Under-bed storage box as sandbox

Perfect weekend "project." From new Parenthacker Gina (welcome!):

My husband came up with a great idea for a small sandbox: an under-the-bed storage container. This container has a hinged top but the hinge broke so I put it in the garage for another day. My husband filled it 1/2 way with play sand and our daughter loves it. We can play with sand in the garage (if it is raining outside), on the back porch or take it to Grandma’s for the afternoon. When we are done we just put the top over it and slide it under the stand that holds the yard tools or under the workbench.

Related: Talk amongst yourselves: How to make a sand and water table


  1. Hayley says

    We have one of these on the back deck, filled with pea gravel – I’d been in the market for a sand & water table, but for a third the price, this is much better suited to our truck-obsessed toddler…

  2. Pam says

    I’m just using our baby bathtub – sure it doesn’t have a cover, but it’s light enough I can move it under the deck or the eaves of the house if it’s going to rain.

  3. says

    This hack is how we do our sand/water table! We built a simple wood stand, then have a stack of plastic boxes we can switch out: one with water, one with sand, one with rice, etc. Makes for much easier clean-up than the traditional tables.

  4. Tisha says

    We have an under-the-bed box that we use as a “rice bin” – one big bag of rice gives a good amount to play with, is easy to clean out, and vacuums up easier than sand. Over the past couple of years, we have upgraded from a large tupperware container to a small underbed box to the big one shown in the post.

  5. Jamie says

    We did the rice box too! It was great for the long winter. We keep a sheet under it for quick clean up. I threw a few pieces of cedar in it to hopefully keep moths out, so far so good.

  6. Chakolate says

    My autistic grandson has had a rice box for about four years now, and we’ve never had a problem with bugs in it, except for the ones he brings in and *puts* in it. :-)

  7. says

    This is a great idea! We’ve been wanting to build either a sandbox or sand table for my son, but this is even better because with the lid in place it keeps creepy crawlies out!

  8. EJ says

    25 years ago, my mom did something similar using coarse cornmeal. It looked and played like sand (not with water, of course) and she wasn’t worried about me eating it!

  9. Jill says

    My nephew enjoys playing with a wooden serving tray (14″x 10″ with 1 1/2″ tall sides) that I filled with colored sand from the craft store – the colored sand makes cleaning up easier since normal sand isn’t easily visible on my tile or wood floors. I added some small scale construction toys (cement mixer, bulldozer, pick up trucks, traffic cones, etc) so he has things to manipulate the sand and a few rocks (to scale.) I spread a newspaper on the table or floor and let him dig in. Clean up is simple and I store the tray in plain sight so the big boys (my husband and brothers) can play, too. I built it when he was less than two years old and he still plays with it at age 6 (so do the big boys – engine noises and all…)

  10. Whitney says

    You can fill this up with just about anything. We call ours a sensory box and it is currently filled with beans and different shaped noodles. We just put an old flat sheet on the floor and put the box on top. When everything is done just dump it from the sheet back into the box and it’s a pretty easy cleanup.

  11. Jennifer says

    Is uncooked rice safe if my one year old eats it by the handful? The “ricebox” sounds pleasant to play in, but I’m wondering if I should wait to make one if my child is still in the everything-in-the-mouth stage. What do you think?

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