Ideas for Cheap Sandboxes


Sandboxes can be busy places on the summer. All of that soft, sifty sand is just so tempting to kids, and they’re likely to play in it for hours if you let them! It’s amazing what they can create in a sandbox too—roads, towns, castles, and entire cities!

Commercial sandboxes can cost a pretty penny, but you don’t have to pay out the nose for one. There are plenty of ideas for cheap sandboxes that you can put together yourself for a fraction of the cost!

First, you’ll need to get yourself a container to hold the sand—the actual “box” part of the sandbox. Just remember that DIY cheap sandboxes should have drainage holes in the bottom. Otherwise, your DIY sandbox will be less outdoor toy and more dirty pond.

  • Wading pools make great cheap sandboxes! They’re also super cheap and sturdy. Just fill them with sand, and voila—cheap sandboxes!
  • Cinder blocks and landscaping stones can also be used to make cheap sandboxes. All you need to do is arrange them in a square, circle, or any other shape you want your sandbox to be. Then, just pour the sand in. This is a great idea if you already have some laying around anyway.
  • Wood can also be used to construct cheap sandboxes. You don’t even have to be super handy with tools to make a wood sandbox. All you need to make is a square box. You don’t even have to put a bottom on it. Leave it open or cover the ground with landscaping fabric to help with drainage. A quick search online will bring up lots of great sandbox plans, but I love this tutorial from Stately Kitsch!

  • A hole is one of the simplest and cheapest sandbox ideas out there. It may take a little more work than some of the other cheap sandbox ideas, but it’s basically free. Just dig a hole in the ground and fill it with sand.

Now that we’ve make the box part of our sandbox, we’ll need some sand. You can buy sanitized play sand from most retailers, but this can get pretty expensive. Here are a few other ideas for getting some cheap sand…

  • Hardware stores sometimes run nice specials on bags of sand. Check around at your local hardware stores, like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
  • Quarries are a great place to look for cheap sand if you have any in your area. You can usually get bulk sand for super cheap, but you’ll most likely need to haul it away yourself. If you don’t have a truck, large plastic totes should work just fine, although you may need to make a few trips.
  • Contractors and landscapers can sometimes get you cheap sand as well, since it is used in certain projects. It doesn’t hurt to call around and ask.

Okay, so we ow have the box and the sand for our cheap DIY sandbox. What’s next? Ah, yes…the cats. You’ll definitely want a cover for your sandbox, especially if you have cats or other small critters in your neighborhood. An uncovered sandbox is like a giant luxurious commode for cats and other critters. Here are a few ideas you can use to cover your new sandbox…

  • Chicken wire should work fine for covering your sandbox, if you can get some for a good price. The holes are small enough to keep most critters out. Just remember to bend or cover any sharp wires on the edges of the mesh.
  • Plywood can also be used to cover a sandbox. If you built a wood sandbox, you can also attach a big sheet of plywood to your sandbox with hinges.
  • Wood lattice is relatively cheap and will keep out most critters. Plus, it’s much prettier than chicken wire and plywood.
  • Tarps are an old standby for covering a sandbox. If you already have an old tarp laying around, you already have a cheap sandbox cover. Just make sure to weight the edges down with lumber, rocks, or bricks to keep it from blowing away and exposing the sandbox.

Do you have any other tips or ideas for cheap sandboxes? let us know in the comments!