We’re having an 80s-inspired summer this year, and I wanted to set up a few fun options for them at home. My kids love playing in the sand, but traditional sandboxes can be messy, labor-intensive, and difficult to keep clean. And those Kinetic Sand sets are way too small. I had a great idea for an easy sandbox and it’s been a hit with my 3 kids. Creating a sandbox at home is a great way to provide children with a fun, imaginative play experience. I had a sandbox idea that would require zero effort to set up and maintain, stay clean, and offers endless fun. It’s an inexpensive toy that is easy to put away and doesn’t become an eyesore in your home. This guide will walk you through the benefits and steps to create a DIY sandbox that is easy to clean, aesthetically pleasing, space-efficient, and minimally messy.


How to Make an Easy DIY Sandbox for Kids in 5 Minutes


Sand tables are kind of annoying. I’m sure they’re fun, but the stuff piles up with little kids. And I didn’t want to have a big sandbox in our yard, or a table on our patio. And backyard sandboxes can get a little gross. We can get a lot of rain in the summer months, and like water tables, sand boxes end up getting a little gross. But there is a better way. For parents looking for a clean and easy alternative to a sandbox, a DIY sandbox made from an under bed storage box and kinetic sand is the perfect solution. This is such a basic but good idea  and my kids love it. And it was a great project since it didn’t require any work. I can’t even really call this a DIY project because it’s not.


Benefits of a DIY Sandbox Using an Under-Bed Storage Box

It turns out that an under bed storage box is the perfect sandbox. There were zero trips to the hardware store and no buying and cutting pieces of wood. No sandbox plans. I didn’t even need that much sand. The only materials you need are a few bags of play sand, an under bed box, and some sand toys. You could use regular playground sand, but I decided on kinetic sand for my own sandbox since it’s a little cleaner and more fun to build with. It works so well with sand toys and is great for building sand castles. Involve your child in the creation and maintenance of their sandbox. Let them help choose the storage box, pick out the sand toys, and even assist with the decoration. This involvement can give them a sense of ownership and responsibility, encouraging them to take better care of their play area.


Space Efficiency

Under-bed storage boxes are designed to fit in compact spaces, making them ideal for homes with limited room. They can be easily tucked away when not in use, ensuring that your living space remains uncluttered. This makes them perfect for apartments, small homes, or even for those who prefer not to have a permanent outdoor sandbox.


Unlike traditional sandboxes, an under-bed storage box can be easily moved around. This portability allows children to play in various locations, whether it be inside on a rainy day or outside in the sunshine. The box can also be taken on family trips, ensuring that kids always have a familiar and enjoyable play activity at hand.

Ease of Cleaning

One of the major advantages of using an under-bed storage box is its ease of cleaning. Plastic sandboxes can be wiped down with a damp cloth, and the lid can be secured to keep the sand contained, preventing spills and messes. This feature is especially valuable for indoor use, where sand can otherwise become a persistent nuisance.


These storage boxes come in various sizes and materials, allowing you to choose one that best fits your needs and aesthetic preferences. You can also personalize the box with decorations, stickers, or paint to make it more appealing to your child, ensuring that it fits seamlessly into your home decor.

Seasonal Use

If you live in an area with distinct seasons, consider the seasonal implications for your sandbox. During colder months, you can bring the sandbox indoors for continued play. Conversely, in the warmer months, the sandbox can be a great outdoor activity. Ensure that the sand is kept dry and clean, regardless of where it is used.

It Can Be Combined with Other Play Elements

To maximize the utility of your sandbox, consider combining it with other play elements. For example, you could integrate it into a larger play station that includes building blocks, a mini kitchen, or art supplies. This can create a multi-functional play area that keeps your child engaged for longer periods.



Creating a DIY Sandbox


Step 1: Choose the Right Storage Box

Select an under-bed storage box that is sturdy and has a secure lid. Transparent boxes are useful as they allow you to see the contents without opening the lid, but opaque boxes can be decorated to match your home’s decor. I opted for a longer under bed box with a little more storage. Ensure the box is large enough for your child or children to play in comfortably. With 3 kids, the longer box seemed ideal, and it is. 


