Best Sand for Your Sandbox (2020 Reviews)

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If you’re in a hurry and just want to find out what the best sand for your sandbox is, I’d recommend the Sandtastik Sparkling White Play Sand.

Unfortunately, not all of us have a beach nearby, so sandboxes are great for bringing the beach home for the kids to play with instead. 

But you can’t just pick any sand to go into your sandbox! You need to make sure it’s clean, safe, and healthy for your little ones to roll around in. Let us guide you through the best sand for sandboxes.

Here are the sandbox sands I will be reviewing:

Aren’t All Sands the Same?

The short answer—absolutely not. 

There are significant differences between general sand, which is used for building or DIY projects, and play sand, which is used for—you guessed it—playing in! 

Building Sand

In the construction industry, you’ll hear of two main types of sand. These are general builder’s sand and also sharp sand. 

These sands contain added materials such as iron or clay, which help them to be sturdier bases in foundation building or concrete work.

They will also be quite rough to touch, which could cause irritation to sensitive children’s skin.

They don’t go through a particular cleaning regime, and so could be full of germs and bacteria, which could definitely cause harm to your little one. 

Play Sand

For sand to pass as play sand, it must go through a number of cleaning processes that result in it being fine and smooth to touch.

The initial cleaning process removes any unwanted debris and particles from the sand. Plus, it will kill and remove any potentially harmful bacteria found in the sand.

Once this is done, the play sand is subjected to vigorous blasting from pressurized water. In doing this, the sand grains are made smaller, and any sharper grains are rounded to ensure they are safe and won’t cause any cuts or scratches to little bodies.

For added peace of mind and to ensure that the sand you are buying is completely safe for your little one to roll around in, play sand should display a certification or approval from a recognized health and safety organization, such as ACMI. This provides proof that the product has been cleaned to be used as play sand, and has been tried and tested before being sold.

Sand Maintenance 

It’s important to look after the sand in your sandbox, to keep it clean and safe, especially when it is not in use. Bear in mind the following points:

  • Rake the sand through before and after each playtime, and be sure to remove anything that may have fallen into the sandbox such as food or leaves.
  • Ensure that wet sand is fully dried after each playtime because harmful bacteria  can harbor in wet sand.
  • Keep sandboxes that aren’t in use covered at all times. This will keep unwanted animals or insects from nesting or using it as a giant toilet.

Sandbox Frame Material 

Whether you’re buying a sandbox or you’re a DIY mastermind who’s planning to build one, make sure you choose the right materials for it.

The best material to hold sand is plastic because it’s waterproof and won’t become damp if wet. It is also less likely to be chewed through by naughty garden inhabitants. 

You might want a wood frame because it looks smarter or fits in better with the garden furniture. But try to keep the sand against a plastic base as wood can wilt and dampen over time, which could affect the quality and health of the sand. 

Benefits of Sand Play

Both kids and adults love to play in sand because sand play is fun, but also has a lot of health benefits too! 

There have been a number of studies that have proven sand play is extremely beneficial for children of all ages for a number of reasons:

  • Sand play provides many hours of learning fun, as your little one learns different names and shapes of things created in the sand.
  • Playing in the sand allows your child to further develop their fine motor skills as they use small tools to dig, build, and bury in the sand.
  • Your child will learn about their proprioceptive sense as they bury themselves in the sand, understanding their body relative to space.
  • In addition to all of these, sand play also has the potential to enhance your little one’s social skills, communication skills, and language abilities.

My Reviews Of The Best Sand For Your Sandbox

You’ll find a lot of different sands to choose from for your sandbox, and you probably don’t know quite where to start. 

I’ve reviewed a few different products for you to consider, which will hopefully help you to choose the best sand for your sandbox.

This sand comes in a beautiful sparkling white color, which glows fantastically in any sandbox. The sand’s natural sparkle will catch the eyes of all, and have everybody wanting to jump in and play.

Sandtastik Play Sand is perfect for sandboxes both indoors and outdoors, and can be used in various activities.

This sand is ideal for learning environments such as childcare centers and classrooms, helping to improve a range of developmental skills for kids.

It’s non-toxic, made with granular sand that is naturally inspired and it will not cause harm to little ones. Let them spend hours in the sandpit building, sculpting, and having lots of fun.

