Whether on the beach, in the playground or in the garden: children love to play with sand. If you would like to offer your offspring a place to dig, but do not have enough space for a wooden box, smaller models are available – also called sand shells.

In contrast to a classic wooden sandbox that is permanently installed in the garden, a sand shell is a mobile toy made of plastic. Not only is it a lot smaller (and cheaper), it’s also a lot lighter. This makes it easier to transport, set up, dismantle and store. In addition, most shell-shaped models consist of two shells: This means that one side can be filled with sand and the other with water – alternatively, one half is used as a cover to protect the contents from wind and weather. However, before you decide on a sand shell, you should consider a few points.

Sandbox alternative: The most important criteria

Although one sand shell is the same as the other, there are major differences between the over-the-counter models. For this reason, you should consider the following criteria before you decide to buy:

You can find even more sand shell models on Mytoys.de.

Setting up a sand shell: You should pay attention to this

Since the plastic shell is not firmly anchored in the ground, it is not always storm-proof, depending on the amount of sand. To ensure that your child does not fall over while playing in it, the mobile sandpit should always be on a level surface. It is also important that you weigh down the lid with a heavy object (e.g. a large stone) on windy days, as it does not close properly. There is a simple reason for this: so that a child cannot lock themselves in and suffocate, sand shells should always leave a kind of safety gap when you want to fold them up.

Tip: If the sand shell does not have a lid, you can also use a special tarpaulin for it.

TÜV-tested children’s play sand is best suited for filling the sand shell: It contains no dirt particles or pollutants and has the right grain size for playing without roughening children’s delicate hands. Depending on the size of the mussel, you need between 25 and 50 kilograms of sand – that’s about three bags. In the end, the only thing missing is suitable sun protection, since the sand shell offers no protection against UV rays. So that your children don’t burn their skin when playing for hours, it is best to set up a parasol or push the shell into the shade.

Care tip: How to properly clean the sand shell

Since sand shells are made of plastic, they are easy to clean: a damp cloth and some washing-up liquid are enough to remove dirt from the halves. On the other hand, it gets a little trickier if you want to remove leaves and stones from the used sand that have collected in it over time. It is best to use a large (garden) sieve for this and use it to filter all coarse particles out of the sand. After two to three years at the latest, however, you should replace the play sand with new ones.

Another tip: Turn over the layers of sand at regular intervals. The sun’s rays kill bacteria in the sand naturally – but only on the surface.

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