DIY Sandbox with Colorful Sand for Less Than $15!

A sandbox can be such a fun way for your little one to have fun in your backyard! While purchasing a sandbox at the store can cost over $70, this DIY version costs less than $15. For a little extra fun I also dyed some of the sand fun colors!

Every single day Aaliyah wakes up and tells me that she dreamed about the beach. Sometimes she finds shells, sometimes she’s a mermaid that swims fast, but it ends up with her begging me to go to the beach. While I wish I could make that dream come true everyday, sometimes we have to do other things like grocery shop and vacuum the house. After seeing Raising Kingsley’s post on colorful sand, I was so inspired! I was thinking about making colorful sand castles at the beach, how beautiful! After googling it I found out that liquid watercolors are not safe for our little animal friends. Instead I decided to bring the beach to her with a sandbox in our backyard!


  • Play sand – I purchased the 50 pound bag for $4.95
  • Plastic storage bin – I purchased one that had short sides but was long to make it easy to play in for $7.99
  • DIY liquid watercolors if you would like to dye the sand

Setting Up the Sandbox

Setting up the sandbox is super easy. Simply pour the sand into the bin and add some fun plastic toys for your little one to play with. I added in plastic animals, a toy car, empty plastic containers, and her plastic animal eggs.

Let your little one free play in the sandbox. I was amazed with the different activities she was able to come up with while playing! We build sand castles, cleaned her animals with water, and created a race track for her car. Once she was finished (over and hour the first time! I was able to read a book!) I simply but the lid on so that it was safe from getting spilled and to keep our dog out!

Dying Sand for Your Sandbox

If you want to dye sand for your sandbox fill Tupperware with the sand. I filled four to make green, blue, purple, and red. If you don’t already have diy liquid watercolors made, you can create some with 2 cups of water and 3 washable dried out markers for each color. I used about 5 cups of sand for each color and this was enough to dye the sand. Just to do a little experiment I dyed the red with food coloring, to test out which looked better.

I poured the watercolors and food coloring into the Tupperware. Make sure you mix it really well so that the color doesn’t sit at the bottom of the container. After 24 hours out in the sun they were ready to play!

At first I wanted to keep the colors separate and used a small cake pan. We built different color sand castles and raked about the different colors. Of course after 4 rounds of sand castles half of the sand had been smashed up and mixed together. That’s when I noticed that the red food coloring was staining our hands!! It was so horrible both of our hands were bright pink. I tried to take out most of the red sand, but it was so mixed I had to throw most of the colorful sand away! This is why I stick to watercolors! We did still have fun making purple, green, and blue sand castles in her sandbox and even more fun mixing the colors in with the regular sand.

Im looking forward to playing with this sandbox all summer long!

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  1. This is so creative! My son also loves the beach and playing in the sand. Adding watercolors make it even more interesting! I may give this a try, just need to figure out where I would keep this when he is not using it.

  2. This looks like so much fun! I want to make one of these when my daughter gets little older!

  3. This is a great idea. My girls would definitely love this!

  4. What a great idea! I can’t wait to try this with my girls! Thanks for sharing!

  5. My kids love playing in sand, and it’s such a great sensory playtime activity. Thanks for sharing this cool idea.

  6. I nominated you for the Liebster Award! I put a direct link to your page on my post, check it out and keep doing your thing! . ❤️😘 love your blog!!

  7. This is so awesome! My four year old would play with this for hours.

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