Best Sandbox

We have all heard the horror stories about the germs and bacteria lurking in sandboxes in playgrounds and parks.

Animal poop, creepy crawlies, and other nasties buried beneath the wet, gray sand in these boxes is enough to make any parent shiver at the thought of their child playing in one. Even the best sandbox will need to be cared for.

But this does not mean that your child can never enjoy the many benefits that sand play has to offer.

Sand play is incredibly good for youngsters so long as it is clean and hygienic. Children can enjoy free flowing play without rules or restrictions.

They can lose themselves in imaginary games, and learn about science through pouring, tipping and transferring the grains between different vessels and containers.

Sand play encourages natural curiosity and exploration, and helps children to develop social skills as they play together.

They can create sand castles, bury treasure, and learn how rakes, spades, buckets and other tools work in a sandbox. And they can do all this on a kind, soft surface with a fun, stimulating texture.

With all these developmental benefits, many parents are opting to buy sandboxes that their children can play in at home.

This way they can learn from and enjoy sandplay without worrying about germs and bacteria. We have put together a list of the best sandboxes available to buy, so that you can decide which shape, style and size is best for your little one.

Best Sandbox

OUR TOP PICK

Dsn LT Turtle Sandbox - Green

First up is this adorable turtle sandbox which is the perfect size for one or two toddlers to play in happily.

The shape of the box is cleverly designed so that the turtle's legs provide little perching points on which your toddler can sit down. 

This is really helpful because it means that the actual sandwell itself seems more spacious. This leaves plenty of room for digging, building sand castles, and accommodating toy trucks and figurines.

The shell of the turtle forms a lid which covers the entire sandpit when it is not in use.

This is great for keeping bugs and creepy crawlies out, and from preventing animals and pets from using it as a litter tray when you aren’t looking.

The lid fits well and is pretty durable, however, it does not clip onto the base and therefore is prone to blowing off in strong winds.

The turtle's face is very cute, and kids will instantly be drawn to it for this very reason. A great idea is to give the turtle a name so that your child loves playing in it even more.

At 12 inches high, and 38 inches wide, this box requires approximately 4 30 pound bags of sand to be filled a suitable amount.

Pros 

  • Fun turtle design that kids will love
  • Full cover prevents creepy crawlies
  • Two in-built seats for perching
  • Spacious enough for two toddlers
  • Plastic material is durable and safe 

Cons 

  • Lid does not clip down

EDITORS CHOICE

Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table

We love this standing table sandbox design because it is the perfect height for toddlers. They can play happily without getting really messy and covered in sand.

This means that you save the time and effort of dusting them off and changing their clothes after each session. Ingenious!

This sandbox also allows for more kids to be able to play together at one time due to its standing design, making it a top choice for anyone with multiple kids or for those who love to have friends around to play.

It encourages kids to strengthen their legs and find their balance as they play at the same time.

The sandbox has a lid that provides full coverage, so your sand will not get wet and soggy in the rain, and bugs and birds are kept out.

Better still, the lid comes with two elastic ties which secure it to the base between uses. This is good for holding the lid in place on sunny, calm days, but it does not hold up against strong winds or heavy rain.

The lid itself has grooves and indented marks which mean it becomes a fun race track for toy cars and play surface for your toddler even when the lid is closed.

The legs need to be attached to the base when this sandbox arrives, and some customers have noted that the assembly takes a bit of muscle power.

However, it will be worth the effort when you see your child enjoying themselves in the sand.

Best of all, this item comes with a sand tool accessory kit including bucket, spades and sand scoop claws! Brilliant!

Pros

  • Standing design means kids stay clean
  • Full coverage lid has elastic straps to hold it down
  • Lid doubles as a race track and play surface
  • Comes with a 5 piece accessory kit
  • Sandpit accommodates up to 3 toddlers 

Cons

  • Lid does not stand up to strong wind and rain
  • Assembly is tricky and time consuming

BEST VALUE

Covered Convertible Cedar Sandbox with Two Bench Seats, 09988

This beautiful, cedar wooden sandbox is ideal for those with large gardens that can accommodate a sizable structure.

It measures 46.5 inches by 46.5 inches, weights 42.8 pounds, and accommodates 4 children comfortably.

It is ideal for those with large families and also makes for a great kindergarten sandpit.

