Simple & Affordable DIY Sand Tent Tutorial

Make your own DIY Sand Tent with this tutorial!

Sandboxes seem to be a backyard staple for families with young children. Playing in the sand encourages open ended & sensory play in the great outdoors.

Since this is the exact type of outdoor play that we strive for, we wanted to add a sand play area to our backyard. We opted for a sand tent over a regular sandbox. A sand tent is simply a child-sized tent with play sand covering the bottom. Our kids could play in here for hours on end!

Why Should You Make a DIY Sand Tent?

So you want to add your own sand play area, but you aren’t sure which option to choose… Let me give you the pro & con list for sand tents to help you make your decision.

DIY Sand Tent Pros

  • A tent will keep cats and other animals from using your child’s sand as a potty zone.
  • A sand tent will help protect your child from the summer sun.
  • If you live in a windy area like we do, your backyard could turn into a sandstorm if you don’t have something (like a tent) to keep the wind out of the sand.
  • Weeds can grow through open sandboxes, but our tent keeps weeds out.
  • A sand tent is very easy & inexpensive to create in your own backyard.

DIY Sand Tent Cons

  • If you use a cheaply made tent, it might not hold up to the weather and you would need to replace it each year. Our tent was less than $20 so we didn’t mind replacing it, but next time we will purchase a higher quality one.
  • That is seriously the only con that I can think of…A sand tent really is a great option!

We chose to purchase a child-sized Ozark Trail tent from WalMart. We zip it up at night to keep the cat out, it provides shade and a windbreak, and it will keep weeds out. Putting this together took me about 15 minutes by myself. It was really very simple.

How to Create Your Own DIY Sand Tent

Step 1:

Set up the tent according to the instructions. Most only require that you put the poles through the pockets and stake it down. I used a 6’x4′ tent from WalMart.

Be careful with the poles if you buy a cheaper one like this because they can snap (as mine did). Duct tape is serving as our temporary fix;)

Step 2:

Pour your sand. I purchased 11 bags of sand per recommendation of Google, but I only needed five. You can use more or less depending on how deep you want the sand to be. Five bags was perfect for our DIY sand tent.

DIY Sand Box Tent Tutorial

There was a pretty good distance for me to carry the sand. I was six months pregnant at the time of this project soI needed to avoid putting too much strain on myself. I didn’t want to wait for my husband (patience is a virtue that I don’t have yet) to get home to move them for me so I pulled out our sled and got to work!

Step 3:

DIY Sand Box Tent

Throw in some fun sandbox toys and let the kids go wild! I purchased our toys at Dollar Tree and only spent around $10.


It gets pretty humid where we are so I am assuming that the sand might get a little damp and icky if I keep the tent closed all the time. I will try to avoid this by opening the flap on really sunny days when I am outside and can keep an eye on the cat. This will allow the sand to dry out periodically.

DIY Sand Tent Costs:


You can’t beat that!

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  1. Hello Jess, This is wonderful idea specially for summer.It is too easy and so much enjoyable. Thank you so much for sharing such an amazing post.

  2. Having a cabin tent would be great. A family with two [hyper] active boys would love to have this kind of tent 🙂
    This is a very good reference. Saving it, so no more worries on our next camping trip!
    Thanks for sharing.

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