Do Sandboxes Need to be Covered? Everything You Need to Know


There are all kinds of sandboxes out there, from DIY ones to ready-made ones. But not all of these come with covers. And after all, there’s only sand inside. It won’t become damaged by rain or wind. So many people wonder if they really need to cover their child’s sandbox. 

Sandboxes need to be covered in order to keep animals and insects out. Covering your sandbox is the best way to help keep the sand inside relatively clean and safe for the kids who play in it. The right cover will keep animals from defecating in it, prevent insect infestations, and even keep the sand dry to prevent mold and bacteria from growing. 

How Dirty Can Sandboxes Really Get?

It’s natural to wonder how dirty a sandbox can really get. After all, it’s just sand, right? Well, it may start as just sand, but time plus an uncovered sandbox can add some unwanted stuff to that sand—stuff you probably don’t want your kid playing in.  So, sandboxes can actually get pretty dirty. One study found that uncovered public sandboxes were, on average, dirtier than a public toilet’s door handle! 

Animals and insects are drawn to sandboxes for a variety of reasons. To some animals, a sandbox looks like a luxury toilet. When exposed to animal droppings and dirt, all that clean sand becomes dirty pretty fast! Add moisture from rainwater plus kid’s sippy cups, and sandbox time can turn the sandbox into a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

If your sandbox doesn’t have a cover, you’re risking illness from all of this exposure to dirt and droppings. That’s not mentioning those kids who might put sand in their mouths or on their hands without realizing it. So what’s the best way to prevent the sand from getting dirty? 

You guessed it: Sandbox covers!

But, not all covers are created equal. Not to worry, though, because we’re going to go over all the different types available, even ones you can make yourself!

What Can You Use to Cover a Sandbox?

There are many different types of sandbox covers to choose from. Some are built-in, like a sandbox’s roof or sides. Others can be purchased for adding on top of the sandbox itself. Or, if you’re into DIY projects, you can make an effective sandbox cover using the materials of your choice. 

First, let’s talk about ready-made sandbox covers.

Sandbox Covers You Can Purchase 

Waterproof Tarp Sandbox Covers

You have a lot of options when it comes to waterproof tarp sandbox covers. You can find them in a variety of colors and sizes, so you’ll be able to choose the one that best fits your sandbox’s dimensions. 

The best affordable waterproof tarp sandbox cover is this Oslimea Drawstring Cover

Pros

  • This affordable and easy-to-use cover is available in many different sizes. 
  • They also help keep sand dry which is great for preventing mold and bacteria from growing. 
  • While these types of covers may not prevent every insect from getting in the sandbox, they can definitely prevent most animals from getting inside. 
  • Made with polyester fabric and a waterproof PVC coating. 

Cons

  • They may not be as durable as some of the other sandbox covers on this list. 
  • Also, for those who live in windy areas, the drawstring may not be enough to prevent the cover from flying off. 
Oslimea Sandbox Cover with Drawstring, Square Dustproof Protection Beach Sandbox Canopy, Waterproof...
  • ✔【Upgraded Sandbox Cover】According to costomers' needs and suggestions, Oslimea sandbox cover had been upgraded 420D polyester fabric with waterproof PVC coating, more thicker & water resistant and durable.
  • ✔【Sandbox Cover Size】59.05" x 59.05" x 7.8". Note !!! : Make sure your sandbox size before purchasing. [If your order the wrong/unsuited size you can exchange it in free from amazon in 30 days.]
  • ✔【Material】The sandpit cover made of durable, lightweight fabric that is dust and water resistant, Which protect the sand in the big sandpit against coarse dirt and debris, such as leaves or animal droppings.
  • ✔【Upgraded thick drawstring designed】over the sandbox firmly, protect the sand and toys.

Sandboxes With Built-In Covers

While tarp sandbox covers like the one above will work for most people, those in windy areas may want a more secure cover. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find a ready-made hard cover for existing sandboxes. But, there are plenty of options for sandboxes with built-in covers. 

Built-in sandbox covers can help keep animals and insects out of the sandbox while also making sure that the cover doesn’t fly off during a windy day. The best sandboxes with built-in covers actually have a double-cover. Let me show you what I mean. 

This Kids Foldable Cabana Sandbox comes with cedar bench seats that fold down to cover the sandbox when you’re done. Plus, it comes with a built-in canopy above that. The canopy is made from oxford cloth and PVC, so it can protect your kids from UV rays while they’re playing in the sandbox. Then, once you’re done and you fold the seats down to cover the sandbox, you can lower the canopy, which makes for a waterproof cover.

Pros

  • This sandbox cover doesn’t have to be taken on and off, which is great for people who want to protect their sandbox from the elements but don’t want to take it off every time they use it. Instead, they just need to raise the canopy and fold up the bench seats for playtime. 
  • It will keep out animals, water, and the cedar wood makes for a natural insect repellent. 
  • The canopy can be removed for easy washing. 

