13 Best Kids’ Sandbox Products in 2018

The world is a big beautiful thing, an endless array of new sights, sounds, and experiences that we all share as we age. For your child, though, your own backyard might be the most of the outside world that they’ll see for some time. It’s good to give your children a safe and constructive space for free play, and sandboxes are a great way to bring life to the backyard for your young child.

They can build their own miniature worlds in that single square; trench out miniscule rivers and pile up sandy mountains. They can draw out maps or masterpieces on the ever-changing blank slate of sand, draw highways to drive their toy cars along. The term “sandbox” is often used to describe games or situations that are open-ended and limitless in their possibilities, and it will make perfect sense to you when you see your child at play in their own sandbox.

We’ve selected from the best available outdoor sandboxes and accessories, finding the most unique and creative backyard fixtures for your children. Take a look at our selections, and find the best backyard sandbox for your kids.

Last Updated: September 27, 2018
By Amanda Milewski:

Sandboxes offer limitless opportunities for imaginative, creative play in solitary or group situations. Our list has been recently updated with a number of new products that offer you a myriad of options in regards to size and construction material. In addition, all product information--dimensions, materials, cost and availability--have been reviewed and updated where necessary.

Our Top 3 Picks

Step2 Naturally Playful Sandbox
  • Step2 Naturally Playful Sandbox
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Premium quality sand
  • Price: See Here
Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table
  • Step2 Naturally Playful Sand Table
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Perfect for toddlers
  • Price: See Here
Little Tikes Big Digger Sandbox
  • Little Tikes Big Digger Sandbox
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Comes with accessories
  • Price: See Here

Criteria Used In Evaluation of the Best Kids Sandboxes

Coming up with the best sandbox product for a top 13 list is no easy feat. Since every product serves a single purpose, we had to carefully examine other features such as design quality, sturdiness and strength of the materials used, and the overall safety. Additionally, we had to look at the ease and convenience of setting it up and of storing it as well as its overall capacity. It wouldn’t really be a sandbox if it cannot even accommodate a single toy, would it? Moreover, we had to listen to what other parents as well as other consumers are saying about the sandbox product. This is very important as we are parents, too. We also had to look at the reputation of the company, especially its history of making such products. Additional product features such as compliance with federal, European, and global quality standards have also been noted.

With all these factors duly considered, we were able to finally come up with our own list of the top 13 sandbox products we are sure both you and your children will love.

Sand Play and Children’s Development

There are many reasons why sand play is such a fun activity for kids. While adults will consider playing with sand as unnecessarily exposing our children to microorganisms, it should be understood that sand play is different from playing with mud and contaminated soil. The sand that is used in many sandboxes for kids have been dutifully washed, cleaned, and removed of known carcinogens as well as allergens. This makes it perfectly safe for kids to play with. Unlike ordinary sand, soil, or even mud, there will always be issues about child safety.

Nevertheless, the point of the matter is that sand play is a very important aspect of helping children develop to their optimum potential.

Sand play fosters open-ended play. This means that they can do anything they want with and in the sand. No instruction manual is needed to draw smiling faces on the sand. Children don’t need guidance on how to build their favorite structures. Sand is an open-ended medium that encourages imagination and creativity. Kids can simply sit in their sandbox all day long and just cover their legs with sand. They can bring along their shovel and load sand onto their toy dump truck. They can make burger patties and pretend they are grilling on a make-believe grill in the sand. The possibilities are endless. Since sand play is open-ended, the only limitation will be the physical endurance of children.

For very young kids, sand play helps develop and enhance motor skills and physical development. They dig, draw, and build structures in the sand. They sift the sand and scoop it with their hands, ready to dump in their bucket or even toy vehicles. Burying a part of their bodies in the sand then digging it up can also help strengthen leg and arm muscles while at the same time enhancing their sense of coordination and balance.

Playing with sand is a lot more fun when shared with other kids. For example, building sand castles will be a lot easier if one will be building the tower and the gatehouse while other children will be building the keep, the curtain wall, and the bailey. This teaches teamwork and cooperation, which can help enhance children’s social skills. The cooperative play teaches them about the value of social interaction to get things done.

Sand play is also important in enhancing children’s emotional development. This allows them to express themselves in more constructive ways in pretty much the same manner as drawing and painting can help express a child’s thoughts and feelings. Their creations in the sand can help communicate what they are thinking as well as what they are feeling at any given moment.

More importantly, however, is the ability of sand play to help stimulate and enhance children’s cognitive development. When using different tools like containers and sand molds, they learn shapes and sizes which can help in their numerical abilities. Young children will also begin to understand the concept of “full” and “empty” as well as “light” and “heavy.” Children can also experiment with sand especially in the use of magnets. They can also learn cause-and-effect relationships as well as learning by the trial-and-error method. For example, they would like to create a mix of sand and water but don’t know just how much water to put in the sand to get the “right” consistency they are looking for. Little by little, they learn to make adjustments in their water measurements. This helps foster a sense of scientific experimentation.

