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Different Types of Play Therapy Sandtrays

Posted by Joe Sloan on

Jurassic Sands has been providing play therapy sands for more than 25 years and we are often asked what sandtrays we recommend. While there are many factors that go into selecting a sandtray, we wanted to highlight a few of the more popular selections.

Standard Sandtray

Standard Therapy Sandtray

The exterior of a regulation sized sandtray interior measures at 29.5” x 18.5” x 3”. This sandtray is preferred by many of the leading play therapists. This sandtray is built to last and offers enough room for the therapist to be effective, but still remains portable and comes with a lid to avoid unwanted spills. Keep in mind that these sandtrays are “dry trays” and are not waterproof. If you want a wet tray, you have to specify a “wet tray” to the manufacturer to let them know to use the different epoxy for the tray.

For this tray we recommend filling it about halfway full of sand (50 lbs.) so that it is deep enough to be effective for the therapist, but not so deep that there are spills and a clean up period after every session.

Plastic Container from Big Box Store

Plastic Therapy Sandtray

Another effective sandtray that is widely used is a plastic container from a big box store. It is convenient, with handles and a snap on lid, and can be found for under $5.00 at big box stores. It is plenty big for most therapists needs and is waterproof.

For this tray we do not recommend filling it up halfway. If this sandtray is filled halfway it will be too heavy to lift and too deep. For a plastic container that is approximately 24” x 14” x 6” we would recommend 25 lbs. of sand, which is plenty for any client to build any scene they need to do.

Desktop Sandtray

Desktop Therapy Sandtray

Finally, another widely used sandtray is a desktop sandtray. Desktop trays are typically slightly bigger than a piece of paper (8.5” x 11”) and about two inches deep. These are great for home visits, the therapist can put this tray under their arm, grab a plastic bag of sand and some miniatures and they are good to go. These trays are also great for having different sands. Therapists can keep multiple sands in plastic bags and change them out as desired. Just as the standard sandtray, these trays are “dry trays” and in order to get waterproof trays you will have to specify “wet trays” to the manufacturer.

For this tray we recommend filling it up halfway with sand (Half Gallon). We like to think of this as a common rule of thumb for sandtrays that are designed for play therapy.

How Much Sand is Needed for Your Therapy Sandtray

A common mistake when ordering sand for sandtrays is ordering too much or too little sand. We typically recommend filling the tray up with enough sand so that is deep enough for the therapist to be effective, but we never recommend filling the tray more than halfway. To learn more check out our video on How Much Sand is Needed For Your Therapy Sandtray.

Jurassic Sands Play Therapy Sands

Original Jurassic Sand in a Standard Play Therapy Sandtray

You can shop Jurassic Sands’ collection of play therapy sands.

Jurassic Sands has been recognized as being the only sand on the market to never crush or pulverize rocks to make our sand or use artificial chemicals and dyes to achieve our play therapy sands' gorgeous colors. Our play therapy sands come in a variety of natural colors and textures, thus allowing your client to concentrate on expressing themselves and immerse themselves in building their scene without fear of harmful additives.

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