What Type of Sand Do You Buy for a Sandbox?

By Amy Sutton
Young girl playing in sandbox.
Young girl playing in sandbox.

Playing in sand isn't just an entertaining activity, it's also a form of sensory play that is therapeutic and can improve motor skills, notes PBS Parents. Buy natural sand, rather than man made sand, then let your children enjoy themselves, knowing that the sand in your sandbox is safe.

What to Look For

When purchasing sand to fill your little one's sandbox, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends looking for natural sand that comes from the beach or the river, instead of sand that is man made. You should also opt for sand that has been washed and sterilized to remove organic matter and bacteria. Many home improvement and landscaping supply stores sell this sand in 30 to 50 pound bags. It is also available to order online, but you may have to pay for shipping.

What to Avoid

Avoid sand that is made from crushed marble, crushed limestone, crushed crystalline silica and other products that are dusty, warns HealthyChildren.org. The dust from crystalline silica, for example, can cause life-threatening conditions, such as lung cancer, according to the United States Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Maintaining Your Sandbox

Keep your sandbox covered when not in use to prevent bugs and animals from getting inside. Rake through the sand regularly, removing any leaves, sticks and anything else that has made its way into the sandbox that doesn't belong. When the sand gets wet, allow it to dry out completely before covering it, to prevent bacteria. While the sand dries in the sun, keep animals out by placing chicken wire or a large piece of lattice over the top. Replace your sand every couple of years.