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Best sandbox: the top 8 from small turtle to large boat

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  May 24, 2021

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Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Remember how much you liked sandboxes when you were a kid?

Well they still are!

Toy makers have found some pretty creative ways over the years to make them even more fun.

In this article I discuss the best and the nicest sandboxes for your child. These top choices are guaranteed to provide hours of fun.

Top 8 best sandboxes reviewed review from small turtle to large boat

If you have the money (and the space), it is this pirate sandbox boat from Kidkraft really very good.

There is hours of fun with all the boxes, rudder, seats and of course sand:

But I have looked at many more different sandboxes for you, for every budget.

Here in a quick overview all the best sandboxes you can find and later a more extensive review of each of these options, after that I'll give you all the background information about playing with sand and sandboxes:

Best sandbox boat: KidKRaft Pirate Sand BoatKidkraft Wooden Pirate Ship Sandbox Boat
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Best plastic sandbox turtle: Little Tikes TurtleLittle tikes little turtle sandbox
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Best sandbox picnic table: TP Toys Best ChoiceBest sandbox with benches - TP Toys sand picnic table
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Best sandbox with excavator: Little Tikes Big DiggerBest sandbox with excavator- Little Tikes Big Digger
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Best water and sand table: Step2 Cascading CoveThe water and sand table of step2
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Best sandbox on wheels: Festnight Casetta GardenBest sandbox on wheels- Festnight Casetta Garden
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Best plastic sandbox with lid: Step2 Play & StoreBest plastic sandbox with lid: Step2 Play & Store
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Best wooden sandbox with benches and roof: KidKraft garden sand box with sunroofBest wooden sandbox with benches and roof- KidKraft garden sandbox with sunroof
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Watch the best choices in my video, or read on for an explanation about sandboxes and an extensive assessment of all choices:

A play theme in your mailbox every month?

Fun play tips, activity books and more, with the first email being our free mini-guide "educational toys"

We will only use your email address for this newsletter and respect your privacy

What we discuss in this comprehensive post:

Sandbox for home buying guide

It is not easy to make a good choice, you have to take a number of factors into account:

  • how much space do you have in your garden or on your balcony if you want to add toys there?
  • where do you put the sandbox: depending on where you want to place the sandbox, you choose the model and size of the sandbox. Choose a dry spot and, if possible, a shady spot with occasional sunlight, so that the sand can dry.
  • are you going for a sandbox on the ground or on legs?
  • which material do you choose: also choose a model that is easy to maintain and clean.
  • the size of the sandbox, related to your child's age
  • the price of the sandbox
  • if you are going to dig the sandbox: then it is good if you choose a sandbox with an opening at the bottom to drain any excess water from the container

The size of the sandbox

I recommend that you choose a small model sandpit for young children, from 1-3 years old. They often play alone and can feel lost in a large sandbox.

For slightly older children of about 3-6 years, choose a large model, even if several children will often play together, you go for a large model sandbox.

Fill and cover the sandpit

You fill your sandbox with play sand that has been well sifted and washed. After all, young children can get (or stop!) Sand in their mouths.

The recommended amount of sand is stated on the instructions that you get with a sandbox.

You fill the smallest sandboxes with about 30 kg of sand, while for the largest models you may need almost 600 kg.

But how full should you fill the sandboxes? You do not fill a sandbox all the way to the edge, but to know exactly how many kilos of sand there should be in your sandbox, take the length x the width x the height of the sandbox (you can subtract something from the height if you do not fill to the brim).

Play sand weighs approximately 1500 kilos per cubic meter (1m3).

In the normal sandbox shell, however, each half can hold about 60 kg of sand. The large sandbox shell holds about 80 to 100 kg of sand (per half).

How expensive is it to fill the different containers? A 15 kg bag of sand usually costs around € 9 to € 10, if you buy more in bulk it might be a little cheaper.

How much does it cost to fill a sandbox?

In the table below you can see how many kilos you need for our top 8 sandboxes!

