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10 of the best sandpits for kids

Our pick of the best wooden and plastic sandpits to suit a range of outdoor spaces, starting from £20

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As the weather warms up, why not bring the beach to your back garden with a cute sandpit for your kids. We’ve researched a huge variety to suit different spaces and budgets from plastic to wooden sandpits, designs with gazebos, sunshades and more.

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You can guarantee the kids will be occupied for long enough to pour yourself a cold drink, sit back and pretend you’re somewhere exotic!

What to look for when choosing a sandpit

How big is the sand area? – Sandpits come in all shapes and sizes but it’s important to take note of the actual size of the space which holds the sand. Some sandpits have a large surrounding but only a small space for the sand. If you have multiple children and want them to be able to sit and play with enough space, it’s worth taking a look at whether this area is big enough.

How much sand do I need to fill it? – Unfortunately sandpits don’t come with free sand. In order to fill your chosen pit you will need to buy a few bags of the stuff. There’s nothing worse than getting the sandpit home and realising the amount of sand you’ve bought barely covers the base, so we’ve done the hard work for you and given you an idea of the amount of sand needed. This will also help you figure out how much extra it is going to cost you with sand bags included.

What type of sand do I need? – Regardless of age, always use child-safe play sand that has been washed, graded and blended accordingly. Most outdoor toy retailers will stock sand that you can buy alongside your chosen sandpit.

Does the sandpit have any shade? – Some sandpits have UV protection in the form of sunshades and canopies. Thinking ahead about where you might place your sandpit will determine whether you need one of these options. If you have a large tree in your garden which offers shade you may not need anything extra, but if your garden lacks any shade you may want to consider this for safe and longer play on sunnier days.

Does it have a base? – You’ll find some sandpits come without a base and rely on the space that you put it on to act as the base, such as grass or patio. Those without bases mean that they can’t be moved unless you empty the sand and re-fill it. It is also likely that weeds will grow through the sand in time. You could add some form of base yourself with some liner but remember to include this within your budget.

Is it durable? – Like all garden toys, we should choose an option with the (British) weather in mind. Sandpits are usually a permanent fixture in the garden so need to be durable. You don’t want to spend money on one that will rot before it’s time. Most of the options here have been made with plastic or solid wood which is weatherproof. Some could even be stored in a shed when out of use.

Does it have a cover? – Sandpits that come with a lid or covering are useful in protecting the sand from unwanted dirt or animals. It can keep the sand a lot cleaner, which may be something you’re more concerned about with babies or young tots who want to eat it. We all have watched in horror as our children have shoved a handful of sand in their mouths, so keeping it clean might be worth a thought.

Here’s our pick of the best sandpits for kids:

1. Little Tikes Turtle Sandpit, £45

– Best for toddlers

Age: 12 months + | Size: H30.1cm x W108.5cm x L95.6cm | Sand needed: 68kg | Base included: Yes | Cover included: Yes

This super cute turtle sandpit comes with 4 little flippers as seats, so kids can sit comfortably while building their sandcastles.

It has a lid shaped as a turtle’s shell which is great to protect the sand from dirt or animals until it is played with again. Though keep in mind we found that, on very windy days, the lid can blow off so it might be worth having a brick (or similar) handy to keep it in place.

It can also double up as a mini splash pool or ball pool for tots, when you don’t want to use it as a sandpit.

Available from: AmazonLittle Tikes, Argos

2. Big Game Hunters Wooden Car Sandpit, £88

– Best for imaginative play

Age:  12 months + | Size: H36.5cm x W90cm x L115cm | Sand needed: Approx 4 x 15kg bags | Base included: Yes | Cover included: Yes

Little ones will be zooming in to the garden to play with this brilliant car sandpit complete with steering wheel and seat. Not only can they enjoy hours of fun in the sand but can also pretend to drive off to the beach themselves.

Eye-catching as well as practical, you can also open the bonnet to reveal a storage space for buckets and spades. It also comes with thick durable panels and underlay to prevent sand from escaping.

Some testers have reported that it can be a little tricky to assemble but it  shouldn’t take longer than 30 minutes.

Available from: Amazon

3. TP Toys Wooden Sandpit with Sun Canopy, £89.99

– Best for shade

Age: 2+ | Size: W117cm x L117cm | Sand needed: Approx 6 x 25kg bags | Base included: Yes | Cover included: Yes (canopy)

This generous sized sandpit is perfect for keeping the rays off kids when they’re playing in the sun. This is thanks to the fully adjustable sun canopy made with UV resistant material, which gives excellent sun protection.

Another fantastic feature is that the canopy can be lowered to cover the sand once playtime is over. Timber benches also surround the sandpit for kids to perch on.