Suitable for ages two and over, children can get playing in the sand from a young age. This sand contains minimal fine dust particles, so they won’t be coughing in the sandbox. 

Kids will be able to create castles and sculptures and release their inner architectural skills by adding a little water to create mold-able squidgy sand.

Delivered in a 25-pound standard size, it is definitely good value, and you get plenty of sand for your money.

The sand feels soft and clean in your hands, and as long as it is kept covered when not being used, it will last, and you will get lots of playtime usage from each batch. 

Weight: 25 pounds.

  • Great value for money
  • Very soft feel
  • Easy to clean
  • Beautiful bright white color
  • Very fine sand
  • Safe and toxic-free
  • Perfect for babies and kids of all ages
  • Reports of sand fleas in some batches
  • Leaves a slightly dusty residue

You’ll easily mistake this sand for the sand you can find down at the beach. It is naturally white and hasn’t been bleached or dyed in any way.

Perfect for developmental play both inside and out; this sand will bring the beach to you wherever you’re setting up to play.

The play sand is fine and doesn’t contain any carcinogenic dust that has the potential to be harmful. It’s free from toxins and is safely tested before reaching your home. 

SafeSand is just that—safe. It is also free from crystalline silica dust, which is known to cause some respiratory problems. 

Suitable for ages three and up, it can be molded when wet so that little ones can build their castles. When dry, this sand gently flows in between your fingers without leaving a nasty chalk-like residue. 

Bear in mind that according to some reviewers, the sand can seem a little bit too fine, which makes it somewhat difficult to clump together when wet. Therefore some adult supervision and support may be needed with this.

This box is 25 pounds, but it’s also available in various different quantities, so you can choose how much sand you want to buy. So, how big is that sandbox of yours?

Weight: 25 pounds.

  • Safe and healthy for kids to play in
  • Looks just like beach sand
  • Available in different quantity sizes
  • Brand successfully supplying sand since 2001
  • Very quick dispatch and delivery
  • Sparkles in sunlight
  • Affordable price
  • Sand is almost too fine to mold
  • Thin sand blows away in the wind
  • Difficult to clean and maintain

CoolSand definitely looks cool. It’s not like normal sand you’d find on the beach or in many sandboxes, but something very different.

CoolSand is 100 percent moldable, so can be molded and stretched in lots of different ways to create hours of fun. It only sticks to itself, so you won’t find it stuck to your hands, on clothes, or in your little one’s hair either.

Great for creative and sensory play, kids from as young as three can get involved in making lots of shapes and sculptures with this sand.

The deluxe bucket comes complete with an inflatable sandbox to play with the sand in, molding shapes, and a storage box to pack it all back into once you’ve finished playing. It’s compact and definitely convenient.

The sand never dries out, yet leaves your hands feeling totally dry and non-greasy after play. It creates a great bonding activity for children and adults alike.

Though fun to play with on a suitable work surface, this isn’t exactly sand that can be put into a sandbox and sat in with. It’s more suitable for crafting activities and doesn’t give you the beach feeling you get like sitting in a sandbox and playing on top of the sand itself.

Still, it is a great alternative and definitely something different for kids to try. It is still worthy of bringing lots of fun and hours of playtime to all.

Weight: 2 pounds of sand plus accessories.

  • Great alternative to a normal sandbox
  • Easily molded into shapes and sculptures
  • Inflatable tray keeps mess to a minimum
  • Brilliant for sensory play
  • Convenient storage box included
  • Doesn't dry to feel like normal sand
  • Can't be played with in a sandbox as natural sand can
  • Sand sometimes feels too cold in little hands
  • Small amount of sand included in kit

Beautiful and available in a range of exciting colors, this sand is sure to catch the attention of anyone who walks past the sandbox.

However, colored sand could be problematic when playing with and the color could end up staining little hands and clothes. The sand is, however, fun and great to work with and a best-seller. 

Normally used for sand art projects, crafting, home decor, and mosaics, this sand adds a creative splash of color to anything it is involved with.

It will definitely help kids to explore their imagination and develop creativity, learning the names of new colors along the way.

Activa sand is completely safe and made from 100 percent natural sand. It is environmentally friendly, and free from all toxins, silica, and quartz. The sand is also AP approved and AMCI certified, which helps you to know it’s fine for your little one to play with.

