When it comes to sensory play, sand has to be the #1 choice of both my preschooler and my very young toddler. Most kids love to play in the sand! And whether you choose a more temporary version or create a permanent fixture, it’s really not that difficult to add a dedicated sand play space to your backyard.
The wooden sandpit we built in our backyard is almost three years old now and it gets used virtually every day. It is holding up really well, requiring only minimal maintenance such as removing grass runners that sneak through between the logs, raking out a few leaves and turning over the sand regularly. Based on our experience, if you are considering adding a permanent sandpit or sand box to your yard, I would suggest you first consider;
- Choosing the location carefully: Make sure your preferred area is level and consider the amount of sun it receives each day (it’s a delicate balance between being shaded for sun protection of delicate young skin and not receiving enough sun to keep the sand reasonably dry). Avoid areas overhung by lots of large trees that are likely to drop leaves directly into your lovely, white sand.
- Prior to filling with sand, line your sandpit with gravel for drainage and landscaping weed mat or shade cloth (not plastic) to keep the grass, weeds, worms and (many of the) bugs out.
- If you are concerned about the sand ending up indoors, site your sandpit a little further away from the house and keep a small hand broom by the back door for brushing sand off before heading indoors. Because she does play in the sand so regularly, Immy is really good at remembering to brush the sand off before she comes indoors.
Of course, if unlike us you do not happen to have trees that need removing in your own backyard, there are a many different options for creating a border for your sandpit…
The sandpit in Sharon’s Garden (left) features a timber edging like those available through large hardware stores, garden nurseries or landscape suppliers. Making the most of a small outdoor space, Eiya’s sand area is surrounded by eucalyptus stumps collected by her Grandpa.
Keeping with the timber theme but much less demanding when it comes to the DIY side of things are Little Eco Footprints’ sand tub in a wine barrel and a commercially produced sand box such as the one on the right, featured at The Imagination Tree.
If brick or stone is a better fit for your landscape, be sure to check out Rebekah’s semi-permanent sandbox solution at the Golden Gleam and the stone edged sandpits that form part of a magical dry creek bed play area at Fun at Home with Kids.
If space is most definitely not an issue and you are lucky enough to have local access to large boulders then this wonderful sandpit from Mummy Musings and Mayhem is sure to inspire. This surely must be the Rolls Royce of sand play areas!
Finally, you’ll find ideas aplenty for extending the imaginative and creative play potential of your sandpit in this post at Happy Hooligans (which also includes some very clever storage suggestions for sand play loose parts).
Do you have a dedicated sand play area in your backyard?
- Our Favourite Outdoor ‘Un-Toys’
- Making Space for Outdoor Play When Space is Tight
- 7 Steps to Creating an Outdoor Space Kids Will Love
- 7 Tips for Making Outdoor Time a Habit