The quality of the cedar wood is very high, meaning it is both safe and attractive. The wood is heat treated so that it can withstand harsh UV rays, and is stained and rust resistant too.

The treatment means that the wood does not fray and splinter in bad weather so your children will not get scratched or cut as they play.

Instead, they can sit happily on the two wooden benches and enjoy all the fun and games that such a big sand pit can provide.

This sandpit has a clever design whereby the wooden benches lift up and draw across the box to form a wooden cover for the sand.

This cover is not entirely weather proof but it does keep cats, dogs, birds and bugs at bay and it also helps to contain the sand while it is not being used.

Two easy grip handles mean that lifting and closing the benches is hassle free, however, some customers have remarked that the hinges are not terribly durable.

The bottom of this sandbox is removable so that the sand can be easily drained and changed. This is great for hygiene and cleanliness and also prevents water from puddling in the bottom of the box.

Pros 

  • Attractive cedar construction is safe and weather resistant
  • Two benches for children to sit on
  • Convertible cover keeps animals and insects out
  • Bottomless design aids drainage and allows for adjustable depth
  • Large area can accomodate 4 children easily 

Cons 

  • Lid is not weather proof
  • Hinges are not the most durable

RUNNER UP

Little Tikes Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox for Kids, Including lid and Play Sand Accessories

This Little Tikes Big Digger Sandbox is any little kid’s dream! We love how small and compact it is when you pack it up.

It does not take up tons of storage room in the garden, garage or shed, but is deep and large enough for kids to have a really fun time playing in it.

The lid of this sandbox is the real winner because it attaches to the base and transforms into a slope and extended play area for the kids to enjoy.

They will love shoveling sand up and down the ramp and rolling the dump truck up and down as well.

Then, when playtime is over, the lid sits on top of the base and keeps rain, wind, animals and insects away from the sand.

This sandbox comes with 6 fun sand accessories including a digger, sand scoop, dump truck, rake and spade.

The base has two handy tool holders in-built in its walls so the accessories are easy to store and won’t get lost between uses.

Although small, two children can play together in this sandbox if they sit outside the walls.

The construction theme is really cool and means that kids can get lost for hours in their own imaginary construction jobs.

The build is a little flimsy but strong enough for calm weather use, and the pit holds up to 100 pounds of sand so there is plenty of depth for your kids to get stuck into.

Pros

  • Lid doubles as a truck ramp and extended play surface
  • Comes with 6 accessories including digger and truck
  • Has two tool holders so accessories are easy to store
  • Small size makes it neat, compact and easy to store 

Cons

  • Too small for kids to play inside the box together
  • Lid does not clip down

RUNNER UP

Teamson Kids - Wooden Outdoor Kids Sandbox with Rotatable Canopy Cover, for Outdoor Backyard Adjustable Height Sun Shade Canopy, Square Sandbox for Child, Brown/Blue

Finally, this wooden sandbox by Teamson is made from Spruce wood that has been treated with weather resistant coating and painted in non-toxic, eco-friendly paint.

We love the choice of bright blue and yellow as it appeals immediately to kids and adds a splash of vibrancy to any backyard.

The sandbox is large enough for 2 children to play inside it comfortably, and it also has a perching surface in-built around the edges which is great for kids to sit on and stay clean as they play.

The solid wood construction is strong and durable and holds up well in windy and rainy conditions thanks to the weather resistant treatment.

What sets this sandbox apart is its overhead canopy which can be adjusted to different heights and tilted to different angles depending on the sun’s position in the sky.

This canopy is perfect for protecting your little ones from the sun’s harmful rays as they enjoy their playtime, and it affords parents great peace of mind in the process.

The canopy can also be fully lowered and used as a cover for the sandbox between uses.

It prevents sand from escaping and messing up the patio, and also prevents animals and bugs from dirtying the sand.

This sandbox requires assembly and we recommend that two people tackle the task together as it requires some difficult balancing and screwing into place.

Once assembled, the sandbox has a plastic lining which keeps the sand contained and protects your lawn from spillage.

This lining also makes emptying and changing the sand much easier. A great summer sandbox all round!

