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How to build a Sandbox or Sandpit. What to do with your childrens old sandpit

Updated on July 9, 2011

A simple Sandbox

I remember creating a sandbox for my son when he was a toddler. As he got older I realised I had made a few basic mistakes like not allowing for his growth and him wanting friends over to play in it. The sandbox became too small so I created a sandpit. I then needed to figure out what to do with the old sandbox and once my boy had outgrown his sandpit what to do with it.

So here is how to build both of these and an idea or two on what to do with them after the kids no longer want them.

You will also need to decide whether you wish to use treated or untreated wood.

Untreated wood is more natural and if you’re worried about your kids touching treated wood this is the way to go. Just be aware it doesn't last as long and is easier for insects etc. to get into. You may want to use a natural insect deterrent if this is the way you wish to go.

Treated wood will last for years and will keep out the borra and other insect infestations. If this is important then perhaps this is the wood for you.

Okay to build a basic sandbox you will need the following –

You will need is wood, a saw, an electric sander, hammer, nails and glue.

Six pieces of 100 x 25 x 1500mm timber – three pieces per side

Six pieces of 100 x 25 x 800mm timber – three pieces per end (you can make this a box shape by buying all pieces the same length if you wish)

Four battens of 100 x 25 x 300mm

Four corner posts of 75 x 100 x 300mm.

Most places will cut this to the length you need if you ask nicely. This is great if you don’t own a saw. Also you can make these lengths longer for a big sandpit that will hold your growing children and their friends.

Place three pieces of timber for your sides on top of each other (or lay them on the ground evenly). Glue and nail a batten to the centre of them. Attach the corner posts to the ends.

Do the same with the other side.

Now repeat with the ends. At this stage you will have to stand the sides and ends up to attach the end pieces you have made to the corner posts which are already attached to the side pieces.

That’s basically it you have now made a sandbox. All that’s left is to sand off any sharp edges and move it into position before filling it with sand.

Building a sandpit

This is the one I prefer to do though it takes longer. Place string or rope on the ground and create the design of your sandpit. I created mine so that when the little ones grew out of the sandpit I could empty it of sand and turn it into a fish pond.

You will need to take off the top layer of grass in the shape you have designed. Now it’s time to dig, you want this deep enough that the kids can have a good dig in the sand and later the fish have enough depth to not get fished out by the cats.

You will need to put some sort of edging on your sandpit to stop the sides from caving in. If your sandpit is straight use sleepers if it curves use pavers (you can make your own with some concrete, create a box, place some polythene in it pour your concrete, place the kids hand or foot in it and then put marbles or whatever you wish in as decoration, let it set.) partially fill the pit with sand then place the edging before completing the filling.

You will also need to cover your sandpit or sandbox when you’re not using it so no animals decide it is a fab toilet spot. Polythene is my choice here. Some people use netting however I have seen animals that don’t mind going on top of netting. Not great if you want your kids to be able to play in clean sand.

Remember your children boys especially are going to want to have their friends over to play in the sandpit/box so make it large enough for 5-6 six year olds to play in with their trucks etc.

If you want to know how to build a bench seat that can be used to hold the childrens sandpit toys at the same time please click here

Fish pond made from a sandbox
Fish pond made from a sandbox

How to make a fishpond out of your children’s sandpit or sandbox

If you made the sandpit in the shape you wanted your fishpond to be this helps.

First it’s time to empty all the sand from the sandpit. This will take some time but it shouldn’t be as hard as it was to dig the pit in the first place.

Alright once all the sand has been emptied you want to go to your hardware store and buy two large pieces of polythene longer and wider than the area you have dug out. Place one piece on top of the other this makes the polythene stronger and less likely to get holes in it.

Place the polythene into your hole smoothing it down on the bottom and sides. You want as few wrinkles as possible as you don’t want your fish to get stuck in a wrinkle and die. Once you have got the polythene placed in your new pond (using large stones can help here just make sure they don’t have sharp edges).

Time to start filling your pond with the garden hose. Once the weight of the water is pushing down on the bottom of the polythene remove any stones or rocks you were using to keep the polythene in place. You now need to get into the pond and smooth down any wrinkles. Then fill the pond to halfway and again get into it to smooth down the side wrinkles.

Next you need to move each of your edging stones so that the polythene sits snuggly under each of them. And trim off any excess polythene. Fill your pond all the way up then yep get back in and get all wrinkles you can tight against the sides.

Go and buy a couple of water lilies and a grassy water plant and place them in your new fish pond. You now need to wait for at least two days to make sure there are no holes in your pond and to let the water age so your goldfish will survive.

Go and choose a few goldfish bring them home and place the bag there in into the pond. You now need to wait for about ten minutes this makes the water in the bag they are in the same temperature as the water in your pond so your fish won’t die of shock (this can and does happen so please don’t rush).

Open the bag and release your goldfish into their new home. Allow them time to get used to their environment before feeding them. About an hour should do it. Congratulations you now have a fish pond.

You can also make a fish pond out of your Sandbox using the same basic principles.

For more information about creating fish ponds or water features click here

You could make a vege garden

Yep here's another option. You need to make sure to remove all the sand first.

I would also give the wood a quick wash down with the hose before adding soil and digging in potting mix. Next add your plants and you have a nice little vege garden.

If this isn't appealing you could create a magical area to just come and be in like the final photo.

Well I'm sure there are plenty more options on how to use your old sandpits but that’s it from me. I hope these ideas got your own creative juices flowing ... Good luck.

Do you have a favourite?

What would you change you childrens old sand pit or sand box into

See results


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    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thank you for your kind remarks Earthy Mother. I never really thought that writing about the things I did with for my son could help others till I found hubpages.

    • Earthy Mother profile image

      Nicole Forman 

      8 years ago from South East England

      This is a very useful hub...especially the part about making into a veggie patch afterwards! You are clearly multiskilled! Voted up and following you for more useful tips! :o) xx

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thank you peperuhi ~ I hope it helps you to create a great kids area.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I really want to turn an old giant sandbox into a small patio. This is encouraging


    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thanks for stopping by Ben. Vegetable gardens are very important these days with the price of food skyrocketing.

      I'm glad you liked my ideas ... good luck creating a nice little vege garden. Vege gardens need half day sun and half day shade basically. This will give you the best results, at least that is what I have found.

    • profile image

      Ben McDonald 

      9 years ago

      Great Hub, looks like you have put a lot of thought into this. i like the idea of the veg garden. Always wanted to make my own veg garden but never really had a chance. I think the most import thing is to have a good cover. Thanks for all your info.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Let me know if you found this useful or if it helped you to create an awesome sandbox or sandpit.

      Also let me know if it helped you to use your childrens old unused sandbox or sandpit and what you created with it.

    • Lyn.Stewart profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Hope you found this helpful and that it gives you some good ideas


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