Kids and adults alike are fascinated with the sand. How often have you found yourself at the beach building castles with the whole family? There is just something magical about soft and warm sand. Backyard sandboxes can offer as much entertainment value as a trip to the beach.
While you can purchase all sorts of retail sandboxes, they can be quite expensive. Why not get your kids involved in making a sandbox that the whole family can enjoy? Allowing your children to work alongside you offers great teaching opportunities and makes fabulous memories. No matter how small, kids will enjoy just spending time with you and taking ownership in the project. Remember, kids grow up fast and time flies. Making it a priority to spend time together is invaluable for everyone.
Working With Kids
Before you begin your family project, assess your children’s ability to participate based on age. Never leave children unsupervised around tools or ask them to lift things that are too heavy. No one knows the capability of children better than their parents - just be sure that the job fits the age and ability of your kids before getting started.
Children Under Six - Children under the age of six can help plan out the sandbox on paper and also help you find the best location in the yard for the sandbox. Have your kids draw a picture of what their favorite sandbox will look like. Kids this age also love going with you to help you pick up the supplies and, while supervised, gather the tools.
Children Ages Six Through 10 - Children over six can help with a wide variety of tasks, from picking out the supplies to actually constructing the box. Be sure that you know your child’s ability and go over all of the safety precautions first before allowing them to operate any tools. Unless your child is very skilled and has had instruction, it is best to stick to hand tools only.
Children Older Than 10 - Most kids are ready for some power tool instruction by the time they are 10. Again, only you as the parent know your child’s maturity and skill level. If you think your child is ready, this is a good time to start to teach basic power tool operation skills. Always start and finish your instructional lesson with safety and have your child demonstrate to you that they know the safety rules. Stay close by when your child is operating any tools.
Here is a simple sandbox that you and your kids can construct in a weekend. Keep in mind that sandboxes don’t have to be elaborate - just a place to contain sand and a few built-in seats will do the trick. Here is a simple sandbox you can put together that won't break your bank or your back.
Step 1 - Pick and Prep Your Spot
Choose a suitable location for the sandbox. If you live in a really hot climate it is best to find a spot that offers some shade. Also, be sure that the location is level. Clear the area of any debris and mark out the footprint of the sandbox.
Dig out and level the area. You only have to go down an inch or two. Cut the landscape fabric to be slightly larger than the sandbox and set it on the ground in your prepared location.
Step 2 - Cut The Lumber
Cut two 4-foot pieces of 2x12. These are for the ends of the sandbox.
Cut two 3-foot, 10 1/2-inch pieces of 2x12. These are for the sides of the sandbox.
Cut four pieces of 4x4 to 11 1/4-inch lengths. These are the braces for the sandbox.
Cut four pieces of 3/4-inch plywood into triangles with sides measuring 15 inches. These are for the seats.
Step 3 - Assemble the Box
Put the sandbox together using three galvanized nails at each corner.
Use the 4-inch block to brace each side, creating a 90-degree angle. Use three nails on each side of the block to secure it. Attach the triangle pieces to the corners to form seats.
Set the sandbox on top of the fabric so the bottoms of the boards are slightly below the surrounding surface.
Step 4 - Add the Sand
Fill the sandbox with playground sand. Be sure to use playground sand only, as construction sand may have debris in it. Fill the sandbox with shovels, buckets and other sand-related toys. Hop in and start having fun with your kids.
Cover your sandbox with a tarp when not in use. This will keep debris, rain and animals out.