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Sandboxes for Kids | Outdoor Summer Fun

Updated on April 17, 2013

Choosing a Sandbox for Kids

A selection of our favorite sandboxes for kids. A sandbox is a must-have garden toy. Kids will play happily for hours in a sandbox, they can be pirates on a treasure island or paleontologists looking for dinosaur bones.

When choosing a kids sandbox you should think about how big you want it to be. This depends on how much space you have, how many children you have and whether you are likely to have friends around to play.

You also need to decide whether to choose a plastic or wooden sandbox - wooden ones can look nicer but plastic ones are fun and low maintenance.

Do you need a lid or cover for your sandbox? This is a good idea to keep out neighborhood animals and rain.

What about a sandbox with a built in sunshade. Kids like to spend lots of time in a sandbox so if you don't have a shady spot to place your sandbox in then a built in sunshade is worth considering.

And then there's the option of a themed sandbox. How about a pirate sandbox, or a fun crab themed sandbox!

Oh and you might also like my outdoor toys for toddlers page for other ideas for the backyard.

KidKraft Pirate Sandboat

Fun Crab Sandbox - Plastic Toddler Sandbox

Step2  Crabbie Sandbox
Step2 Crabbie Sandbox

The Step2 Crabbie Sandbox is just plain old good fun! The brightly colored crab will appeal to toddlers and is suitable for kids from 12 months up. Do supervise little ones though - they can try and eat the sand ...

My kids Nan had a sandbox like this in her garden for when the grandkids came round to play. The lid meant the sand was always clean and ready to play with - it did a good job of keeping the cats out.

The crab looks great in a kids backyard when he's not being used. He's quite big so two toddlers or little kids will be able to play together.


Sandbox for Toddlers - Step2 Naturally Playful Sandbox

Step2  Naturally Playful Sandbox
Step2 Naturally Playful Sandbox

This Step2 Naturally Playful Sandbox is designed to blend in to your garden.

It's a great option for grandparents who want to have sandbox for the kids to play in when they come to visit, but would prefer something that isn't made from brightly colored plastic. (This is the sandpit my Mum wishes she had got!)

This clever design looks like stone and will looks like a decorative garden feature when the lid is closed.


Protect Kids from the Sun

My kids can easily spend hours in the sandbox and it get the most use on hot days. It's really important to protect them from the sun. So consider whether you can site the sandbox in natural shade, or add an umbrella or sunshade. Or choose a sandbox with a canopy.

Make sure kids wear sunhats too and they'll probably be in and out of the sandbox.

KidKraft Pirate Sandboat

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This KidKraft Pirate Sandboat is a popular choice. It's part climbing playset and part sandbox making it a good use of space in the backyard. And kids love to play pirates.

You can set sail on a pirate adventure and then dig for buried treasure when you get there. My kids are always off on an adventure somewhere. This makes a very cool prop.

Sandpits with a soft cover

If you choose a sandpit with a soft cover, it will probably sag and let water pool in the middle and leak in at the edges. (Ours did.) You need to raise up the area in the center so that water runs off. We use a wooden garden stool, others use an inflated beach ball.

Other sandpits have a porous mesh cover which lets water pass through (obviously this doesn't keep the sand dry.)

Big Wooden Sandbox

Kidkraft Backyard Sandbox
Kidkraft Backyard Sandbox

If you already have a shaded area in your garden then a big wooden sandbox like the Kidkraft Backyard Sandbox is a good idea. We used a shade sail to create an area of sand above our sandbox which works well.


Big Quality Sandboxes - From SandLock

Do you want a really big sandbox? These high quality Sandlock sandboxes come in a range of sizes including this massive 10 foot sandbox.

This great if you have lots of children round to play in your backyard. And it's a good choice for children's attractions and parks.

These sandboxes have a simple interlocking design and a permeable ground covering that keeps weeds out. They are made from recyclable HDPE plastic.

You can also get matching sun shade umbrellas, covers and benches.

SandLock Sun Umbrella
SandLock Sun Umbrella

Designed to attach to a Sandlock sandbox.

SandLock SLB-121121CM 10 by 10 Sandbox Cover - Mesh
SandLock SLB-121121CM 10 by 10 Sandbox Cover - Mesh

A mesh cover allows water to pass through but keeps debris and animals out.

SandLock Sandbox Bench Seat
SandLock Sandbox Bench Seat

Add a bench for kids to sit on or use as a play surface.


How Much Sand Do I Need?

Sandbox sand is usually sold by weight, in pounds. If you're lucky your sandbox might mention how much sand it needs by weight. Otherwise you'll need to work it out (don't worry, it's not difficult.)

  1. Decide how deep you want the sand to be. 4 inches is fine. 6 inches is wonderful and you'll be able to bury stuff for the kids to find! You might find 3 inches is okay, but remember that not all the sand stays in the sandbox ...
  2. Calculate the volume of the sandpit. So that's length x width x depth of sand. So if we want to fill a four foot square sandbox with 6 inches of sand, then we'd need 4 * 4 * 0.5 = 8 cubic feet of sand.
  3. But sandbox sand is usually sold in lbs. A cubic foot of sand weighs around 75 lb (it's going to depend on density.)

    So we'll need 8 * 75 lb which is 600 lbs of sand. If it seems a lot that's because it is! At this point you might decide that 4 inches will do the trick to start with.

  4. If sand comes in 50lb bags then we'll need 12. Or 24 x 25lb bags.

Sandbox Toys

Don't forget to choose some fun toys for the sandbox. We keep a selection of toys in an outdoor toybox and swap them around. So we have pirate sand toys, vehicles, dinosaur stuff, and of course buckets and spades for making sandcastles.

Sandboxes on eBay

There's always plenty of choice on eBay once you have some idea what kind of sandbox you are looking for. Make sure you check delivery costs as they can be expensive for such a large heavy item.

Thanks for Visiting

Sandboxes for Kids

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