The Perfect Sandbox

The developmental benefits of a sandbox are plentiful!! As with many activities your child will be using their senses to explore the sand. Children use their sense of touch to explore the sand as they play. You can give them multiple texture opportunities by adding a little water to the sand. This will not only help them to mold the sand but will also give them a different texture feel. When children get in a sandbox and play they are exploring the sand with their hands and their feet which is a great way for children to explore their world.

Children are also developing fine and gross motor skills as they play. Using a palmer and a pincer grasp as they manipulate the different toys and tools in the sandbox. You as the adult can help promote language with your child as they play. Talk about what they are doing and provide descriptions and texture words.

As they get older you can label colors, talk about concepts such as empty and full, lots of counting activities can be done. You can also work on shapes and letters. The sandbox is a great place to begin some of these pre-academic skills.

The sandbox is a wonderful place for a child to develop their social skills. Invite other children over for a play date or get older siblings involved. This will give your child a chance to interact socially with others and to also work on skills such as turn taking and sharing.

I have been wanting to add a sandbox to our backyard. Even for a child as young as ours she can still benefit from the many opportunities the sandbox can provide. She can practice hand eye coordination, pouring, scooping, and sitting on uneven surfaces and of course sensory integration. So I set out to find the perfect sandbox and was not happy with the selection I found. I looked at the traditional plastic turtle and crab. These were good options because they had a cover which is a must in the country. I have read all the scary articles about the nasty bacteria raccoons like to leave behind them in sand and our neighbors all have cats. We also have a little three legged dog that loves to find cool dirt and sand to lay in on hot summer days. This made a cover a must for our sandbox!! So I started looking online and found the perfect sandbox!! Unfortunately it was in the UK and the company would only ship within the UK. This is completely understandable consider the weight of a sandbox. So I printed the picture and took it to my on staff handyman and asked if he could make it. All it took was me asking nicely and of course a smile from his favorite daughter to get an instant yes. I think the challenge of building something new also helped. So here is our Sunday afternoon project, it turned out perfect!!

We started with a trip to our local Lowes to stock up on supplies. I have to give a shout out to Lowes for their support of our military families. We have lots of stores to choose from in our area but we always choose Lowes because they give military families a 10% discount. I know it’s not a lot but I think the fact that they support our troops is a big deal!!!

She is definitely her daddy’s girl, we let her investigate and explore the hinges that we were picking out. She takes after her mamma and picked silver, she might have had a little help.

We took our supplies and headed home. This is our stack of wood we also picked up lots and lots of sand. We bought play sand in case the kiddos playing in the sandbox decide to sample the sand.

Next we measured and cut the pieces to the length we wanted.

Built a frame

We put plastic under our sandbox to keep the grass from coming up. I poked holes in the plastic to allow for draining.

Next we put on the sides

And attached the hinges

We then tried out the sandbox without sand for fun. She loved the feel of the plastic and all the noises it made.

This is the first finished bench

We repeated the same steps for the second side. After the second side was complete we added the sand. Here are the girls trying it out.

This is what it looks like when it is closed

We added rope to the sides to make handles for easier opening and closing

Part of the reason I love this sandbox is because I like to be able to play in the sand but don’t really want to sit in the sand. Having my feet in the cool sand and still being able to paly is a great compromise. Watch for upcoming sand activities as we get hours of enjoyment from our new sandbox.

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