Das Sandmännchen

The Sandmännchen is an animated figure in German childrens’ television. It is shown every day on KiKa (“Kinderkanal”) just before 7pm.

The Sandmann shown today is evolved from an East-German production, as can be seen by some of the buildings and clothing in the series. The puppet arrives in the scene and introduces a short film to the children. After the film he sends the children to bed by releasing sand (“Schlafsand”) and then leaves.

To hear a simple explanation in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

Download a transcript

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. The little Sandman is rather charming and his theme music strangely catchy. Is he popular all over Germany or is his survival down to East German nostalgia?

    Presumably he is a second cousin of the rather sinister sandman in E T A Hoffman’s short story “The Sandman”.

  2. He is popular all over Germany with young children. It is part of the “going to bed” routine to watch the Sandmann.

    I think part of the appeal is certainly down to GDR-nostalgia – a lot of the short films take place on sets built in the style of GDR-towns.

    There was a West German version made, but you don’t see those in the television at all.

  3. A strange phenomenon during the Cold War period was that in England a number of children’s programmes made in former eastern block countries were broadcast during children’s hour. I think the most famous of the ones from the GDR was “the Singing Ringing Tree” (Singende Klingende Bauemchen) which still has a cult following. It surprises me that the Little Sandman never made it onto our screens – but perhaps he was a bit suspect politically!

  4. I remember some cartoons from those countries (mainly Czechoslovakia I believe) being shown at the end of the 70s or beginning or the 80s.

    You could always hear the original language in the background and they had been dubbed by one person, who simply translated as a narrator rather than taking on the different parts.

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