Sand play can help support a child’s optimum psychomotor, social, emotional, and cognitive development. That is why it is imperative that the best sandbox products be provided to them. We are therefore optimistic that our list of the top 13 sandbox products will help you get only the best for your child.

We did our best to find the most culturally relevant sandboxes on the market for you and your child!  We’ve made it our business to do the best to promote the best social development there is!  Every parent desires to have a well-adjusted child, not only one who plays well, but one who easily adapts to situations and the world around him or her!  The best way to do this is to present the child with different modes of play.  These modes can’t simply be generic, which is why we’ve given so many options to both parent and child!
As mentioned earlier, the designs of quite a few of these sandboxes can encourage a certain social and environmental awareness.  With all that’s going on in our world today, the environment is a precious commodity!  Our children will inherit this world, just as our parents and grandparents passed it on to us!
Basic Research

The advent of the sandbox began in Germany in 1847.  The pioneer of the modern kindergarten was looking for new ways to help in child development.  He could easily see that sand was the safest, most pliable and easily adapted material. This arose out of an observation on how all children instinctively work with their hands in building and molding objects.  In his estimation, this would lead to more constructive behaviors in the future.  This trend became so prevalent that all of Germany had children’s sandboxes built in every public park by the end of the 19th century!

All of the most basic research to date is in agreement with the timeless assessment of the sand and sandplay!  It can foster constructive activity through working with the hands; it develops problem-solving skills through building and collaboration; and social skills which can be related to problem-solving abilities. The imagination is encouraged by the pliability of sand  In addition, the child gets an early lesson on the changeability of nature, since nothing built with sand can remain.

The job of the parent is not only in purchasing these products.  They can also get involved in making useful additions and suggestions for use the product.  Many household items, like cake molds and bowls can be used!  PVC piping, spray bottles and paintbrushes, toothpicks, cutting boards, paper plates and cups–you name it, there’s a treasure trove of wonder right under your nose!

The scientific curiosity might not just end with the sea and it’s life-forms either!  The nature of sand can also come up!  Depending on the curiosity of the child, he or she could learn to understand the geology of the sand–the gradual erosion of rock over time!  The witnessing of sea shells that had developed over time through the gradual accumulation of minerals to create something solid, followed by the understanding of silicate fossils and how everything is layered within the Earth going back millions of years!

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.  How did the use of the sandbox become so popular worldwide?

A: The use of sandboxes began in the 1840s in Germany. The early developers of the concept of kindergarten were actually pioneers in child psychology! Astutely observant, they probably noticed the natural play of children on the beach and felt the need to recreate this in all spaces. In the United States, in the 1920s, with the rise of behavioral psychology, they saw the immediate benefits of implementing the use of sandboxes in society throughout America, too.

Q.  How important is it to have clean sand in the box?

A:  It has been shown that dirty sand can carry mold, bacteria and many parasites, such as pinworms and toxocara, which are all very dangerous to the health your child.  It is highly recommended that children not play in boxes that have clear indication of soiling or contamination, and that they thoroughly wash their hands after use.  We suggest that you keep your sandbox covered when not in use.  Also, the sand in your box should be changed regularly.  Many of our products come with ultra-fine, hygienic sand.

Q.  How do I maintain the sandbox?

A: The best and simplest way is to keep it covered overnight. In addition, we recommend getting a high-quality stain for your wooden sandboxes in order to waterproof, so that it can last for years to come!  For the sand itself, change it twice yearly!  Get ultra-fine grain sand, and sift it after every use with a small metal rake.  Finally, at the end of every play session check to make sure the sand quality hasn’t damaged any toy products in use….we all know how expensive those can be!

Q.  What should I do once my child outgrows their sandbox?

A:  There’s always an excellent resell value on most of these items!  But, if it truly is a major concern, it is suggested that you purchase the sandbox that is most easily translated into your everyday adult life as a parent and householder.  For instance, the Kidcraft Sandbox could easily become a garden planter later on.

Q What is the earliest age that I should get a sandbox for my child?

A: I would say the sooner the better!  Three years old would probably be the best bet!  The ages of 2 1/2 to 3 is the time when their brains are at their most malleable, just beginning to develop and put the pieces together. There’s already an instinctual drive to grab, hold, build, roll and play! Sand is the best element for this as a beginning.

Q.  Why are sandboxes so expensive?

A: Some of these products are the finest on the market!  Many things have been taken into consideration for the health and safety of your child.  The production and provision of ultra-fine hygienic sand is one factor. Quite a few have high-quality sturdy construction, made with cedar in order to prevent mold and mildew.  Then, there is the ability that some have to maintain a capacity of upwards to 200+ pounds of sand. It’s all a reasonably commensurate ratio to market value.

Sources

  1. Admin, 10 Sensational Sand Play Ideas, Informational Article ,
  2. Jessica Lopa , 5 Brain Boosting Ways to Use a Sandbox, Online Article,
  3. Dominic , The Benefits of Sand & Water Play , News Article,
  4. Admin, Sand Play: Nature’s Etch-a-Sketch, Blog Article,
  5. Dana Villamagna, Dig Into the Benefits of Sandbox Play for Preschoolers, Online Magazine Article,