A sandbox is a sensory pit that allows us to bring back a part of the beach experience we all love.
But today’s sandboxes aren’t as “basic” as the ones we had. They come in intricate designs and incorporate various themes to make play more interactive and fun. This can make it hard to decide which sandbox will be best for your kids.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best sandboxes on the market. We’ll also discuss how to choose the best one for your family, how to keep it clean, and how it will benefit your kids.
Your kids will want to spend hours enjoying the great outdoors in their new sandbox.
- Great aesthetic appeal
- Drain plug for easy cleaning
- Double-sided sand and water play
- Plenty of accessories
- Includes non-stick coolsand
- Less messy than ordinary sandboxes
- Offers storage space for outdoor toys
- Holds a lot of sand
- Lid to protect contents
- Large area for sand play
- Durable and long-lasting
- Two molded seats
- Durable and safe materials
- Can hold up to 300 pounds of sand
- Compact design
- Elastic straps hold lid in place
- Elevated sandbox
- Lid doubles up as play table
- Mess-free play
- Accessories for added fun
- Easy cleanup
- Boosts thinking and motor skills
- Pockets for storing the accessories
- Easy to assemble
- Shady canopy
- Made of weather-resistant wood
- Spacious area for several children
- Durable construction
- Holds 1,000 lbs of sand
- Requires no special assembly tools
The Best Sandboxes of 2023
Here is our list of the best sandboxes on the market. We’re sure you’ll find one your child digs.
Step2 Dino Dig Sand & Water Table
Playtime will never be the same again with this elevated sandbox that brings together all the things that fascinate kids. We’re talking dinos, a rocky mountain, sand, and water — now, what child (or adult) could resist that?
This sandbox measures 29.5 by 33 by 30 inches and features a two-sided table. The sand section holds up to 20 pounds of sand, while the water basin can support 4 gallons of water. There’s a palm tree in the middle that gives it a tropical feel and a watering hole for the dinos.
The gray lid is designed to look like a volcanic structure that can be incorporated into the play. Your kids will enjoy pouring water into the high rocky mountain and watching it gush down the sides.
The sandbox comes with four dinosaurs, a shovel/rake, and two scoops to keep little hands busy and minds creative. The children can go off on an adventure to find the molded-in dinosaur bones and footprints.
Once assembled, this sandbox gives off a prehistoric vibe that takes us back thousands of years to when dinos ruled the world. It’s a pure delight and will look great indoors or outdoors.
- Great aesthetic appeal.
- Easy to assemble.
- Drain plug for easy emptying and cleaning.
- Large enough for multiple children to play.
- You can only use the lid to cover one side of the table, not both.
CoolSand 3D Dino Sandbox
A 3D Treat for Dinosaur Lovers
Stuck indoors with nothing much to do? This dino sandbox is a great way to get your kids’ creativity going for hours on end. It’s ideal for dinosaur lovers, young or old.
It features 1 pound of kinetic CoolSand, 10 mold shapes, 12 3D figures, a dino fossil, and other accessories. The packaging turns into the sandbox, measuring 11 inches by 9.5 inches, and is 2 inches deep. It has dino artwork all over, including the legendary T-rex, to help you create your own Jurassic Park.
We especially like that CoolSand doesn’t dry out or stick to your kids’ hands. It holds its shape, which is great because you can mold it into just about anything. You can even choose to run your fingers through it for relaxation and a unique sensory experience.
- The package contains plenty of accessories to enhance play.
- Includes easy-to-shape non-stick CoolSand.
- Less messy than ordinary sandboxes.
- The accessories may pose a hazard for children under 3 years old.
- Sandbox isn’t big enough for family play.
- No lid included.
Step2 Play and Store Sandbox
Great for Play and Landscaping
This sandstone-colored sandbox offers plenty of room for your child and friends to play. Its ornate design will also look great in your backyard, especially if you have a rock garden or grass.
It features four molded seats for children to sit on while they engage in creative play. This sandbox is 11 inches deep and measures 28 by 42 inches. It holds up to 200 pounds of sand. It comes assembled, so all you need to do is pour in the sand, and playtime can begin.
It’s made of durable plastic and has a full-coverage lid. This allows you to store the sand toys once the kids are done playing.
- Aesthetically pleasing look.
- Offers storage space for outdoor toys.
- Holds a lot of sand.
- Sitting space for four children.
- The lid helps keep the sand clean when not in use.
- The lid has issues latching well.
Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox
Classic Cute Design
For many years, children have enjoyed playing sand games in this smiling turtle, and so can yours. It’s made from high-quality, long-lasting plastic and will be a great addition to your yard.
