7 Sandbox Ideas

Girl playing with dolls in front of dollhouse

DIY Sandbox Ideas

Sandboxes are a summer play staple, perfect for letting kids get creative and a little messy outdoors! Get the most out of yours this summer with these easy backyard sandbox ideas!

Fossil Dig

First, have the kids create their own “fossils” indoors. Use a few small, plastic animal toys to create imprints in modeling clay. Let the clay dry completely; then, bury their fossils in the sandbox. Provide your little paleontologists with some small shovels and sieves for their search. They’ll also love dusting off their finds with paint brushes!

Sandbox Volcano

Take the classic baking soda volcano outside for even more fun. Give the kids some water and have them construct a volcano shape in the sandbox – be sure to leave a hole on top and some space in the middle. Then, pour in the baking soda followed by colored vinegar to create a volcano explosion!

Ice Fun

Ice cubes in the sand box – simple yet surprisingly entertaining! Kids will love seeing how the sand sticks to the ice and watching the ice slowly melt as they play!

Colorful Sand

It’s easy to DIY your own colorful sand! You’ll just need some food dye, water, and gallon zipper bags. Mix a few drops of food coloring with two cups of water in the bag. Then, add sand and shake! Once the sand has absorbed the colored water, you can let it dry in the sun, or just add it back into the sandbox wet and starte playing! White play sand takes dye the easiest, but if your sand is darker, no worries! Try this epsom salt-based colored “sand” recipe from Growing a Jeweled Rose.

Sand Letters

Finger drawing letters in a medium like sand or shaving cream is a classic preschool activity! It’s much easier for toddlers and young preschoolers to start “writing” with their fingers since they still lack the fine motor skills to control a pencil well enough to write. By practicing writing in the sand, they can still build familiarity with the shape and significance of letters, giving them an edge when they are ready to write for real! Simply provide some print outs of letters for them to trace or copy as they play in the sandbox. Older kids can practice spelling short words!

Construction Site Sandbox

If your little one has some construction toys, put them to use scooping and pouring real sand! Let them find some pebbles, rocks, sticks, and other “rubble” to remove from the construction site with their toys. (P.S. Our Adventure Tracks: Dino World set comes with construction- themed dinosaurs!)

Sensory Sand Box

Sandboxes are already a great form of sensory play, especially when you add extra tools that let kids dig, sieve, scoop, pour, and build! Increase the fun by adding some of your go-to sensory bin fillers for the kids to search for in the sand. Just be sure to choose objects that won’t spoil or mold if they get left in the sandbox.

Still looking for the perfect sandbox for your backyard? KidKraft’s wooden sandboxes are cute, sturdy, and big enough for some major digging adventures!