Which Little Tikes sandboxes are best?

For many kids, playing in the sand is an expansive form of play that can entertain for hours. With a sandbox in your backyard, you can skip the trip to the beach and let your little ones have all that sandcastle-building, dinosaur-digging fun without having to leave the house. When it comes to outdoor, child-oriented fun, a sandbox is an easy choice, and Little Tikes is a reliable brand. 

For a classic and simple option, you can’t go wrong with Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sandbox. It’s spacious enough for more than one child to play and comes with a cover for safe storage.

What to know before you buy a Little Tikes sandbox

Wholesome outdoor fun

Fun is the most obvious benefit of a sandbox — your kids can enjoy an outdoor activity that’s safe and close to home with little equipment or expenses. As any adult who grew up playing in the sandbox can remember, they’re spaces for a wide variety of imaginative play. Your little ones can dig for dinosaurs, bury treasure or build a castle fit for royalty all from the comfort and safety of your backyard. 

Developmental benefits

In addition to being fun, sandbox play assists in the natural development of children, both physically and mentally. 

Physical development:

  • While in the sandbox, children lift, push and pull the sand around as they dig and build, which engages their upper body muscles, helping them to get stronger over time. 

  • In addition to big movements that build muscle, sandbox play often involves precise movements and the use of small toys and molds, all of which give the child an opportunity to improve their fine motor skills in a fun way. 

Kids need to explore different tactile sensations, and sand is uniquely beneficial in this way as it has a pleasing texture that takes a variety of forms: almost fluid when dry, hard when damp and pressed, cool in the shade and hot in the sun. In this way, this one material provides a large variety of sensory experiences to explore. 

Social development:

  • When sitting in the sandbox, kids often work together to create castles or dig holes, giving them an opportunity to practice collaboration with others and utilize good communication skills. 

  • Even if they don’t collaborate on a project, kids in the same sandbox have to share space, sand and tools and toys as they work on their individual projects. In addition to practicing sharing, they have to be mindful of the other kids’ spaces and creations and learn how to forgive when accidents do happen. 

Types of sandboxes

Plastic: Plastic sandboxes are often made from just a couple pieces, so they’re typically lightweight and easy to move. They’re also easy to clean with a damp cloth. Plastic sandboxes tend to get hotter than wooden ones when exposed to the sun, and the colors may fade over time, but plastic sandboxes also have the biggest variation in colors, designs and themes. Most Little Tikes sandboxes are plastic.

Wooden: Wooden sandboxes are typically very sturdy and provide a more classic look than their plastic counterparts. If cared for properly, a wooden sandbox can last many years. Because they’re constructed from wood, these sandboxes can be easily customized with added seats for parents or posts to hold up an awning. Wooden sandboxes are also more environmentally friendly, as the wood biodegrades and there aren’t any chemicals baked in. Wood requires a lot of maintenance when compared to plastic, and there’s always a risk of screws or splinters. Additionally, wooden sandboxes are often difficult to clean and to transport. 

What to look for in a quality Little Tikes sandbox

Size

If you opt for a larger sandbox, multiple kids can play in it, and you may be able to fit as well so you can comfortably play with your little one. It’s important to remember, the larger the sandbox, the more sand you have to get to fill it, and sand costs can add up.

Smaller sandboxes may not be able to accommodate as many people, but they tend to cost less and require less sand. Additionally, smaller sandboxes are lighter and easier to move and cover than larger models. 

Regardless of the size you choose, measure your desired sandbox space to ensure your chosen model will fit.

Cover

Covering your sandbox is an essential practice if you want dry sand that’s free of animal feces. If you opt for a model that comes with a cover, you don’t have to worry about getting a tarp over it before it turns into a giant litter box for the neighborhood cats.

Features

In addition to a cover, there are sandboxes that come with a variety of features and additions, such as seats, sand and water compartments or fun characters and designs. These added features can be a huge bonus to your little one, leading them to spend hours in the sand. 

How much you can expect to spend on a Little Tikes sandbox

While there are sandboxes on the market for $100 or more, most Little Tikes sandboxes cost $30-$60. 

Little Tikes sandbox FAQ

When can babies safely play in the sandbox?

A. If properly supervised, a baby of nearly any age can enjoy a few minutes in the sandbox. However, most babies won’t really appreciate a sandbox until they’re at least 9 to 12 months old. It’s unsafe to leave a child unsupervised in the sandbox until they’re at least out of toddler years, probably closer to 7 to 8 years old. 

What’s the best way to clean a sandbox?

A. This depends on whether your sandbox is wooden or plastic. Little Tikes sandboxes, which are usually made from plastic, can safely be cleaned with antibacterial wipes or soap and water. The best way to keep a sandbox clean is to keep it covered when not in use. If sand gets wet, let it dry before covering to prevent the growth of mold.

When should I replace the sand in my sandbox?

A. You should replace the sand at least once a year. If it seems gross or unhealthy, replace it sooner. Additionally, you should never use beach sand or construction sand in a sandbox, as it can pose health risks to your kids. Always purchase sand specifically marked for play to refill your sandbox. 

What’s the best Little Tikes sandbox to buy?

Top Little Tikes sandbox

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sandbox

Little Tikes Cozy Coupe Sandbox

What you need to know: This fun car-themed sandbox strikes the perfect balance of size — big enough for multiple kids and small enough for any backyard. 

What you’ll love: Themed after the ubiquitous Little Tikes Cozy Coupe car, this classic red sandbox features two built-in cupholders, two built-in seats and a securely fitting lid to keep it covered when not in use. Holding up to 350 pounds of sand, it can easily accommodate multiple kids.

What you should consider: It doesn’t come with any toys, and the lid doesn’t cover the seats. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon 

Top Little Tikes sandbox for the money

Little Tikes Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox

Little Tikes Dirt Diggers Excavator Sandbox

What you need to know: This feature-packed and themed sandbox has everything you need for hours of sand-filled play, making it well worth the price.

What you’ll love: Holding up to 100 pounds of sand, this adorable construction-themed sandbox is equipped with two built-in cupholders and two detachable ones, a rake and shovel, a dump truck, two construction worker figurines and a built-in excavator for heavy digging. On top of that, the securely fitting lid doubles as a ramp for the truck to go down, providing extra room to play. With all these features, this top-tier sandbox is worth its upper-tier cost.

What you should consider: Most kids sit around (not in) this sandbox, and there are no seats.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox

Little Tikes Turtle Sandbox

What you need to know: This adorable turtle-shaped sandbox is a classic and reliable choice that gives you the essential features of a sandbox at a reasonable price.

What you’ll love: With front legs that double as seats and a shell that makes the perfect lid, this turtle is a provider of sand-filled fun that lasts for hours. Holding up to 150 pounds of sand, it’s molded with numerous precious details that make it an aesthetic choice for any backyard. 

What you should consider: Some customers complained that this model is different and less durable than older versions. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Collette Bliss​​​​​​​ writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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