SandpitAmount of sandCosts
Kidkraft Pirate Ship300kg€ 200, -
Little Tikes Turtle70kg€ 46, -
TP Toys Best Choice5kg € 9, -
Little Tikes Big Digger45kg€ 30, -
Step2 Cascading Cove5kg€ 9, -
Festnight Casetta Garden100-200kg€ 100, -
Step2 Play & Store90kg€ 60, -
KidKraft garden sand box with sunroof200-300kg€ 160, -

Wood versus plastic sandbox

Do you already know whether you want a wooden sandbox, or rather a plastic sandbox? I'll list the pros and cons for you.

Advantages & disadvantages wooden sandbox

  • Usually a lot bigger than the plastic version. Handy when several children are playing in it at the same time, but perhaps too big for a small garden
  • Cannot be moved just like that
  • No bottom, so the water can pass through easily.
  • Can be left outside and is made of wood that is impregnated under pressure with a wood preservative, the sandpit is protected against weather influences, fungi and woodworm.

Advantages & disadvantages plastic sandbox

  • Easy to clean
  • Often has a lid
  • Doesn't take up that much space
  • Is easy to move and store
  • A plastic sandbox can quickly be transformed into a bath

Top 8 best sandboxes rated

And now our best recommendations for sandboxes sorted by category.

One sandbox is not the other, so we have investigated for you which types of sandboxes exist and which are the best.

Later in this extensive article you will also find sandbox accessories and of course the best sand for your sandbox.

Best sandbox boat: Kidkraft Pirate Ship

Kidkraft Wooden Pirate Sandbox Boat Rated

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Are you looking for a wooden sandbox, but you don't want just any ordinary wooden sandbox?

Then you can opt for this particularly cool wooden sandbox in the shape of a pirate ship.

With this pirate sandbox your child can play fun games such as chasing treasure and sailing a boat.

But you can also hide a treasure very well in this wooden sandbox. The possibilities are endless!

Best pirate sandbox in boat shape

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With a pirate theme, your child's imagination will be stimulated and you will see that the child will come up with very nice stories.

The sandbox is very practical and keeps your child safe in the shade thanks to the beautiful blue roof.

The boat also has storage space for toys such as scoops and sand molds. What we also like about this sandbox boat are the benches at the back of the boat.

Other pirates or maybe other shipmen could sit on it. In short, a very interactive sandbox with fun options.

nice wooden sandbox in the shape of a pirate ship

Best plastic sandbox turtle: Little tikes

Little Tikes turtle sandbox outside in the sun

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This large green sandbox with turtle shape is perfect for hours of sand fun and is from the famous children's toy brand Little Tikes.

The sturdy sandpit has a high edge for the children to sit on and a practical lid to cover the sandpit when not in use.

The lid fits snugly on the sandpit and will stop unwanted visits from vermin and pets.

Here you can see this adorable turtle in action:

This is a wonderful sandbox for the little ones from 1 year to dig with a shovel and a bucket. The fact that they are in a large turtle is of course extra fun.

Check the most current prices and availability here

Best Sandbox Picnic Table: TP Toys Best Choice

Best sandbox with benches - TP Toys sand picnic table

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A practical table sandbox that your child can enjoy for a long time is this TP Toys Best choice with benches made of wood.

Your child from 3 years old can sit comfortably on the bench while playing with the sand. Children who prefer not to have sand in their pants will be happy to take a seat at this table.

The sand also remains safe and clean for the next turn.

Children will have hours of fun with this picnic table and sandpit in one! Would you like to eat a sandwich together at the table? Place the table top on top of the 2 plastic bins.

Play with sand? Remove the table top and fill the containers with sand or water. They can of course also be used as a storage compartment. The bins are easy to remove and clean.

The table has 2 benches, is suitable for 4 children and is made of FSC certified natural wood.

Check the most current prices and availability here

Find here the 16 best playground equipment rated for every age

Best sandbox with excavator: Little Tikes Big Digger

Best sandbox with excavator- Little Tikes Big Digger

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This Little Tikes sand digger is a beautiful sandbox that offers endless fun.

This choice is actually my favorite, My son really loves excavators and I kind of wish I had bought this one for him.

We had already bought a water table from Little Tikes that he also likes, and we put sand in it every now and then.

But if I could have done it over now, I would have bought it for him. such a cool excavator!

It is a special sandbox and you don't really need anything else to keep the little builders busy.

Your child can play on it together with other children and you also get other toys including a descending road for trucks.

