Sand, Water, or Both
- What: Sandboxes
- When: As soon as they won’t eat sand
- Why: Durable, covered, appealing to kids
- Where: Amazon
We got our crab sandbox from a neighbor who moved and couldn’t take it with them. It lasted through their two kids, and now all three of ours. We’ve used it both as a wading pool and now a sandbox with fabulous results.
Hands down, the best feature besides the durable plastic material is the cover. If you fill the animal with water, the lid keeps kids and yard debris from falling in. It also limits their ability to fill it with sand and dirt and sticks and leaves and generally create a big pile of muck. As long as you keep it covered when not in use, it doesn’t double as a mosquito breeding ground either. If you prefer, you can empty it of water between sessions to further limit those things.
When filled most of the way with water, I can still pick it up on one side to empty it easily. Yet when full, it remains incredibly stable and the kids can’t knock it over or let the water out. Now that we’ve filled ours with sand, I haven’t tried moving it, but I suspect it would be difficult.
You can get the same features in either a red crab or a green turtle, depending on your preference. We kept our crab stored in the garage when not in use, but it has lived outdoors for several years now and show little signs of wear. You can also store it on its side so it takes up less room in the offseason, and the material won’t deform. I wouldn’t recommend letting kids play on top (or husbands step on the lid), but I’ve seen both those things happen and our crab stays intact. What’s more, no one else can tell it’s been abused. I suspect we will be passing this sandbox along once we retire it from action. Much like the Cozy Coupe, although the sandbox isn’t cheap, it will last through multiple kids and regular rough use.
My parents have the turtle version and store theirs outside. They only use it when the grandkids visit, but my kids love it just as much. Even my eight year will still climb into it when filled with water, though the water barely covers his legs and it doesn’t leave room for much (or anyone) else. We both got our versions secondhand and haven’t had a single issue with either.
The turtle runs smaller, and costs less brand new, too. If you need to fit more than one kid, keep an eye out for a crab, who measures 47 x 47 x 16 inches. If you want to take up less space, the turtle, at 43 x 39 x 12 inches, is the way to go.