The play received an almost universally negative reception, as critics attacked the confusing, absurdist plot.
However, Ben Brantley, in his review of the 2008 Off-Broadway production in The New York Times, wrote that The Sandbox was a better play than The American Dream, which it was paired with. Brantley wrote that The Sandbox "remains a harrowingly effective chamber piece." Joe Dziemianowicz, in his review of the 2008 double bill for The New York Daily News wrote: "...these satires on the storybook family deliver swift comic kicks and a piercing sting. They also contain the absurdism, acrobatic language and provocative thoughts on marriage and children that define Albee's long, illustrious career....The production [The Sandbox] benefits from snappy design, Albee's smart direction, and solid acting, though Markle, a last-minute replacement, seems too hearty for her role. On the other hand, Ivey is an ideal Mommy. Her acidly funny performance is enough for me to urge seeing this double bill double-quick."