Sandboxes are very popular during summer months. Children are naturally drawn to sandboxes where they can build roads, play with their friends, or just relax. As time goes by, children may abandon sandboxes if they lose interest in their content.
Here, you will find several simple and fun ideas to spontaneously add new life to your sandbox or to better organize it.
Hide a variety of objects in your sandbox and encourage children to dig them out using spoons. They will work hard at finding the items, right down to the very last one!
Certain insects like to hide in soil or under rocks where they seek protection and food. Purchase a large quantity of plastic insects and add them to your sandbox. Children will enjoy hiding them in the sand, collecting them, and playing with them in a variety of different ways.
Recycle margarine or yogurt containers. They are perfect for building tall sandcastles. Reserve one area of your sandbox to create an entire sandcastle kingdom. Who will build the highest sandcastle? Depending on the texture of your sand, you may have to add a small amount of water.
With your group, use sand to create a volcano in the centre of your sandbox. Pour 2 cups of vinegar in the centre of the volcano. Add one tablespoon of baking soda to create a volcanic effect. At the end of the activity, simply rake the sand to level it out.
Help children create a road circuit in your sandbox by digging and pressing the sand to build roads. Offer small cars and trucks. Children will love to drive them around their very own road circuit. They may even surprise you by creating bridges, tunnels, and other structures.
In the desert
Reptiles and snakes live in the desert. If you have a reptile bin, empty it in your sandbox. Children will like to reproduce a dry, arid environment for the reptiles.
Wild animals are often very popular among children. Most daycares have a bin filled with lions, giraffes, elephants, and other animals that often live in dry climates where sand is very present. Empty the contents of this bin in your sandbox. Children will love to play with the animals in the sandbox.
Pirate treasure hunt
In your backyard, organize a special pirate treasure hunt that will end in your sandbox. Children will have to dig to find the buried treasure (plastic coins).
Set a small picnic table in your sandbox (or nearby) and add plastic dishes and food items. This represents the perfect occasion to sort your plastic kitchen play items. Older items can be taken outside. Children will love to prepare sand-filled meals with them.
You most likely have a wide range of accessories designed for sandboxes (shovels, buckets, molds, sieves, etc.). Offer only one or two types of accessories at a time to help children rediscover them, explore them, and find different uses for them.
Don't forget mud!
Several early childhood educators dislike mud. It is messy, it sticks to clothing, it is difficult to clean... but children love it so much! Summer is a good time to let children explore mud. Have them wear their bathing suits and simply wash them off with a hose when they are done.
- Leave the hose in the sandbox for a few minutes before children begin playing in the sandbox.
- Let children play in the sandbox barefoot.
- If you prefer, downscale the quantity of mud and simply add water to small buckets filled with sand.
- Plan to introduce a "mud activity" on a Friday. The sand will have the entire weekend to dry out and you can even disinfect it before children return.
Have fun! The sandbox is always nearby and ready to be explored!
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