The portable sandbox

As a young child, I had a sandbox in my backyard. I didn’t like our specific sandbox very much because the neighborhood cats often used it as a community litter box, and my parents didn’t like it because they had to kill off a plot of grass to build it. I loved the idea of a sandbox, though, and dreamed of building castles in it.

Recently, I spotted on Apartment Therapy’s Ohdeedoh website a perfect, uncluttered solution: A sandbox on wheels

You can roll the sandbox into your garage when not in use (keeping out unwanted cats and pests), wheel it onto a patio or grassy area when in use, and you can roll it over to a neighbor’s house for their children to use when your kids outgrow it. Just be sure to get locking wheels when you’re buying supplies so your child doesn’t roll on out of your yard while playing.

(Image from Ohdeedoh)

27 Comments for “The portable sandbox”

  1. posted by Danielle on

    This is cute! My husband’s parents just bought a taller one (sand table, I guess) that also has a compartment for water–it comes with a cover and fits into a corner of their shed when not in use. Very handy and my daughter adores it. I guess it’s a bit of a “unitasker”…but it’s been used every day for the past two weeks so at least it’s a useful one.

  2. posted by Sairey Gamp on

    My son had a hand-me-down from a neighbor in the shape of a turtle, with a cover fashioned like the turtle’s shell. The cover eliminated the cat-box problem, and he played in it every day for an entire summer when he was five. When he was six, he lost interest, so I just passed it on to the next neighbor with a little kid.

  3. posted by Anita on

    Very cool! Don’t know if I’ve ever really outgrown a sandbox…

    Lockable wheels are a must; also: the wheels pictured above would be great for a patio, but I’m guessing you’d want something different if you’re intending to use the box on grass. On wheels that small the box would probably be very difficult to move, and you definitely wouldn’t want to leave this on a grassy area in the rain…

  4. posted by Erin Doland on

    @Sairey — I think I found what you were talking about:

    Super cute! Also a good, uncluttered solution.

  5. posted by Rue on

    Maybe it’s because I don’t have kids, but the image of a child rolling out of the yard in a sandbox makes me laugh! I’m a terrible person. πŸ˜‰

    I think Sairey’s mention of the turtle sandbox with a cover is probably the best solution if you’re not looking for something portable. But if someone’s handy enough to be able to build a sandbox in the backyard, I’d tend to think s/he would be handy enough to be able to build a lid for it as well. πŸ™‚

  6. posted by Malena on

    You could also cover the sandbox with canvas when not in use. There should be a fairly easy way to secure it in order to discourage neighborhood cats (which people should keep inside!) from using it.

  7. posted by Susan on

    The cat problem is one we should not have to put up with. Get a live trap from your local animal control office (free of charge in most places), trap the cats, then take them in to animal control. After folks have to pay to redeem their cats a few times, maybe they will become more responsible owners.

  8. posted by Dawn on

    The neat thing about the wheels also is that you can roll the sand box to a shady area. Our south Texas heat is brutal and being able to roll a play area to a shady spot under a tree is a real bonus!

  9. posted by Cole Brodine on

    I built a sandbox in my backyard for my children. I just made it the dimensions of a piece of plywood. I then bought said plywood and put hinges on it, making a lid.

    As far as neighborhood cats go, I think if you trap them you will spend your whole life doing that. It’s probably just easier in the long run to get a lid. I know the neighbors are the ones in the wrong. I just can’t see taking all the effort to run back and forth to animal control with the cats when a few bucks on a piece of canvas or plastic covering will take care of it.

    Something that might be useful, check your local sand and gravel business. I got an entire pickup load of sand for my sandbox and it cost me $10.

  10. posted by Kat on

    While cats can be a problem (we have the turtle box) I have lingering memories of earwigs (sp?) and critters in my sandbox as a kid – ick. One problem I’ve had with the turntle is that when it gets wet (dry sand is not much fun, actually) and then covered it can turn green – or maybe that was from the time we left it open and it flooded and then it baked in the sun while covered and not breathing for a while. In any case, we are getting rid of the turtle this summer when we move – it’s good for one or two children, but not more. I’ll definatley run this idea past my handy husband – it might be good for a crowd if the sides are made into little benches…

  11. posted by momofthree on

    Oh gees, my dad was a genius and he didn’t even know it way back in the 1960’s!!
    He did the same thing to the sandbox that my little sister and I had in the yard.
    We kids were responsible for placing the lid on it every night when called in for the evening. While it was the Chicago northwest’burbs of the 60’s, we still had our fair share of wildlife….pheasant, deer, racoons, opposums, feral cats, loose dogs, and gads knows what else lived in the undeveloped land that belonged to the cemetery at the far wnd of our street, and whole neighborhood for that matter….because, ya know, people were just dying to get in there!! (sorry, bad taste joke…an oldie but goodie)

  12. posted by jfb3 on

    Obviously none of you have ever lifted a bag of sand. This box looks like it would take 4-5 bags to fill (or more). That’s 200-250 pounds. There is no way this thing loaded with sand will roll across grass on those little wheels. There is also no way anyone is going to be bend down to push it with their hands only 10 inches off the ground. It seems more like a student design concept, you know one of those things that looks good but is can’t actually built.