Available from: TP toysJohn Lewis, Amazon

4. Garden Games Wooden Boat Sandpit, £149

– Best for ‘Wow’ factor

Age: 3+ | Size: H17cm x W56cm x L115cm | Sand needed: 7-8 x 25kg bags | Base included: Yes | Cover included: Yes

All aboard this exciting sandpit in the shape of a boat! This is a lovely choice for anyone wanting to add a little touch of magic to the traditional garden sandpit. It’s also great for your little pirates to play on all year round as the sandpit in the middle can be closed by the wooden lid when not in use.

When opened, the lid transforms into little benches with a deep space for sand in the middle. We love the attention to detail including a steering wheel, sun canopy to keep the rays at bay and even storage to hide their treasure.

A few reviews suggest the boat is a little smaller than imagined, so it’s worth measuring the space beforehand to see if it’ll be the right fit.

Available from: Amazon

5. Chad Valley Wooden Sand Pit, £35

– Best value sandpit

Age: 18 months+ | Size: H16cm x W90cm x L90 cm | Sand needed: 6 x 15g bags | Base included: Yes | Cover included: Yes

This no-frills sandpit could be the answer for those with a small space or  budget. It’s easy to put together and basically does what it says on the tin!

It’s a compact size and comes with 4 colourful seats on the corners from little beach bums. You get a groundsheet and protective cover included, but keep in mind that the base isn’t solid so will be tricky to move once filled with sand.

Available from: Argos

6. OutSunny Kids Cabana Sandbox, £126.99

– Best for style

Age: 3-7 | Size: H137cm x W106cm x L106cm | Sand needed: Approx 2 x 25g bags | Base included: Yes | Cover included: Yes

This wooden sandpit, reminiscent of a classic ice cream cart with the striped, is ideal if you’re looking for something that’ll blend into your garden.

We love the fact that the cover opens up into benches to sit on, with a stable backrest to stop kids from falling back. The benches are also removable to allow more children to all dig together and they can stay protected from the sun thanks to the adjustable canopy included. Non gimmicky and oh-so chic is its appeal.

Available from: Amazon, Aosom

7. TecTakeSandpit Playhouse with Veranda, £134.99

– Best for a picnic area

Age: 3 + | Size: H20cm x W150cm x L150cm | Sand needed: Approx 3 x 10kg bags | Base included: No | Cover included: No

If you’ve ever wanted a veranda in the garden for those long summer days, here is your chance. This beautiful sandpit by TecTake is made up of a large solid square sandbox for all the messy fun, as well as an elevated veranda that makes for the perfect picnic spot, playhouse, or kids reading area.

Once the sand play is over the canopy can be pushed over the sandpit with its handy wheels for protection. Keep in mind that there isn’t a base to the pit – this means you will need to find a permanent spot for the sandbox so that the veranda can slide over it.

Available from: Amazon, TecTake

8. Solid Wood Hexagonal Sandpit, £65.99

– Best for large families

Age: 12 months + | Size: 150cm x 65.9cm x 20cm  | Sand needed: Approx 8 x 25kg bags | Base included: Yes | Cover included: No

At 1.5 metres this one of the largest sandpits we’ve spotted, making it perfect for big families or lots of friends. It is made out of solid wood and comes a flat edge running around the top so that lots of children can perch too.

Included is a a geo-textile underlay to prevent weeds from growing up through the sand, though you’ll have to pay £45.99 extra for a hexagonal wooden lid. Some customers also suggest using double the amount of sand recommended, in order to fill the large space sufficiently.

Available from: Big Game Hunters

9. Chad Valley Sand and Water Pit, £20

– Best for sand and water play

Chad Valley Sand and Water pit

Age: 12 months+ | Size: H23.5cm x W106cm x L92cm | Sand needed: 4-5 x 15kg bags | Base included: Yes | Cover included: Yes (folds over)

If you’re short on space but don’t want to sacrifice on fun outdoor play, we love this dual-sided sand and water pit with 2 apple-shaped spaces with just enough room for a small child in each.

As it’s made from polypropylene, Argos say it’s suitable to left outside in all weather conditions and it’s easy to wipe down. You can also maximise its play potential by using it indoors during the winter months as a ball pit.

Available from: Argos

10. Festnight Square Sandpit, £198.89

– Best for durability

Age: 12 months + | Size: H27cm x 120cm x 120cm | Sand needed: Approx 6 x 25g bags | Base included: No | Cover included: No

If you’re looking for something slightly smaller than the one above but just as durable this could be a great fit. Made from impregnated pinewood this sandpit is extra strong. It is also resistant to rot, insects and adverse weather conditions according to the manufacturers. This makes it an ideal permanent fixture in the garden as you wouldn’t need to worry about rain damage.

The natural material and classic square design would suit any garden nicely too. It also comes with flat wooden planks placed along 2 sides to act as seats, so is comfortable as well as practical. No bells and whistles, just a sustainable sandpit

Available from: Amazon

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About the author

Neve is a freelance writer and mum of 2, aged 5 and 2. Neve wrote her first article about the early days of motherhood when her daughter was a few months old, and 5 years on writes for a number of publications reviewing parenting and children’s products. 

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