Let’s first face the why. Under normal circumstances you’d ask why would I want a sandbox in my house? Wouldn’t it be better to put it outside or just use the one at the park?
Of course those are the less messy choices but with all the rain and park closures with CoVid 19, an indoor box works well. And don’t forget that there is something about sand that mesmerizes a child. Sand creates curiosity because it is often unpredictable in what a child thinks it can do or not do.
Think about the last time your child was at a park or day care center that had sand. When you saw them playing in it, was it easy to get them to leave? How long did they stay there? What materials did they use? Maybe they stayed because they like watching how the truck wheels moved in the sand, or the way they would pour sand into a pail and every time they dumped it the sand somehow landed differently. Or, every time they poured from one container into another one the sand landed in ways that seem new. And for most kids the texture of the sand is soothing.
Or maybe you’ve seen the opposite. Your child walked away after 5 short minutes. Did you notice why? Perhaps there weren't enough toys, or there was something else that was more interesting.
Well if you set up sand with the right activities, or interest it can captivate their attention for a long time giving you the chance to do so many other things that are on your to do list. And not to mention playing with sand actually has some learning goals within it as well! Science and Math concepts are all about quantities, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Through the sand box, the child starts to learn how to compare the differences and utilizes a lot of trial and error. And as an adult, if you add on labeling some of what they do such as “This pail has more and that pail has less”, you will find that they’ll build some vocabulary as well.
So, if you’re ready to set up a sandbox in your house, here is a simple plan.
How to create an indoor Sandbox in 4 easy steps:
1. Buy three things: an under the bed container, a plastic shower curtain liner and a bag of paver sand. You might ask why not the type of sand called “play sand” and the biggest reason is play sand is way dustier! By using paver sand you can keep more sand on the ground and less in the air which means it won’t travel as much. Sand toys are optional. (See why in step 4)
2. Use the shower curtain as a drop cloth. Place it in a location of choice and teach your child the sand (and their toys) to stay there.
3. Place the bin in the center of the cloth and add the sand. Keep the lid somewhere nearby to use when it is time to clean up.
4. Find things around the house to use in the sand. Some plastic car door animals can make a lot of fun. Or save some empty containers such as applesauce or yogurt cups. Add a funnel, couple measuring cups or spoons or other interesting things and you’re done.
If you want to make the sandbox more interesting on a different day, try exchanging some of the objects inside for new objects. Or try adding a little bit of water to make it more sticky. Be careful not to get it too wet though if you want to move it because adding water makes it extra heavy and more messy to clean. If it gets too wet, just leave the lid off in a safe place (or in the sun) for a day or two.
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