Playing in sandboxes was one of my very favorite things to get to do as a child. I never actually had one, myself, so it was always really special to get to go to any place where one could be found. I made do in my own backyard by playing in the dirt. I played and played and played in it (*shudder*).
I knew I wanted to get a sandbox for Darah. I first looked into the wooden sandboxes and sand tables, because I’m just not that big of a fan of buying MORE plastic stuff. But, uh, they are $$$.
So then I looked at the plastic ones. For me, personally, I just decided that I couldn’t stomach paying $75 for a big old piece of plastic. To each her own, but that just wasn’t the right choice for me, both in terms of the cost and the degree of waste. No judgment if you have a massive plastic sandbox in your backyard. In fact, can we come over and play in it? 😉
We looked at a lot of ideas for how to make a sandbox. Most involved the use of a jig saw, several hours of time and almost as much money spent on supplies as what we would have spent to just go buy one (at least to go buy the plastic version). We find ourselves short on special tools, short on time, and short on money. This is a tough spot to be in when you REALLY want to find a sandbox solution.
But find one, we did! After making a few purchases, putting together a sandbox for Darah took all of 2 minutes. Seriously. Here’s what we purchased:
1. Under-the-bed storage bin that has wheels on it and a lid (plastic, unfortunately, but I know that it is much less plastic than the sandbox we saw for sale at Wal-Mart). The lid is crucial, as you don’t want your sandbox to become the neighborhood outdoor cat litterbox. Cost: $11.00
2. Two bags of play sand (by the way, did you know that they sell colored sand, too? I was tempted, but you got half as much for over twice the price). Cost for 2 bags: $6.00. I’m linking to Amazon in case your shopping choices are limited, but I scored mine at Walmart, FYI.
3. sandbox toys. It was the perfect size for toddlers. Yes, also plastic. If I wasn’t soooo eager to get the sandbox going I would have found an alternative. But I caved. Cost: $5.00
Here’s how you put it together!
1. Put the box in your location of choice. We chose our front porch, which is shaded.
2. Pour sand into box
3. Scatter toys inside the sandbox.
4. Insert child and let hours of fun commence.
Total cost, with tax: $25!!!
Don’t have a porch for shade? Just grab a simple beach umbrella and you are all set!
We have had this for about a month, now, and have spent hours playing in it. I think in June we may have to buy a third bag of sand to make up for all the sand that has been lost during play sessions. That will be another $3 I will gladly spend, as Darah has an absolute blast playing in her sandbox. And I have just as much (and ok, sometimes even more) fun!
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Need more fun activities? How about making a lava lamp?
Hey what a great idea! I was highlighting the benefits of having a sandbox and sharing a super simple sandbox treasure hunt idea below and mentioned your blog on how easy it is to make a DIY sandbox. Thanks for sharing! https://planetteachersblog.com/2017/11/02/sensory-sand-play-treasure-hunt/
Tara Conover says
Question: the bin has wheels, are you able to move it? I’m sure the sand is very heavy but I would love to be able to move to shade or Sun or move into garage door storage. Thanks!
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This is SO awesome I want to do this! Where did you find the play sand? I’ve been looking everywhere and the best price I could find was $20 for a little bag. Thanks!
You can buy at Lowes or Home Depot for around $3 to $4 a bag.