love to see your pictures and unique takes on play ideas! If you are on Instagram you can use #playadventures or if you prefer Facebook simply post a photo on my wall!

Pinterest image for sand dune small world play

Toy cars set up in a small world play scene



  1. Hi there, how long does the sand foam last?

  2. For us, only a day as it got pretty mixed up with nature, it will also dry out unless covered.

  3. Children get more excited by hearing sand dunes and sand buggies ideas.Because it makes more creative and imaginative to children that how they use sand for the playing purpose.Its a good idea to spend children's free time to build imaginary things. Buttercups Early Learning Centre is in Kindergarten and Perth which helps to children grow their such learning skills and make them self confident.

  4. Children get more excited by hearing sand dunes and sand buggies ideas. Because it makes more creative and imaginative to children that how they use sand for the playing purpose. It's a good idea to spend children's free time to build imaginary things. That's why we have included forts, slides, sand pits, vegetable gardens and fruit trees, climbing equipment, stepping and balancing blocks, a mound with a tunnel to investigate, dedicated courtyard for arts and craft, water pumps, quiet areas, a figure of eight bike track etc in our North Perth Child Care Centre which helps children grow their learning skills, imagination and provides a rich learning environment.


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