Cons

  • This sandbox will obviously cost more than buying a cover for an existing sandbox, so it may not be the best option for everyone. 
  • It requires some assembly. 
Kids Sand Boxes with Canopy Sandboxes with Covers Foldable Bench Seats, Children Outdoor Wooden...
  • ★ NEW Design RETRACTABLE ROOF- UPGRADE the roof handle by using MUCH THICKER wood so it will not broken! Your kids will have a long period of sand time without the worry of sudden shower or ultraviolet ray. It keeps local cats out when the cover goes down.
  • ★ Easy to Clean & Detachable Canopy- It is easy to wash and secure with the hook and loop fastener affixed to the canopy frame.
  • ★ STURDY CONSTRUCTION- Dedicated T-shaped hinge ensure durability of the back rest. Hand grips make it easy to fold and unfold the benches. 2 benches for up to 4 children or 2 adults.
  • ★ Bottomless design- Facilitates drainage, ventilation and adjustment of the depth of the sand. FREE Sand screen is included is for the easy storage of sand.

DIY Sandbox Covers

You may want to make your own sandbox cover. This can be a fun weekend project and a great way to get the sandbox of your dreams.

The most common DIY sandbox covers are made from mesh, tarps, wood, or plastic. Depending on the material you use, you may also need rope or bungee cords to secure the cover in place. 

It’s not as easy as buying a sandbox cover, but if you use the right materials, it may be worth the effort.

Pros

  • DIY sandbox covers are a great way to get exactly what you want because you’re able to customize everything from color and size, to materials used for construction. 
  • You can also find tutorials on how to make sandbox covers online if you need help getting started or just want some new ideas 

Cons

  • Creating your own sandbox cover isn’t as easy as it sounds and it can take a lot of time. 
  • You will need to consider what materials you’ll use, how much material and how you’ll secure the sandbox cover to the sandbox before deciding on a design.

DIY Mesh Sandbox Cover

Mesh is a popular option for homemade sandbox covers. Mesh is fairly cheap and it won’t allow water to pool on top of it. But, that is only because the water will just seep through the mesh. This isn’t ideal if you’re concerned with bacteria and mold in your sandbox. You’ll also want to make sure that there’s some way for that water to drain out of the bottom of the sandbox so it doesn’t pool. 

Here’s an inexpensive mesh tarp available on Amazon.

Pros 

  • Mesh sandbox covers are easy to make and they don’t cost a lot of money. 
  • They will keep animals and most insects out of the sandbox. 

Cons

  • Water will still get inside your sandbox, so it may not be best for places that get a lot of rain. Wet sand can be a breeding ground for mold and bacteria and may even attract mosquitoes. 

DIY Tarp Sandbox Cover

You can also use a tarp to cover your sandbox. This is one of the easiest DIY sandbox covers to make and you can pick up a tarp for cheap at any hardware store. 

A lot of people will just tie or bungee cord the tarp over their sandbox, but if you have some extra time on your hands, it may be worth investing in a few ground stakes as well. This way you can ensure that your sandbox cover stays in place and the sandbox doesn’t get exposed to rain or snow.

Here’s an inexpensive tarp on Amazon, if you don’t already have one lying around!

Pros

  • Tarp sandbox covers are inexpensive, easy to make, and they’re waterproof.
  • They can keep out animals and most insects when used correctly. 

Cons

  • You’ll need a few ground stakes if you want your tarp sandbox cover to stay on securely during high winds or when it rains. 
  • If not pulled tight enough, water may pool in the middle of the tarp. 
  • Not the most aesthetically pleasing option. 

DIY Wood Sandbox Cover

Last on the list is a DIY wood sandbox cover. Depending on the size of the sandbox, you may need more than one piece of wood. But, for small sandboxes, a single piece of plywood may do the trick.  

And as always, make sure that your sandbox cover is sturdy and won’t topple over when trying to attach the pieces together or during high winds, especially if the wood is thin and flimsy. Many people just set bricks or stones on the wood at each corner to keep it in place.

Pros

  • Wood can keep out animals and most insects, as well as water provided the wood is solid and doesn’t have any holes. 
  • Wood also looks good and can be treated to resist water. 

Cons

  • Wood sandbox covers aren’t the best option simply because they will break down over time when exposed to water. 
  • Depending on the wood, it may also attract insects like termites. 
  • Plus, you’ll want to make sure that the wood isn’t treated with any harmful chemicals. 

In Conclusion

Sandboxes should be covered to keep out water, animals and insects. The sandbox cover should also be sturdy enough to withstand high winds or snow. 

The best sandbox covers are made of tarp fabric because they’re waterproof, inexpensive and easy to make. But those who live in windy areas may want to consider sturdier options like those offered on sandboxes with built-in covers. Either way, it’s important to keep your sandbox covered to keep the sand clean and your kids safe and healthy.

Justin

Justin Childress is the creator of Sunshineandplay.com. He is also a devoted husband and father of his 1 year old son Gabriel. Justin enjoys spending time with family, reading, and, of course, contributing to Sunshineandplay.com.

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