Step 2: Add Sand

Fill the box with play sand to a depth of 2-4. This depth is sufficient for children to dig and play without making the box too heavy to move. Play sand can be purchased from toy stores, hardware stores, or online. Make sure to choose sand that is specifically labeled as safe for children, as it is free from harmful substances and fine enough for easy digging. I started with 2 sets of 11 pounds of sand, so 22 pounds. I just placed an order for one more box since we need just a little bit more. So if you’re using an under bed box, I would say 3 sets, or 33 pounds, is the perfect amount. 


Step 3: Add Sandbox Toys and Tools

Provide a variety of toys and tools to enhance the play experience. Small shovels, buckets, molds, and figurines can all add to the fun. I used the toys from this small kinetic sand set and this cupcake set. If you want to minimize mess, opt for larger toys that are easier to keep track of and less likely to be buried and forgotten.



Here are the Materials I used for my own DIY Sandbox Project

Container Store

Under Bed Storage Box with Lid

This box is the perfect sandbox base. The side of the box is 6 1/4 inches high, and the perfect height for little kids.
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Kinetic Sand

Play Sand

You can use playground sand or kinetic sand. Just choose an option is non-toxic and safe for children. Each set of sand comes with 2 bags of sand inside, so it's packaged airtight, and if you regularly put the lid on your under bed box, it should last all summer or longer.
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Enhancing the Sandbox Experience

Themed Play

Consider creating themed play experiences to keep the sandbox interesting. For example, you can add dinosaur figurines for a prehistoric dig, construction vehicles for a building site, or shells and marine animals for an ocean theme. Changing the theme periodically can keep your child engaged and excited about playing with the sandbox.

Educational Activities

Incorporate educational elements into sandbox play. Hide small objects in the sand and have your child find and identify them, practice writing letters or numbers in the sand, or use the sandbox to teach about concepts like volume and measurement through filling and emptying containers.

Sensory Play

A sandbox can be a great tool for sensory play, which is important for children’s development. Encourage your child to feel the different textures of the sand, pour it through funnels, and build structures. These activities can help develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and sensory awareness.


Maintenance and Cleaning Tips


Daily Use and Storage

After each play session, cover the sandbox with its lid to prevent spills and keep the sand clean. If the sandbox is used indoors, consider placing it on a mat or a piece of fabric to catch any stray sand that might escape during play.

Regular Cleaning

Periodically sift through the sand to remove any debris or foreign objects. A sand sifter or a piece of mesh can help make this process easier. If the sand becomes very dirty, you can rinse it with water. If you drilled drainage holes in the box, you can do this directly in the box and let it drain outside. Otherwise, remove the sand, rinse it in a large bucket, and allow it to dry before returning it to the box.

Sand Replacement

Depending on how often the sandbox is used and how well it is maintained, you may need to replace the sand every few months. This helps ensure that the play environment remains clean and safe for your child.


Safety Considerations

Choosing Safe Sand

Always use sand specifically labeled as play sand, which is treated to remove impurities and fine particles that can be harmful if inhaled. Avoid construction sand, which can contain silica dust and other harmful substances.


While the sandbox is designed to be safe, always supervise young children during play to prevent accidents, such as putting sand in their mouths or eyes. Teaching your child the proper way to play with sand can help minimize these risks.

Allergies and Sensitivities

If your child has skin sensitivities or allergies, monitor their reaction to the sand. Some children might be sensitive to even the safest play sands. If you notice any adverse reactions, discontinue use and consult a pediatrician.




The finished sandbox is perfect for my 6 and 4 year olds, and my 1 year old, too. I can set it up on the floor or on our outdoor coffee table. I love that it’s a smaller sandbox that doesn’t take up much space, either. A DIY sandbox made from an under-bed storage box is an ingenious solution for providing children with a fun, safe, and educational play environment without the drawbacks of traditional sandboxes. Its compact size, ease of cleaning, and portability make it an ideal choice for modern living spaces. By following the steps outlined above, you can create a sandbox that not only delights your child but also fits seamlessly into your home. This project is not just about creating a play area; it’s about fostering creativity, learning, and joy in a way that is practical and manageable for parents.



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