The best sandpits for babies and toddlers


by Sophie Knight |
Updated on

Get your toddler out in the fresh air for hours of digging, building and scooping in a sandpit. Most little ones love playing with sand. Whether it’s slipping it through their fingers or squishing and squelching it to build a sandcastle with a bucket and spade, sand is a wonderfully sensory material to touch. You don't have to take them all the way to the beach, we have picked the best sandpits for your own back garden.

Playing in a sandpit is also a great social activity. Even children who are too young to actively play together will happily scoop, shovel and sift alongside each other. There aren’t many other toys that will entertain kids of all ages as well as a sandpit, so it will encourage sibling co-operation. There are a few things to consider before buying one, however, such as the style and the size.

Editor's choice:
•Best sandpit for easy cleaning: Little Tikes Turtle SandpitBest sandpit for sun protection: Hedstrom Play Sand and Ball Pit with Canopy
•Best classic sandpit: Plum Square Wooden Sand PitBest 2-in-2 sandpit: TP Toys Wooden Picnic Table and Sand Pit

We've covered everything from plastic and wooden sandpits to sandpits with lids and even sand tables. Some of the options on our list even double up as benches, seats, ball pits and water tables, making the opportunities for fun and exploration endless!

The best sandpits 2023

Best sandpit for easy cleaning

This fun turtle sandpit is a perfect size – there’s plenty of room for building sandcastles with friends, but it doesn’t take up lots of space. It’s brilliant value too. We particularly like the practical lid and the seats around the outside, which are designed to maximise the sand play area. It’s made from durable plastic and is suitable for use from 18 months of age.

Tested by Sarah, 33, mum to Emma, two, and Daniel, three, and expecting her third baby. She says: "Perfect for impatient toddlers – this model took two minutes to set up. I love that it’s completely watertight, so can be left outdoors all year round, and it withstood a typical Mancunian summer day of heavy rain with no problems! The children love sitting on the seats and burying their feet in the sand. Overall, it’s sturdy, and great value."

Read our full Little Tike Turtle Sandpitreview


  • Cover included
  • Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use


  • Plastic is quite thin
Size:<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-weight: inherit; color: initial;">30.1 x 108.5 x 95.6cm</span>
Made from:Plastic

Best sandpit for a budget

If you're looking for a budget option for your toddler's sandpit, then this is super affordable. In an adorable apple-shape with two sides to play with, it's got no frills but does come as is. We love that this can be used as a sandpit, paddling pool, ball pit and more.

One reviewer said: "This has had hours of play already - and shows no sign of being left in peace now that the colder weather is coming either! It perhaps doesn't look very sturdy, but with the amount of stomping about in it that has been done so far, it is holding up very well. It holds a good amount of sand (what doesn't get thrown over the side!) and there is room for a couple of (small) bottoms to sit in. One side is very useful as a lid (as long as it's weighted or tied down), so the item can be easily either left outside or stored with sand in it. Overall, very impressed with this - a nice design and it does exactly what we wanted it to do."


  • Affordable price
  • Quick to fill


  • Some users say that the material is quite fragile
Size:<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-weight: inherit; color: initial;">H23.5 x W106 x D92cm</span>
Capacity:111 litres
Made from:<span style="font-family: inherit; font-size: inherit; font-weight: inherit; color: initial;">Polypropylene - suitable to be left out in all weathers </span>

Best classic sandpit

We love the traditional style of this classic wooden sandpit. Made from premium FSC certified timber with rounded corners for added safety, it comes with a protective cover and ground sheet included. At 1.19m, there's more than enough space for siblings to build sandcastles together, without feeling too tight on space.

Review: "Bought this about a month ago to keep my toddler entertained in the shade on the occasional hot day we get! Easy assembly and looks great. Got it at a great price on sale too. Very happy with it. Just to note, I’ve popped 6 bags of sand in so far but needs a few more!"


  • Includes a protective cover and ground sheet
  • Rounded corners


  • Tricky to move as the base is fabric
Size:L119 x W119 x H23cm
Max user weight recommendation:50kg
For ages:18 months and over

Best 2-in-1 sand pit

This wooden picnic bench seats two children and features a sand/water bowl recessed inside the table top, which can hold up to 14kg of sand or 10 litres of water. When playtime’s over, the wooden cover pops easily into place, converting this back to a picnic table. It’s suitable for children aged two years and older. Assembly isn't very quick, though (it took one of our testers two hours to build).

Tested by Leanne, 32, mum to Darcie, 18 months, and Harrison, five. She says: "Even with very comprehensive instructions, assembling this put our DIY skills to the test. I was sceptical about whether the picnic table/sandpit combo would be practical, but I couldn’t have been more wrong – this was a big hit! It looks fab and is exactly the right height for Darcie to sit at the picnic table and play with the sand."

Read our full TP Toys Wooden Picnic Table and Sand Pit review.


  • Bowl is removable
  • Doubles up as a place to sit


  • Requires assembly
Size:102 x 61.5 x 49.5 cm
Made from:Wood
Tray capacity:14.1kg of sand (not supplied) or 10 litres of water

Best sandpit with toys

This colourful sandpit table comes with eight accessories including sand moulds, a water can, a spade, fork and a bucket for your little one to spend hours engaging in imaginative clay and creating sand-crafted masterpieces. The table comes with a lid, meaning all the toys can be stored inside when not being used. It's available in small or large, depending on your garden space.