Grandparents can step up the fun by having one in their backyard when their grandchildren come over to visit. The turtle’s shell doubles as a removable lid, covering the sand area.
Once the kids are done playing, you can store all the sand toys inside the turtle and snap the lid shut for protection. This circular sandbox is about 40 inches in diameter and offers a large play area for multiple children. It also features two seats for kids to sit on as they play.
The seats are molded on the outside to ensure they don’t eat into the play area. The smiling turtle can hold up to 150 pounds of sand for your little ones to dig in.
- Big enough for several kids to play together.
- Durable and long-lasting design.
- Lid protects contents.
- Turtle “feet” are handy seats.
- The lid doesn’t fasten shut, so it could blow off the sandbox.
Step2 Crabbie Sandbox
A Great Option for Toddlers
This sandbox was designed to gradually help younger children get used to sand play. Its simple design and vibrant colors will look great in the yard or indoors.
The 47-inch sandbox has two molded seats. It features a removable shell-style lid that keeps the sand clean and dry after play. It can hold up to 300 pounds of sand, which is more than enough for little hands to get creative. From sandcastles to tunnels, there’s no limit to how toddlers can play.
Unfortunately, our friendly crabbie does not come with shovels, buckets, or any other accessories, but it’s spacious enough for more than one child to play at. This sand is suitable for children 12 months and older.
- Durable and safe materials.
- Good height for toddlers.
- It can hold up to 300 pounds of sand.
- Compact design is small enough to use indoors.
- Accessories not included.
Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table
Raise it Up
If you don’t want your kids trudging through or sitting in the sand, this may be an excellent choice for you. Four legs elevate the sandbox from the ground, which reduces the chance of animals getting into it. The play area is 26 inches by 36 inches, and the table stands just over 16 inches high.
The lid keeps the sand safe from animals and debris. It also comes with elastic straps to secure it in place. Plus, it doubles up as a racetrack for cars and trucks, which is great if your child tires of the sand play.
This sandbox can hold up to 40 pounds of sand and comes with accessories, including two claw rakes, two shovels, and one bucket. It comes unassembled, but it only takes a few minutes to pop the pieces together.
- Elastic straps hold the lid in place.
- Elevated sandbox.
- The lid doubles as a play table.
- No seal on the cover, so rainwater might be able to seep in.
Kinetic Sand Construction Site Folding Sandbox
A Fine Combo
What’s the main reason kids love to play with sand? To build and construct! This sandbox, made of kinetic sand and paired with a crane, dump truck, and other molding accessories, equals more fun for kids. It gives you the best of both worlds without compromising on quality.
Unlike ordinary sand, kinetic sand gives a nice feel and molds perfectly to any shape your child wants. Plus, it is hypoallergenic, so you don’t have to worry about the possible trouble your child may develop after play.
This sandbox comes with two pounds of kinetic sand and a written guide. It’s perfect for kids from 4 to 6 years of age.
- Mess-free play.
- Airtight storage.
- Fun accessories for added play.
- Cleanup is easy.
- Does not have a handle for carrying.
- Not a lot of sand is included for the size of the sandbox.
Little Tikes Big Digger Sandbox
Little Humans at Work
If your child isn’t thrilled by simply playing in the sand, step up the fun using this construction-themed sandbox. Along with the play, kids will be engaged in strategic thinking as they figure out how to operate heavy machinery.
The lid serves as a ramp for the heavy equipment to come on board the sandbox. This sandbox comes with an excavator, a dump truck, two characters, a rake, a shovel, and two sand cups. It’s about 51 inches long and 28.5 inches wide.
The Big Digger sandbox has a holding capacity of 100 pounds of sand. Children will have tons of fun building castles, roads, tunnels, and anything else their brilliant minds can come up with. So how about assembling this toy and getting your young builder started?
- The excavator works.
- Boosts strategic thinking and fine motor skills.
- Includes pockets for storing the accessories.
- Easy to assemble.
- The lid may collect water.
- The sandbox is quite small.
KidKraft Pirate Sandboat
Best Sandbox for Big Imaginations
Children love dressing up and playing pirates, so why not make your child’s dreams come true with a pirate ship sandbox? This delightful sandbox comes with a steering wheel, a flag, and colorful pirate-themed artwork.
It features two compartments: one with sand for the children to play in, and the other with seating space. In between, there’s covered storage for the sand toys. The sandbox itself is 38.5 inches wide by 48 inches long, but the total length with the seating area of the ship is 78.5 inches. It holds up to 700 pounds of sand!
This sandbox can accommodate several children, and there’s a shady canopy to shelter the little pirates from the sun. The product is made from sanmu wood and comes unassembled but with detailed instructions to help you set it up within a couple of hours.
