Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sand in a Box (Literally)

Hooray for this blog post by my Shop @ The Learning Basket partner, Sanne! 
Her tips on making your own sandbox are practical and very doable!


The dream to build a sandbox for the Little Energizer Bunny began on her first trip to the beach at age one.  It was a pleasant surprise to see her enjoying the cool, white sand.  The serious hunt for a sandbox, however,  began a few months ago after our fun play date with Little T and Baby Boy.  

The challenge was to build a sandbox that was low-maintenance (hello, kitty litter!) and townhouse-friendly. Impossible? Not at all!

What You Need

1.     A bin – Any closed bin would do, just keep in mind how many kids you have and what types of activities they enjoy.  I found this bin and knew I had a winner. 

It is big enough for two kids to play together and portable enough to bring to lolo and lola's house.  It has a cover, making clean-up as easy as 1-2-3.  If you have bigger kids who actually want to be IN the sandbox, I saw a similar bin used by panaderos (bakers) to transport their pastries that would be perfect for that kind of play.

2.     Sand (of course!) - We bought ours at a local garden shop for P25/ki.  For this kind of bin, you need at least three kilos of sand. 

            And, as the Little Energizer Bunny would say, that's it!

Sand Play

It is no surprise that sand is almost always present in schools and playgrounds.  There are tons of things you can do with your sand bin! 

1.     Creative sensorial play – I am constantly amazed at what the Little Energizer Bunny comes up with when I just let her be during playtime.  The first time she played with her sandbox, she just asked for a plastic spoon and dug and moulded her heart away for about an hour! While playing, I also introduced the concept of textures and talked about the sand being rough, and the spoon being smooth.

2.     I Spy – I hide an object and let my child dig for it.  This is good for object permanence and gross motor skills.  I put it up a notch higher by hiding plastic/foam letters and numbers for letter and number recognition, a pre-reading and pre-math skill.  We also use our sand box like a magic slate as we practiced writing lines and letters and drawing shapes.

3.      Dramatic/Pretend play – We act out stories that we have read before for better comprehension.  We made tracks with a twig like Peter in “TheSnowy Day” and put “sand on my hand” like Jesse Bear (“Jesse Bear, What WillYou Wear?).  The favorite, though, is cooking “sinigang” (sour soup) sand for mommy and daddy.

Pack-away This-away

With a covered bin, cleaning up is as easy as, well, covering the bin.   You can even let your child help pack away, a good practical skill.  And if you have a child like mine who's a “toy butterfly”, you can just chuck the sand for another time and fill up your bin with another fun sensory material (homemade slime, anyone?).

Have fun!
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TrulyRichMom/TeacherMamaTina said...

Yipeee! More inspired for our sandbox now! :D Hurray!

rrunson said...

hi Rheea!  i would check food service companies such as Alatone (  the one i saw was big enough for maybe 2 toddlers.  i don't think they have covers though. 

we just soaked the sand a bit to make it easier to mold and let it dry out in the sun. you probably need a huge makeshift screen/strainer to remove the water if you want the sand really wet.

Rheea said...

Oh, I was just thinking about this! I wanted a flat plastic storage box so they could be in it (my kids, I mean) but the ones I've seen are too short. I haven't seen the panaderos' bins. How big are those, and would you know where to get them? And another question--how do you drain the water (if you allow water to be added to your sand--better for sandcastles!)?