Pros

  • Eco-friendly, safe and attractive wooden design
  • Perching bench all the way round
  • Adjustable canopy for protection from the sun
  • Canopy lid for coverage between uses
  • Suitable for two children to play in 

Cons

  • Assembly is complicated (definitely a two person job)
  • Canopy lid is not weather proof

Buyer's Guide

If you are still feeling unsure as to which sandbox is best for you and your child, here are a few key factors to consider which may clarify your decision.

Best Sandbox

Size Of Sandbox 

Depending on how many kids you have, the size of your sandbox will differ. Big sandboxes allow for greater exploration and freedom, and also allow multiple kids to play together and develop social skills.

However, A large sandbox can be tricky to store and can impinge on your garden space in a frustrating way. Often a smaller, more compact option works better for this reason. 

Lid Coverage 

Having a lid for your sandbox is essential if you want to prevent it from becoming a litter tray for all the local cats!

Ideally, look for sandboxes that have a full coverage lid as opposed to a half coverage option.

Plastic lids are great because they often double as a second play surface when the sandbox is covered, and they tend to be more rain proof than wooden options.

Wooden lids are often more attractive and eco-friendly, however, slatted lids will let rain water through. 

Lid Closure 

It is always important to consider how securely your sandbox lid closes. Lids which simply balance on top of the base will often blow off in high winds and let the sand blow all over your garden as a result.

Lids with elastic straps or side clips are better because they stay shut more effectively, and wooden lids tend to be heavier and therefore less likely to fly off in the wind. 

Sitting Space 

Sandboxes that offer perching points and benches are a great option as they help to maximize the space inside the pit by encouraging kids to sit around the edge.

This helps to avoid arguments as children are less likely to fight over space inside the pit itself.

Of course, standing sandboxes take this theory even further and allow many kids to gather around a single sandbox and play together.

Standing sandboxes are also great for reducing mess as children do not become so covered in sand as they play. 

Drainage 

Bottomless sandboxes are much better for drainage, as water seeps out into the earth rather than puddling in the base of the box.

They can be lined with fabric to protect your lawn and contain the sand grains, and the depth of the pit can be adjusted according to how deep you dig into the soil.

For solid bottomed sandboxes, look for those that offer drainage holes and plugs. They are far easier to clean and empty and more hygienic as a result.

Depth Of Sandbox 

The depth of your sandbox should be high enough for kids to play freely without causing sand to escape all over the lawn or patio.

In general, a height of around 12 inches is a good option. Of course, larger, deeper sandpits require more sand to feel and look full, so remember to consider the cost and upkeep of the sand in your mind when you choose. 

Features And Accessories 

Many sandboxes come with fun accessories and tools for your child to play with whilst in the sand.

Whilst many of these are very attractive, they should not be the deciding factor when you choose to buy.

Kids can enjoy sandplay just as much when using plastic cups and forks from the kitchen as they can when using special sand tools, so don’t be swayed. 

Durability 

Sandboxes tend to be a seasonal toy that gets loads of use during the spring and summer months and is then stored away for fall and winter.

For this reason, make sure that plastic sandboxes are strong enough not to crack and dent, and that wooden sandboxes are treated with coatings to stop them rotting and splintering whilst stored away. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Often Should You Change The Sand In A Sandbox? 

As a general rule, changing the sand in your kids sandbox every year is a good practice. This stops the sand from becoming dirty, unhygienic and clumpy.

We recommend emptying your sandbox at the end of summer and refilling it with new sand come spring.

How Do You Clean A Sandbox? 

Ideally you should use a rake to break up and redistribute the sand after each use, then use a scoop to remove any clumps and bits of dirt every few weeks.

As you cannot get the sandbox wet, we recommend disinfecting and wiping down the sand tools and toys instead. And of course, replace the lid on the sandbox after every use. 

What Sand Is Best For A Sandbox? 

River and beach sand is great for sandboxes because it is natural and therefore does not contain any harmful chemicals or toxins.

It is soft and great for digging and pouring. However, non-toxic kinetic sand is great because it holds together. Kinetic sand is ideal for molding and shaping and won’t blow all over your back lawn. 

Conclusion 

The joys and developmental benefits of sandplay are clear for all to see, and finding the right sandbox for your child will allow them to get the most out of the fun.

Your child’s motor skills, STEM learning, social skills and creativity can all be developed through these wonderful toys. In this article, we have looked at the best sandbox available today for you to get started.

Joyce Bailey
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