The best part is that even without sand, this sandbox will inspire creative imagination and play. Arrrrr… your kids will love me ship arrrrr…
- Pirate theme that inspires creative play.
- Canopy to keep the sun out.
- Includes a plastic liner for the sand.
- Spacious area for several children to play.
- The cover doesn’t fully enclose the sandbox compartment.
Creative Cedar Designs Wooden Sandbox
Perfect for Play Dates
This wooden sandbox is a great option for one or more kids to play in. It’s built using heavy-duty wood and can act as an expanded play area for other toys.
The sandbox holds at least 500 pounds of sand, but it allows you to increase the sand depth to 1,000 pounds. The manufacturer has included a polyethylene sandbox cover that you can use to prevent unwelcome animals or debris.
This sandbox kit includes all the necessary panels and equipment, but you’ll have to purchase sand separately.
- Accommodates up to 1,000 pounds of sand.
- Easy cleanup that only requires you to use a sandbox cover.
- Accommodates several children at once.
- The heavy structure cannot be moved once filled with sand.
- No sand included.
How to Choose a Sandbox
The best sandbox for your family will depend on several factors. We’ll take a look at a few of these.
Regardless of your yard size, there’s a sandbox that will work for you. If you have a spacious yard, your possibilities are endless. But you may have to get a little more creative if you have a small yard, shared space, or no yard at all.
Some sandboxes have a small, contained design that fits nicely on a deck or in the corner of a smaller space. These sandboxes sometimes have legs, so your child can play while standing rather than sitting in the sand. They’re also a great option if you struggle with the mess of sand tracked into your house, as your child’s hands are likely the only part of them to get sand-coated.
If you have no yard but your child is crazy for that sensory sand experience, try an indoor sandbox. There are plenty of Kinetic Sand kits for play on the table (or floor if you don’t have carpet) that you can store away when not in use.
Shade is an important factor if your child is going to be playing outdoors in their sandbox in the hot summer sun. Some sandboxes include a sun shade above them to protect your child from the sun’s harmful rays and keep the sand cool.
It’s also a good idea to get a sandbox with a cover (either a built-in cover or one purchased separately) to keep your cat (or your neighbor’s cats) from using your child’s sandbox as their personal outhouse.
A cover will also keep the sand from turning into a mud bog when it rains and will keep it clean and cool when not in use.
The best sandboxes are easy to clean because, believe me, your kid will be getting sand (and likely mud) everywhere when they play.
If you have a table-style sandbox, look for an option with a drain. A table sandbox is also a good idea if you plan on emptying your sandbox regularly or over the winter. Plastic boxes are also easier to wipe clean than wood.
Some sandboxes come with extras like benches or sand toys or appeal to the imagination with themed designs such as a pirate ship or sea turtle. These can add an extra layer of fun to your child’s play.
If you want to save space while offering your child a variety of outdoor play opportunities, look for a sandbox that serves more than one purpose. There are many options with dividers for sand and water play — but be warned, if your kids are anything like mine, the sand and water are unlikely to stay in the correct compartments, and you may end up with a giant mud table.
Some sandboxes double as toddler pools. Just be sure to dump the sand out and clean it well before adding water. Other sandboxes come with a cover you can use as a track with ramps for cars or trucks. These types of boxes extend your child’s playtime without taking up additional space.
Types of Sand to Use
There are several types of sand that you can use for your sandbox; let’s take a look at some on the market today.
Tips for Keeping Sandboxes Clean
There is no need to deny your child a home beach. Here are some tips to help you keep your sandbox clean (3):
- Insects and small animals love playing in the sand, and who knows what germs they’ll deposit in the process. Keep the sandbox covered any time it’s not in use.
- Never let your pets play in the sandbox. They may mistake it for a litter box and use it to do their business. Gross.
- Wet sand can be a breeding ground for bacteria. Always dry it out completely before storing it.
- Debris can find its way into the sandbox, so rake it regularly to remove foreign matter.
And for your own sake, speak to your children about the above tips. If they know why you’re doing it, they’ll gladly help you. While you are at it, make sure the younger ones don’t put sand in their mouths.
Benefits of Sand Play for Kids
Playing with sand provides an unstructured play session where your kids are free to imagine and create. They can choose to scoop sand, mold structures, build objects, or simply enjoy the feeling of the sand running through their fingers.
This freedom makes way for your child to build developmental concepts. It also helps them understand mathematical concepts as they measure sand and pour it from one container to another.
Additionally, all the digging, scooping, pouring, and general play will help develop their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
Sandboxes that allow multiple children to play together also encourage social skills. They’ll learn to share, negotiate, and compromise. These skills will be further enhanced as they grow.