The children can dig and shovel to their heart's content just like real builders and make their own town or harbor. It is a sandbox with many options and possibilities and we like that very much.

These Little Tikes construction site sandbox allows multiple children to explore the sand and water.

The sandbox comes with a large tap and a truck (or buy a separate one) and is suitable for children from 2 to 6 years.

Check the most current prices and availability here

Most versatile water and sand table: Step2 Cascading cove

Children play with water, sand and sensory play with the step2 water and sand table

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When you have several children at home or when your child receives a visit from friends, a versatile sandbox table is very useful.

On the one hand you can play with sand and on the other with water. And all that under a protective parasol.

This fun sandpit table is easy to store and also has a drainage hole to drain the water after use.

It is made of plastic and therefore very easy to rinse after use.

Do you want to keep the sand? Then you simply close the sandbox table with the supplied lid.

The table has loops that keep the lid in place.

This children's sandbox and water table is a great outdoor toy that offers your children hours of fun. It will be splashing and digging with Step2.

This table is suitable for children from 1,5 years and comes with a rake, shovel, boats, not to mention a nice parasol.

The content of the sandbox is 5 kg and the content of the water tray is 10 L.

versatile sandpit table

Would you like a water table? Here you will find 12 other fun water play tables reviewed!

Best sandbox on wheels: Festnight Casetta Garden

Best sandbox on wheels- Festnight Casetta Garden

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This is not an ordinary sandbox, but a very exclusive sandbox with many practical and fun options.

It is a mobile sandbox that stands on wheels and can easily be moved from one corner of the garden to the other.

The sandbank also has a small veranda where your little one can play in the shade. Under one roof with UV 50 sun protection.

If the little one doesn't feel like the sandbox, you simply slide it away under the veranda. The toys are then transformed into a nice house to play in and so the sand remains nice and clean and protected against cats, etc.

In our opinion, the adventures for this climbing frame are unlimited and very practical. Definitely a nice addition to the garden.

Check prices and availability here

Best plastic sandbox with lid: Step2 Play & Store

Best plastic sandbox with lid: Step2 Play & Store

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The Step2 Play sandbox with lid is a fun sandbox with a contemporary design.

Four contoured seats give children a place to sit while playing, but rather it can accommodate just two little ones.

This durable sandbox is shaped like a treasure chest and is a great toy for imaginative play.

They can leave their toys and 'treasures' in the sandbox; it has a well-closable and protective lid and that is immediately good against insects and cats.

You get the sandbox fully assembled at home, just open it up and play!

The color is a protective color, the sandbox disappears between the plants and trees, so no conspicuous colors in your garden.

There is 90 kg. sand in this treasure chest. Ideal for children from 2 years old.

Check the latest prices here

Best wooden sandbox with benches and roof: KidKraft garden sandbox with sunroof

Best wooden sandbox with benches and roof- KidKraft garden sandbox with sunroof
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This not only practical, but also beautiful sandbox from KidKraft is covered with a navy blue and white striped canopy.

Your child is protected against bright sun rays and that is a great side effect of this sandbox

The wooden sandpit is large enough to allow several children to play at the same time, the dimensions are LxWxH 1.60 x 1.53 x 1.30 m and it is suitable for children aged two to eight years.

The sandbox panels - which must be mounted - are made of weather-resistant wood and prevent warping and weathering. A tarpaulin is added to put under the sand.

The two included plastic sand and water troughs fit into the wide rim, which your child can literally muddle along with. They are removable and also useful for storing toys.

The sand stays clean because the sandpit comes with a mesh cover that protects the sand when not in use.

Check prices and availability here

Why would you let your child play in a sandbox?

Before we go into the list some interesting facts about the how and why of a sandbox.

Playing in a sandbox can benefit your child. Adults sometimes have a lot of reservations about sandboxes.

We've been kids too and we know what's going on there, and it's not always pretty.

However, we must admit that sand one of the best toys is made in nature.

Having a sandbox at home can be the fastest way to get your child close to nature, especially if you live in a highly urbanized environment.

Below are some valid reasons to let your child play in the sandbox that you can consider.

Sand is an excellent material for stimulating the senses

Just like water, sand feels pleasant and has its own structure. This can be a whole new experience for your child.

Touching sand can be very calming. It also provides a great way for your child to stimulate their senses.

