In the era of tablets and drones, 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 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 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, 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?
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.
A sandbox with cover is essential for keeping out backyard critters and preventing icky stagnant water collection. This one may not look as bright and fun as its creature cousins (see above) but it’s roomy, with four molded seats and a capacity for up to 200 pounds of sand–and no assembly required. Yes, please.
Wooden Sandboxes for Kids and Toddlers
OK, we definitely don’t remember sandboxes being this luxurious. A canopy? Two full benches that fold flat to cover the sand? This sun-smart pick makes us want to climb in with an umbrella drink. Bonus: Your kiddos don’t have to stop playing if it starts raining mid-dig. Note: There is no bottom to this sandbox, just a non-woven fabric cloth, meaning it drains easily–and you can adjust the sand depth if you like.
Holding about 800lbs of sand and measuring 5 square feet, this Sandlock sandbox is roomy and easy to set up, thanks to four interlocking panels. It comes with removable corner seats (or drink trays? Just saying.) and is pretty damn durable, according to reviews, including one stating, “My grandkids will be in college before this sandbox wears out.”
Um, do they make this in grown-up size? With three storage bins and a roll-up cabana cover with mesh window, this practical, sun protective pick is kind of glam AF. A sandbox for kids and toddlers or mommy’s new she shed? You decide.
The retractable vinyl roof of this sandbox does double duty: With a UV rating of 90, it’s a sun-protectant awning while open. In the closed position, it covers the sand from animal intruders or other unwanted debris. Made from water-treated pine wood, this pick is also recyclable. Can we get an amen?
A pirate ship and sandbox in one? Ahoy! This weather-resistant wood sandboat is large enough for at least three kids to play in, has bench seating, hidden storage for sand toys, and a canopy for extra sun protection. It’s also durable: One reviewer notes how it lasted over six years on an outdoor roof deck in Boston, showing very little signs of wear. If you know New England winters, you know this is no small feat.
A sandbox for kids that’s roomy, sturdy, and sustainable? Sounds good to us. The Bamboo Beach sandbox is around 4.5 x 4.5 ft and features four corner seats that can each support up to 150 pounds. What’s more: This tropical-looking option can be converted to a vegetable or flower garden box when your kids are through with it.
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.
Made of reinforced wooden panels and measuring nearly 5ft by 5ft, this is a roomy, sturdy sandbox for kids and toddlers–and not just the littles. It’s big enough for parents to sit in on the fun and recommended for kiddos up to 8 years old, so while it may take up to 2 hours to assemble, you’ll potentially keep this sandbox for years. That’s a pretty decent return on investment, if you ask us.
Found the best sandbox for your kids? Great! Lets the fun begin–and continue by shopping more of our top toy picks!