A sandbox can be a great addition to a backyard playground set and a wonderful way for kids to exercise in a fun and creative way. And setting it up should be pretty easy, right? But actually acquiring the sand may be a more difficult task than you anticipated, with more options than you knew! So we’ve compiled a list for you, of where to buy sand for for , what types are offered, and, of course, what it’s generally going to cost you.

Included in This Article

  • Where to buy child-friendly sand (both in-store and online).

  • Types of sand available.

  • Sand pricing (with bulk vs bag sizes).

  • Whether the product is silica-free.

  • Surprising places that don’t sell sand.

A Note on The Health Concerns of Play Sand

In the process of searching for play sand for your children, you may come across some alarming health concerns, or contradictory information about what is or is not healthy. To help clear up these issues before our list, and to clarify the sometimes drastic differences in the cost of different companies play sand, we have a brief explanation for you.

All “play sand” is child-friendly in that it has been thoroughly washed, but often the sand will still contain silica, or, if made from quartz, carcinogens, which is the same as any beach. These companies have also undergone health tests and usually have the results posted online for all to see (see Quikrete’s statement on their product here, or Sakrete’s here for more info), but silica and carcinogens can have potentially detrimental effects if inhaled in excess—these types of play sand will commonly advise to keep the sand somewhat damp, which prevents children from breathing in dust or bits of silica from the sand.

In other places, all silica and quartz have been removed from the play sand, dramatically increasing the price of the product. We’ll give you all of these options in the list below, as well as including “all-purpose sand,” which is similar to play sand except that it’s slightly more coarse and less fine, and may come unwashed (check the bag for this information, as it varies), but this type of sand is more likely to be available in bulk.

How Much Sand Should I Buy?

The amount of sand you need to purchase varies greatly depending on the size of your sandbox—that is, the length, width, and depth of the sandbox you purchased. In general, you’ll likely need a few hundred pounds of sand to fill up a small sandbox. For larger sizes, or odd shapes and sizes, here’s a handy sandbox calculator from Sandtastik that will help you calculate the exact amount you need!

In-Store Locations to Buy Play Sand

1. Lowe’s

2. The Home Depot

3. Walmart

  • Does Walmart carry child-friendly sand? Yes.
  • Types of sand offered: Play Sand in tan, white, green, pink, purple, and blue colors.
  • Is the sand silica-free? Yes, most options.
  • Price of bag: $22.95 for a 20 lb. bag of colored sand, $19.95 for a 25 lb. bag of tan sand, and $31.10 for a 25 lb. bag of white sand. $2.00-$7.00 for 50 lbs. play sand containing silica in tan and white.
  • Price/size of bulk: No bulk options available.
  • Take a closer look at the options here.
  • Find your nearest Walmart here.

4. Menards

5. Kmart

6. Toys-R-Us

  • Does Toys-R-Us carry child-friendly sand? Yes.
  • Types of sand offered: Play Sand, white-colored.
  • Is the sand silica-free? No, but the product boasts a more thorough cleaning process than most hardware stores’ supply—the product is also a good deal finer than most (but for this reason doesn’t pack as well).
  • Price of bag: $5.99 for a 50 lb. bag of sand.
  • Price/size of bulk: No bulk options available.
  • Toys-R-Us’ play sand is only available in-store, with no online previews. If you would like more information before heading out, call in to your local store.
  • Find your nearest Toys-R-Us here.

7. Ace Hardware

8. Sears

  • Does Sears carry child-friendly sand? Yes.
  • Types of sand offered: Play Sand in white, tan, and various colors.
  • Is the sand silica-free? The colored sand is silica-free, but the white and tan Play Sand are not
  • Price of bag: $2.04 for a 50 lb. bag of white/tan sand, $50.49-$51.26 for colored sand.
  • Price/size of bulk: No bulk options available.
  • Take a closer look at the options here.
  • Find your nearest Sears here.

Online Options to Buy Play Sand

9. Amazon

10. The Safe Sand Company

  • Does The Safe Sandy Company carry child-friendly sand? Of course!
  • Types of sand offered: Play sand for sandboxes, volleyball events, etc., white or tan-colored.
  • Is the sand silica-free? Yes.
  • Price of bag: $23.85 for a 25 lb. bag of white sand picked up in San Francisco, and $28.85 for the same with delivery.
  • Price/size of bulk: $868 for 1000 lbs. of white play sand, $1,285.85 for 2000 lbs. white safe sand, and $6,750.50 for a full truck (40,000 lbs.) of tan sand. More options are available for mixing and matching on their site, although the tan (or natural beach sand) is cheaper to purchase.
  • Take a closer look at the options here.
  • Find Safe Sand Company’s website here.

11. Sandtastik

Surprising Places That Don’t Sell Sand

  • Target

  • Costco

  • Supervalu

  • Publix Supermarket

  • Family Dollar/Dollar Tree/Dollar General (only sell bottles)

  • BJ’s Wholesale Club

Not Convinced? Here Are Some Alternatives To Sand

If you’re worried about purchasing play sand with silica in it, but can’t afford the silica-free brands or bulk prices, there are also some alternatives to putting sand in your sandbox. As silly as it may seem to fill a sandbox with anything else, many stores will also offer pea pebbles/gravel, fish tank rocks, or rubber mulch (which is becoming much more common in parks everywhere). You could also choose to fill the sandbox with rice, dried beans or legumes, or even flaxseed.

Where to Buy Sand for Sandboxes: The Conclusion

Buying play sand for your children, nephews, or for whatever purpose is usually a more in-depth task than it may seem at first, what with the multitude of options and the potential health hazards involved. We hope we’ve made it a little easier for you here, or at least given you the information you need to make your decision—even if it’s going to your nearest grocery store to stock up on rice, instead! As a final note, local landscaping companies can be a real penny-saver for you when buying sand. If they regularly sell bricks, dirt, rocks, etc., they will likely also carry sand by the bulk or in the amount you need. Since, in this case, you’re buying directly from the source, you’re also more likely to get a reasonable price, and know exactly what’s in the sand you’re buying. For example, Acme Sand & Gravel is a local landscaping company in Arizona that sells 2000 lbs. of play sand for $34.00. That’s a steal, you’ve got to agree. So good luck with your searching, and with your shopping now that you know where to buy sand for sandboxes.