Little Tikes turtle sandbox is filled with bags of sand

Playing with sand can help develop motor skills

Playing with sand can be a physical activity for your little one too, so it's a great activity for them too develop motor skills.

The muscles are used for digging, shoveling, raking and sweeping.

A sandbox can give young children independence

Another benefit of the sand game happens when your child spends time alone in a sandbox.

It provides independence for a child, without undermining their safety, because their parent is close by.

This can help build a bond of trust between the two, and aid in coping reduce separation anxiety.

Children can be creative with sand

Since there is no right or wrong way to play with sand, your child can explore different possibilities.

You can do almost anything with sand without the safety of your child being an issue.

Sand is an excellent material to hone their problem-solving skills

Finding ways to get sand to do what you want to do can be tricky, especially for kids.

This challenge allows young children to look for effective ways to shape their creations, move the sand or quickly tear down what they have built.

It can help develop the child's social, emotional and language skills

Playing with sand can also be a great opportunity for children to interact with other children.

They will have to learn to share space with other children so that they can learn how to interact with peers.

This will help refine their social and language skills as they need to communicate with each other if they want to build something together.

The benefits of playing in the sandbox for your child

By the way, have you ever heard of “Magical” kinetic sand? Find the 6 best kinetic sand playsets reviewed here!

Why should you buy a sandbox?

Of course you can go to the public park, where there is always a sandbox. But many parents today are a bit careful about this.

Because you do not know what bacteria and other things can be there.

You prefer not to take unnecessary risk and put your child's health at risk.

But even if you wouldn't have a problem with this, having your own sandbox in the backyard is very useful.

This way your kids can enjoy themselves at home in their own safe environment and you do not necessarily have to leave the house.

It is also one good reason to send the children outside more often.

Playing outside has a lot of advantages for the development of children and is unfortunately less and less common in our digital age.

Best accessories for the sandbox

Now that you know how to find the best sandboxes, it is also useful to know which accessories are best for your sandbox.

From fun toys to safe sandbox sand, we also help you on your way here.

Nice sandbox toys

Some toys certainly belong in a sandbox.

Complete it with this fun 4-piece play set from Green Toys. The ergonomic shovel, rake, bucket and mold fit perfectly into the children's hands and are 100% recycled and sustainable.

Your little one will not want to come in that easily!

Maybe you choose another fun playset like a sand mill. Or for fun sandbox shapes, scoops and these handy folding sandbox buckets. No more lugging buckets, just fold them up and put them in your bag!

Make sure your child has enough beautiful and fun sandbox toys to go about their business and make beautiful sandcastles and sand cakes.

Are you looking for sustainable wooden toys? I personally think the wooden construction vehicle set of Melissa and Doug awesome.

Greentoys 4-piece sand playset nice accessories for in the sandbox bucket, shovel, rake, mold

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Cover for the sandpit

As we said, covering the sandbox is essential for maintaining the sand in the bucket well.

If your sandbox does not have a tarpaulin or a lid supplied, you can buy a tarpaulin separately.

This protective cover for the sandpit fits most sandboxes and is handy to have at home.

You attach the sturdy nylon cover, which is made of tear-resistant and rain, dirt and UV-resistant material, to the sandpit with elastic bands.

Sandpit with or without bottom and surface

Always make sure that the surface is nice and flat and remove roots and stones if necessary.

If you put the sandbox in the garden, you can also choose one without a bottom, but on the balcony you always choose one with a bottom.

It is best to put a tarpaulin under the sandbox, not only against pests and weeds, but also to prevent the sand from running out under the sandbox.

You can choose for:

  • root cloth
  • chicken wire

The advantage of root cloth is that it allows rainwater to seep through, but stops weeds.

Chicken wire on the bottom of your sandbox prevents your children from digging too deep and mixing the sand with soil.

Tiles for the sandpit

It can be nice to have special ones around the sandbox rubber tiles to place. These are soft when the children are playing around the sandbox.

The tiles also provide a nice surface for all kinds of sand structures.

And at the end of the day, you can simply sweep up all the sand outside the sandbox and return it to the sandbox.

Always a clean sandbox with safe sand

It goes without saying that you fill your sandbox with child-friendly play sand. If you do not want to run any risk, choose clean and safe (washed) sand.

