Bring the beach to your backyard with a kids’ sandbox. In the era of tablets, drones, and bluetooth karaoke machines, there’s a lot to be said for keeping playtime simple, at least some of the time–and it doesn’t really get much simpler than a sandbox for kids and toddlers. Playing in a sandbox, be it at the school playground or a park, was an integral part of most of our childhoods, and it’s a classic toy that endures today. Some things (like inflatable pools) are just timeless.
OK, so the sandboxes for kids and toddlers of today aren’t exactly what we played in back then, though some of the old-school models are still around and are just as beloved as ever. (Anyone remember the Little Tikes turtle sandbox? Yeah, he’s (she’s?) still kickin’.) That said, there are plenty of modern-day offerings that definitely step up the sandbox game–think cabana awnings, pirate ships, seating/benches, and even options that can be repurposed into the backyard decor when your kids outgrow them (because it’s 2020, y’all).
So whether you’re skeeved by the germ-risk at the local public sandbox or just looking for a way to extend playground time into your own backyard (or living room–indoor sandboxes are a thing, too!), there’s a sandbox for kids and toddlers that’s perfect for your home and your kiddos. Let’s dig into the top options ahead, shall we?
Best Sandbox for Kids
Recommended for ages 1+, this Step2 sandbox is designed for indoor/outdoor use. They can enjoy it on the back deck or from the comfort of your living room. A removable lid keeps messy sand from getting everywhere. It’s made from durable plastic that you can use for many summers to come. (Pssst: It can also be used as a toy storage box during the off seasons.) “Perfect sand box for our needs, ” says one Amazon customer. ” We like it because it’s the perfect size for our townhome patio big enough for a couple of kids to enjoy and small enough to be unobtrusive on our deck. It’s sturdy and toys can be stored in the sand box . The top keeps out rain and cats. The bonus is it is not noticeable on our patio when it’s covered. We like to have adult friends over and didn’t want something that made out patio look like a playground.”
Plastic Sandboxes for Kids and Toddlers
The Little Tikes Turtle sandbox feels like it’s been around for-ever–and is still popular for good reason. It’s affordable, with room for multiple small kiddos to play and molded “seats” for perching while digging. The turtle shell is actually a removable lid, making this one of our top picks for best sandbox with a cover–though while uncovered, it’s been known to serve multiple purposes. As one reviewer notes, ““We’ve used it as a sand pit, paddling pool, messy play tray, ice rink for toys in the winter (with frozen water) and currently we’re using it as a pond for growing tadpoles.”
Similar to the Little Tikes turtle sandbox, the Step2 Crabbie is a plastic model that comes fully assembled. This crustaceous cutie measures 3 by 3 feet inside, so there’s room for two–and it’s got a sculpted “shell” lid that fits tightly, making it a top contender for best sandbox with a cover. According to one reviewer, “Doesn’t blow off even in the frequent 50-60 mph windstorms we get.” Well, dang.
If you’re short on space, consider this compact option (the sandbox portion measures approximate 2 x 2 ft.). A cross between a sandbox and a track toy, the Little Tikes Big Digger comes with two construction worker characters, a sand cup, sifter, shovel, rake, and dump truck, so your kiddos have the sandbox experience without taking up a ton of square footage.
Where there’s a sand table, there’s fun to be had. Right, moms?! We love the elevated design of this sand table. Not only does it come with a lid (easy storage and clean-up at the end of the day), but it’s the perfect height for curious toddlers who like to be on their feet all day. Just think: No more sand in their shoes! It comes with 5 accessories including a waterfall attachment —basically everything you’ll need to build epic sandcastles in your backyard.
Wooden Sandboxes for Kids and Toddlers
Arg! This sandbox will transport your little one into a whole new world filled with parrots, eye patches, and treasure. This sandbox from KidKraft features pirate skulls and parrot designs, a bench, a weatherproof wood finish, and a canopy to protect your kiddo from the harsh sun. One reviewer said, “I’ve had it for a while now, the kids love it. I have been able to use it for more than a sand box. It’s cute [and] pretty sturdy.”
If you’re looking for a sandbox that’s big enough for multiple toddlers (recommended for 2-4 children, depending on their size), then this wooden Turtleplay Sandbox will fit the bill just fine. Our favorite part is definitely the striped canopy, which has a UV rating of 30. While you should still lather on the SPF (you can never be too careful), you can rest easy knowing that they’ll be in the shade staying cool. Says one customer, “It’s a perfect sandbox for my 2-year-old. Enough room for him and one other little friend, love the top for shade and to keep it covered when not using it. We were pleased to see that the top is very waterproof and kept the sand clean and dry through several days of rain.” Another buyer adds, “Easy to put together, beautiful when finished and the kids love it! It takes about 4 bags of 50lb sand to fill. So pleased with this.”
Versatility reigns supreme as far as this wood octagon sandbox is concerned. Beyond backyard play, it won’t look like an eyesore in your backyard. When not in use, toss on the cover and no one will be the wiser. Let’s get back to the size: Measuring 78″ x 9″, it’s perfect for solo play or interactive play with your neighbor’s kids. According to customers, assembly is a piece of cake. Simply put, “Great sandbox! Easy to assemble. Did it alone in about 20 minutes. Perfect size for 4 children with ample room to play.” Even grammie approves (and she knows best)! She says, “This is awesome. Easy to assemble, took this grandma less than an hour. Plenty of room for the kids to play. Bonus: it smells great too. I am very pleased. P.S. It would also make a great raised bed garden.”
Where, oh where was this cool AF activity sandbox (canopy included to provide shade) when we were kids. Times sure have changed! Purchase this and the kiddos will never want to leave the backyard. Made from reinforced wooded panels, this weather-resistant sandbox is worth every penny. You’ll be able to use it for years to come. When not in use, there’s even a mesh cover to protect the sand. Says one hyperenthusiastic mama, “We have looked at many sandboxes before deciding to purchase this one. And boy are we glad we did!! This sandbox is awesome! It is large enough that both my 4 year old and 2 year old can play in it together and have plenty of room without getting in each others way. I love that there is covered storage to place their toys and the canopy was a must as my kids would always get sunburnt while playing in our old sandbox, but now they have shade 🙂 It also comes with a net that is easy to tie to the top so now that it is fall, the leaves don’t get in the sand! We totally love this sandbox and would recommend it to everyone!!!”
Raise the roof! Then lower it! The Felix sandbox for kids and toddlers comes with an adjustable vinyl awning that keeps kids covered (UV 50+ rating) when raised—and covers the sand when lowered. At just under 3.5 x 3.5 ft, it’s a cute, practical, convenient option for up to two kids.
Found the best sandbox for your kids? Great! Lets the fun begin–and continue by shopping more of our top toy picks!