The vibrant colors stay vibrant, with special waterproof and fade-proof technologies that are color-fast. However that does mean that this sand isn’t particularly moldable, even when wet. 

This sand is definitely aimed more at the older children and those that are more interested in arts and crafts activities using sand. But if you want to create a unique rainbow sandbox, this is the sand to go for.

Weight: 5 pounds.

  • Available in different colors
  • Great for sand crafting activities
  • Very clean sand
  • Good quality
  • Easy to work with and handle
  • Very fine, almost powdery
  • Not very moldable
  • Easily blows away with wind/air

Quikrete Premium Play Sand is designed for use in children’s sandboxes. It uses specially graded sand that’s been washed, dried and screened for safe use.

The sand is excellent value, and you get a huge bag weighing 50 pounds of it. Let your kids dig deep for buried treasure or build a fort with the amount of sand they’ll have.

Much like sand at the beach, this sand is an average tan color, and is pretty fine to touch. It’s ideal for building and molding, providing hours of fun for little ones. 

There have been some reports of it containing small rocks and stones. This is understandable as it is natural sand collected from local beaches and lakes, but they should have been filtered out during the cleaning process. 

Weight: 50 pounds.

  • Good value for money
  • Huge bag containing 50 pounds
  • Fine and smooth to touch
  • Moldable for building and sandcastles
  • Sand color and texture not always consistent, depending on the bag
  • Reports of rocks and small stones being included with sand

This ultra-fine grain sand from Be Good Company is created for little hands to play with. The recommended age range for this sand is from 36 months, so it is safe for toddlers and older children to use.

You will receive 1.5 pounds of high-quality natural sand which is ultra-fine grain. This sand is recommended for use with a specific branded playset, which is aimed at making sand art in mini sandboxes. However, it’s also suitable for indoor and outdoor sandboxes both small and large.

As this is a refill pack, there are many reports of it being extremely small in size. You may need to purchase lots of them if you’re going to use it to fill up a big sandbox! 

While it may be pricey, especially for the amount that you receive, it is also good quality sand. As it is ultra-fine grain, it’s better for playing with pouring cups and spades rather than molding castles. My little ones love using fine sand like this to pour between cups and through sieves, as well as creating a “desert” for their plastic animals. 

Weight: 1.5 pounds.

  • Good quality sand
  • Natural sand
  • Safe for babies and children of all ages
  • Great for crafting activities
  • Also available in black, blue, red, and purple
  • Easy to clean
  • Presents well when displayed
  • Poor value for money
  • Very small amount of sand in a bag
  • Bag is poor quality, resulting in splitting

Which Is the Best Sand for Sandbox?

I recommend the Sandtastik Sparkling White Play Sand as the best sand to choose. 

It’s beautifully natural and sparkly and will make any sandbox stand out from the rest.

Soft and smooth to touch, this sand creates lovely sensory playtime for all. Add a little water, and your little one will enjoy building sandcastles and sculptures, creating their own little sand village! 

You will have peace of mind knowing that the sand is safe to play with and your child will have lots of fun without being exposed to any nasty bacteria. 

The sand is good value for money and is of very high quality. You’ll have all the fun and enjoyment of being at the beach without having to even leave the house.

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10 thoughts on “Best Sand for Your Sandbox (2020 Reviews)”

  1. Thanks for the report. We are torn between the quikrete play sand and the Sandtastik but hesitate because of the fleas In some. Does the quikrete have Silica in it?
    Thanks again.
    Melinda in San Francisco

  2. Im wondering if Sandtastik Or quikcrete have issues with Asbestos dusts? Or any cancer causing ingredients? Every sand I google either does or its not moldable for kids sandboxes.

    1. Sandastik addresses this in the FAQ section on their site, and states that their sand does not contain any traces of the harmful ingredients found in asbestos.

  3. Ryan,
    Had a question did you consider and look at Sakrete All-Natural Play Sand when you were narrowing down your choices?
    Only ask because that is one other one that I was looking at along with some others on your list.

    Thanks,
    Donnie

    1. Great question. I’m familiar with Sakrete, but have not done a deep dive on their All-Natural Play Sand.

      1. Angela Musick

        I looked on Sakrete’s website and it appears that they only have one type of play sand. Am I missing one?

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