Make sure to check the sand for dirt in time and clean the sand from time to time.

You should replace the sand in the sandbox at least once or twice a year.

How do you replace the sand in the sandbox?

To replace the sand in the sandbox, proceed as follows:

  • Remove the old sand from the sandbox.
  • Rinse the sandbox with a solution of equal parts water and bleach
  • Let it dry in the sun or dry the tray with a cloth.
  • Refill the sandbox for fresh new adventures.

How do you clean sandbox sand?

In addition to completely replacing the sandbox every few years, you could also give it a thorough cleaning in between.

You can clean the sand in a sandbox as follows:

  • Wash the sand with a 1: 1 solution of water and bleach.
  • Leave this on for 30 minutes.
  • Then rinse everything well with plenty of water.
  • After cleaning, let the sand dry well in the sun. Shovel the sand in between so that the sand can dry at the bottom of the sandbox.

How do you keep a sandbox clean for longer?

With a few simple tips you can keep the sandbox tidy for longer:

  • Always keep the sandbox closed when no one is playing in it. You thus ward off insects, dogs, cats and unpleasant surprises. Your sandbox will also remain free of leaves.
  • Do not let your children eat or drink in the sandbox, this will attract vermin.
  • Rinse the toys your child is playing with in the sandbox regularly, especially if they occasionally remain in the sandbox until the next play turn.
  • Replace the sand - as previously described - if you cannot get it clean anymore.

Personal hygiene also plays a role in a clean sandbox:

  • Keep your child's nails short
  • Wash hands when your child comes home from school or outside

What to remember when introducing your child to sand

Not every child is more willing to explore new things. That's why sand can be a challenging toy for them because it looks and feels different.

Introduce little by little

If they are not at all familiar with playing sand, it is best to introduce them to the material gradually. 

Some kids won't be thrilled to touch sand right away, so don't force your little one to play with it right away.

They will definitely let you know if they like it between their toes and fingers.

By exposing them bit by bit to small amounts of something they are familiar with, such as a spoon, shovel, or bucket, you can get your child used to the feeling of sand.

Play with the sand

Encourage them to touch the sand by playing with them. Because you do this together with them you show them that it is not scary and that it is safe.

In this way they will learn to like sand.

Provide safe sand to play with

You should also make sure to only use kid-friendly, non-toxic sand.

The stuff can get everywhere and you need to make sure that playing with it doesn't endanger your little one in any way.

When the sandbox is not in use, it is also important to cover the sandbox.

This way you can prevent pets and insects from entering the sand and possibly contaminating it.

How to make a DIY tractor tire as a sandbox?

A great idea! Old tires are usually free, and tractor tires allow you to build a sandbox very quickly and do not need many tools.

Tire rubber is much softer than wood, so you don't have to worry about your little one getting hurt.

Unlike wood, the sandbox tire does not rot, it is resistant to rain, sun and severe frost.

Are there no toxins in these? According to the hazard class, the tires are in the same place as vinyl wallpaper, which you can find in many homes.

Make sure you do not use old, heavily worn tires. The less wear and tear on the rubber, the safer to use, even in the sun.

So it is better to give preference to tires without visible damage, or tires with fuel oil or oil on them.

If you want to paint the tire first, you can do that with turpentine-based lacquer paint. Do not use water-based paint!

You use a paint roller with long hair. First rinse well with a high-pressure cleaner and wipe with turpentine.

Then proceed as follows:

  • Dig a small hole where you will place the tractor tire sandbox.
  • Put the tractor tire in place.
  • Before filling it with sand, put root cloth on the bottom so that the sand does not mix with the soil and that weeds do not grow in it.
  • Fill the tire / sandbox with clean playing sand



Your child's own sandbox is like a whole new adventure with hours of fun.

By buying a good sandbox, you can also be sure that your child can fully enjoy the benefits of playing with sand.

You don't have to worry about unsafe contaminated sand, because you know exactly what ends up and what doesn't end up in your sandbox.

Having your own sandbox at home allows your little one to play in a controlled environment, as long as you maintain it properly.

We hope our top list of the best sandboxes has helped you on your way!

Looking for more fun toys for outside in the garden? Read more about this with our overview the best outdoor toys!

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.