Review: "My nephew was so happy with the toy, got this for his birthday which was in the summer. Played with water and sand outside. The product is easy to assemble and is strong. Very good product and fun."


  • Clips together for easy assembly
  • Accessories included


  • Low to the ground so they may grow out of it quickly
Size:(small) 42 x 10 x 28 cm
Weight:500 grams
Made from:Plastic

Best sandpit for sun protection

Suitable for use from three years old and above, this wooden sandpit is made from sustainable materials and has a tilting sun canopy to give shelter from the sun. It looks pretty and would make a stylish addition to any garden. The canopy doubles as a pit cover and the sturdy bench surround is even strong enough for adult to sit on to supervise.


  • Canopy can be tilted and used as a pit cover
  • Sustainable material


  • Not suitable for children under 3 years old
Size:H117 x W117 x D117cm
Made from:Sustainable fir wood

Sandpit must-haves

Best for bulk

If you're going to invest in a sandpit, then you need some sand! This is clean, safe and non-toxic play sand - you can't just scoop up a load from the beach, you know.

One reviewer said: "I bought this to top up my daughters sandpit - it’s lovely and soft, which means she can build the best castles - pleases her and me!"


  • Budget friendly
  • Super soft texture


  • May need another bag if you've got a big sandpit to fill

Best for playing in sand

If you're going to play in a sandpit, then you need some great toys to play with. Get this big bag of beach toys and your little one will have hours of fun, scooping and shaping sand into sandcastles and animal shapes. Playing with toys in the sand encourages your child's imaginative play, promotes hand-eye coordination, logical thinking skills, and practical abilities.

One reviewer said: "Excellent quality/price ratio. The box they come in is huge and the toys are so many, I didn't expect it to be like that. It's perfect for a lot of kids to play with."


  • Range of bright colours
  • Lightweight and suitable for small hands


  • Truck is quite small

When should I buy a sandpit?

Young babies may not be developmentally ready for a sandpit, but you can still put them in the sandpit (supervised) to get them used to the feel of it. 18 months is a great age to use one as they may be more keen on playing with the sand and exploring how it works (and won't just put the sand into their mouth).

What to consider in a sandpit for children

Which size sandpit will work for you?

Because it’s fun to play together, a sandpit needs to be large enough for at least two children to play in at the same time. As your child will still be playing in it when they're five or six years old, it needs to be big enough for two older kids to play in too. Factor in the cost of filling it with play sand – the washed, non-staining sand is more expensive than builders’ sand - so work out how much it'll cost to fill the whole sandpit before you buy the biggest one on the list.

How big is your garden?

A sandpit needs to fit in with your garden, rather than being too big. If you aren’t sure if the one you like will suit, mark out its dimensions with chalk or string in your garden.

Where will you position a sandpit?

Deciding on where in the garden you’ll put your sandpit before you buy it will help you choose the right model. Children are happy to spend a lot of time in a sandpit, so it needs to be in a spot where you can keep an eye on them. Positioning it in a place that gets plenty of shade in the summer is also a good idea. Sand can get very dusty if left to dry out, so you need to make it easy to sprinkle water on regularly to keep dust levels down, to ensure your child doesn’t inhale the particles.

Can you leave a sandpit out all year round?

Some families leave the sandpit out all year, in which case it needs to be durable enough to withstand bad weather. Size or weight isn’t really an issue if you're not going to be moving it. We'd recommend choosing an option with a lid on it. Alternatively, you might prefer to pack it away for the winter, in which case it needs to be fairly portable and light.

Do you want a ground-level or raised sandpit?

A ground-level sandpit offers the most scope for imaginative play, as your child will be able to sit in it. It will give them more sensory pleasure too – that lovely feeling of sand between the toes. But this means it’s inevitable that some sand will find its way back into your house. A raised table is a less messy alternative, and if you have pets, then they won’t climb in as often either. However, the fixed height of the table will mean it’s at the right level for play for a shorter time period.

What type of sand do I need for a baby sandpit?

When filling up a sandpit, opt for play sand, particularly if young children or babies are going to use it. Play sand is softer than other types of sand you can get as it has been washed and graded to make sure that they're aren't any hard bits or other materials that could be potentially dangerous for your little one. It shouldn't stain they're hands or clothes either, which is also a bonus.

How else could your toddler use a sandpit?

Think about how your child will use the sandpit in other ways. For example, if it has a lid, will that make a good surface for playing with cars? Or are the sides substantial enough for your youngster to use as a bench?

Should you choose a wooden or plastic sandpit?

Wood often looks better in the garden than plastic, but it requires more maintenance to keep it solid and looking good. Plastic sandpits are usually lighter and easier to move and clean, but they can lose their colour and crack, so look for one with a guarantee against this.

Are you good at DIY?

Some sandpits are fiddly to assemble, so if you don’t have the patience for this, pick one that’s pre-made or simple to put together.

Sophie Knight is a journalist and mum of two, and previously edited before moving on to write about family cars for - now Sophie is Commercial Content Editor for M&B, Closer, Heat, Empire, Yours, Garden News, and

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