4 Steps to Sandbox Safety and Fun
Kids don't need costly, technologically complex toys and games in order to tap into their imaginative and creative capabilities. The only things needed to get kids' creative juices flowing are a few simple materials that can be found easily and for very little money. One popular example of this kind of toy is a sandbox. A big box or pit of sand and a few simple tools can keep kids occupied for hours.
Making sure that the sandbox stays in good shape, though, is essential to ensuring that it remains a safe and healthy place to play. Unfortunately, the backyard sandbox is frequently forgotten when it comes to play area maintenance. Here are four quick and easy tips for maintaining your backyard sandbox:
1. Change the sand.
Over time, the sand in outdoor sand pits or sandboxes gets soiled and should be completely replaced. As a general rule, replacing sand on a yearly basis is usually adequate, but more frequent changes might be needed depending on how often children play in the box and whether a sandbox cover is used on a regular basis. Play sand, rather than building sand, is the ideal choice for children's play areas because it is cleaner and free of materials, like clay, that can stain children's skin and clothing.
2. Examine sand toys.
Shovels, buckets, and other toys intended for sand play are not always the most sturdy tools. Consequently, they don't last very long. When sand toys or other tools used in the sandbox break, they can have sharp edges or pointy parts that can cause injuries. Before allowing kids to play in the sandbox this spring, take a moment to examine their sand toys. Discard any broken or worn out tools, and replace them with newer and stronger versions.
3. Inspect sand regularly.
Don't assume that the sandbox will remain in the same good condition through the spring and summer. Sharp sticks, rocks, and other debris find their way into play sand quite easily. Also, sand toys may not be able to survive an entire season of active play. Checking the sand at least every week allows you to discover and remove any potentially harmful debris and broken toys. You may also find it necessary to replenish play sand during these check-ups, especially if kids have spent any time shoveling it out of the box.
4. Cover the sandbox.
Sandbox covers are not used as widely or as frequently as they should be, but they are one of the fastest and easiest ways to maintain a safe and healthy sandbox. When used properly, sandbox covers stop excess debris, like leaves, sticks, and rocks, from getting into the sand and creating a potential danger to children. Sandbox covers also protect sand from blowing away in strong breezes, and they keep insects from burrowing and nesting in the sand. Most importantly, sandbox covers stop play sand from contamination by animals who are attracted to the sandbox as a bathroom.
The key to using sandbox covers successfully, of course, is to use them whenever the box is not being used. Use sandbox covers that fit your sandbox properly. Tarps and other makeshift covers can be easily damaged or removed by animals or strong winds, making them useless and unreliable.
All in all, maintaining the backyard sandbox is an easy task that doesn't require much time or many supplies. Keeping all play areas safe and healthy for your kids will give you peace of mind, and will provide your kids and their imaginations with hours of good, clean, simple fun.