  13. posted by Erika on

    Some shelters are better than others: are either no kill or leave a long grace period for owners to pick up their lost pets, but some aren’t. In short, taking an animal you know has a home to the shelter is a really horrible thing to do, not to mention wasteful (that money should be going to truly lost/abandoned pets). You don’t know that your neighbors will get to that animal before it’s put down. There are also some cats that have spraying/incontinence issues. They’re better off outside than dead.

    I had one of those turtle sandboxes when I was a kid. I loved it.

  14. posted by Megan on

    Yikes, I totally agree with Erika – seems like a lot of effort and potential risk to impound your neighbor’s cat. I think I’d rather put a lid (or tarp) on a sandbox than risk having a cat put down just to teach my neighbors a lesson on why they should keep their cat indoors…

    Plus it’s not the cat’s fault their owners deem them outdoor cats… or that you put a huge litterbox in your backyard. πŸ˜‰

  15. posted by Nana on

    We had a sandbox…which the kids used all the years we lived in that house. I covered it at night with a window screen. Light, easy to put on and remove, no moisture trapped. critters won’t walk on screening.

  16. posted by alle on

    As a kiddo my nephew LOVED rolling his matchbox/hotwheels cars through roadways he dug in the sand; when he came to visit I made him a temporary sandbox out of a big shallow plastic under-bed storage bin. Less of a unitasker than a dedicated sandbox and it came with its own cover πŸ™‚

  17. posted by Shana on

    Is anybody else shocked at the prospect of devoting an entire garage parking space to a sandbox? I can’t imagine doing such a thing.

  18. posted by Amy on

    Give me a break about the cats! What about the 99% of other animal species that live outdoors? This is about sandboxes, not being a responsible cat owner. I don’t even have cats, but what is so wrong with a spayed/neutered cat being outdoors? Again, they are not the only animal who roams the great outdoors.

  19. posted by Karen on

    We had a sandbox as kids; my dad put it on the patio under the breezeway that connected our house and garage. No grass died for the cause, and there was a board that my dad put on at the end of the day. I don’t remember ever finding any animal droppings in it. And it was always in the shade.

    A good friend of mine had her husband put their sandbox in their covered, screened-in porch; the kids can even play in the rain! Obviously their house is kid-centric. πŸ™‚

  20. posted by martha in mobile on

    This is way overdone; a waste of time (unless you enjoy construction as a hobby), money and garage space. Just get a cheap plastic sandbox with lid — keeps cats and (most of the rain out. Corrals sand toys. Handed down throughout neighborhood. Why be so complicated? Especially given how fickle little kids can be…better not to put in too much effort so you won’t be frustrated if they never play in it.

  21. posted by Saderchick on

    An easier solution to the cat/animal problem: lattice. Buy some PVC or wooden lattice, cut to cover your sandbox when not in use. Keeps away the cats, since they can’t really get comfortable. No moisture problem, you can hang it when not in use, so you don’t kill your grass. Also, for the bugs, friends report that mixing a warehouse-club sized container of cinnamon into the box keeps away the ants, at least. And the kids smell great!

  22. posted by messyann on

    My neighbors’ cats are very cute, sweet, clever and a sincere pain. They didn’t want to clean a litter box, so they let them live outside. Thanks! Did you know that cat crap smells a LOT worse than doggie-doo when left outside to bake in the sun? Especially when you step in it and track it up the driveway. Excellent. When two cats fight (or mate) under your baby’s windowsill at 3 a.m., and wake her (and you) up repeatedly, they get less cute. When they hang on your screen door and shred it, they get even less cute. The dead birds, moles, etc. are an added bonus. In theory, I love these cats. But I love my sleep, a non-stinky, carcass-free yard, no mosquitoes flying in the shredded screens and clean shoes even more. They are the reason why my daughter does not have a sandbox at home. She has one at daycare. That’s fine with me.

  23. posted by Shana on

    Messyann, do your neighbors know that their cats create these problems for you? It might be worth a visit. They can’t fix a problem they don’t know exists, and most decent people would feel badly if they knew that their cats were destroying your property.

  24. posted by messyann on

    They are friends, so it’s awkward. I did mention the cats shreiking at night. And I did catch one pooping in our yard while they watched and I clapped and shooed it away. Maybe they will get that message, too.
    I suspect there are other neighbors who will get fed up before I do and be more firm (sigh). There is another neighbor who had a little dog that he let poop wherever, and one petless neighbor in the wee hours dumped a plastic grocery bag full of crap on the guy’s front stoop. Senior citizen wars. I suspect the cat folks may be next.

  25. posted by Amy in Ann Arbor on

    IMHO, the plastic turtles and such are too small. πŸ™‚ A lid also helps with rain and leaves.

    My twins’ sandbox went into a fairly open portion of one of the flower borders around the back yard. After that stage was over, away with the sandbox, grass intact.

  26. posted by Mike on

    I guess I don’t understand what a uni-tasker is if, you know, a “sandbox on wheels” isn’t one.

  27. posted by Dooley on

    I had a sandbox exactly like that when growing up.

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