The weather has gotten warmer, so it’s time to get into the sandbox.
For this post, I’ve used a container instead of a traditional, full-sized sandbox, which lengthens the season during which the sandbox can be used. In addition, you can use it in different locations. Carry the container to a covered porch or garage on a rainy day or use it inside when the weather is cold. I also chose colored sand for our makeshift sandbox; it’s available at big box stores and LOVED by kids. These smaller sandboxes are also great for smaller houses or apartments that might not have room for a traditional sandbox.
Sandbox Items Found at the Dollar Store
Here are 10 items we found at the dollar store to use in the sandbox:
- Paintbrush – My son likes smoothing out the sand with the paintbrush, as well as making roads for the cars and trucks. Also, it’s a nice tool to practice writing letters and numbers in the sand.
- Measuring cups – My daughter likes to fill these up and dump them out over and over, and I like using the real measurements with her. (For example, if we call them the 1/2 cup, ¼, etc., I feel she is gaining an understanding of what these actual measurements look and feel like and hope she will be able to transfer that knowledge to other areas later.)
- Imitation gems – The dollar store generally has lots of different colors, shapes, and sizes. My kids enjoyed “hiding” them from their sibling and then having them find them later.
- Mini dustpan and brush – Brushing sand into the dustpan is great practice for developing motor skills, but it’s also handy for cleaning up sand that ends up outside the “box.”
- Kitchen strainer or serving spoon – This can be used as a sifter in the sandbox and as a tool to find the gems. They are also great for moving sand or just watching the sand fall through the holes.
- Mini watering can – The sand will fall out of the can as it is poured, but it is also great if you choose to add a little water to your sandbox.
- Pie pans – My children used these to make pretend blueberry pies, mud pies, etc.
- Kitchen spatulas – These are fun for stirring the sand around and around.
- Paint holder – These worked nicely for moving large amounts of sand because of the nice handle. (You can see a red one pictured in the photo at the top of this post.)
- Cars, trucks, tanks – The dollar store is a great place to get toy vehicles for the sandbox. Ours stay in the sandbox for use only in this location. This makes them novel when the sandbox is out and keeps the sand from being relocated to the house.
Now, while your kids are playing, be sure to join them. Here are 3 questions you can ask your child as they play:
- What are you making?
- Where did you come up with that great idea?
- How can we play together?
There are also lots of free things around your house that work well in the sand, too. Any container recently recycled after being cleaned out, paper towel rolls, plastic silverware, plastic cups, or old plastic containers without lids all can be used for sand play. You can easily and inexpensively round up an afternoon of fun in the sandbox.