5 Tips for a Great Sandbox All Summer Long

One of my kids’ favorite summer activities is to play in the sandbox. Even my nine-year-old can spend long periods of time playing in the sand. In fact, recently, when I added some new sand to the box, my 4 yr old exclaimed, “It’s just what I always wanted!”. I love how something so simple can bring them so much joy and keep them both happily entertained for hours. However, as parents and caregivers know all too well, sandboxes can quickly become a breeding ground for dirt, debris, and unwanted pests. To ensure that your sandbox remains a clean and safe haven for your little ones throughout the summer, we’ve gathered five essential tips that will help you keep it tidy and enjoyable.

5 Tips for a Great Sandbox All Summer Long

Here are 5 easy tips to keep your sandbox clean and at its best all Summer long:

1. Cinnamon

Sprinkle cinnamon into the sand to keep bugs away. As an added bonus, cinnamon has natural antiseptic properties too.

2. Black Pepper

A perimeter of black pepper around the sandbox will keep ants away. Remember to reapply after a rainstorm.

3. Baby Powder or Corn Starch

Apply baby powder or corn starch to wet skin that has sand on it, and the sand will instantly fall right off. This trick is great for the beach, too, so keep some baby powder or cornstarch in your beach bag!

4. Refresh the Sand

Every few months, you may want to add some fresh sand to the box. Little ones tend to spill it outside of the box anyway. This is a good time to rake or sift the sand and allow it to air out in the sunshine.

5. Keep a Lid on It

Keep the sandbox covered when it’s not in use, and make sure it has proper drainage.

PS: If you don’t already have a sandbox, our favorite is this Step2 Sand and Water Table — with a removable umbrella, boats, and shovel. It has withstood years of playtime fun!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Full disclosure policy here.


  1. Dear Valerie,

    My grandpa once made a sand volleyball court in his yard, thinking that the whole family could play when they came to visit. His barn cat thought it was the greatest thing ever, but for other reasons. He was not pleased.

    With that being said, I’d say that a great tip is to use a table to keep it elevated or covered, and away from any cats!


    • Oh, I can attest to the nuisance of cats and sandbox. Lazy me forgot to cover our box and our cat decided we had gifted him the largest litter box ever. :/ Suffice it to say, the box has remained covered and unused until I can muster up the energy to give it a complete cleaning.

  2. Just curious…our daughter recently received a second-hand a free-standing sandbox and I’m just curious about types of sand…the sand in your photos looks really soft (if that makes sense, lol)…what kind do you get??

    • Our sand comes from the local hardware store here, and is sold as “play sand”. Hope this helps! 🙂

  3. I was gonna ask where your sand came from too! I got some play sand from Home Depot and its sooo gritty! hate it!

  4. You can use white distilled vinegar to keep cats away. Some people say to mix it in the sand, and other people say to pour it around (that will kill some grass though).