Sunday, October 24, 2010

Indoor Sandboxes

Not wanting to say goodbye to autumn too soon, we spent the afternoon participating in one last muddy-booted, pumpkin-dotted, farm-scented, outdoor activity. And what an adventure it was! Friends invited us to join them on a trip to the corn maze – a family activity I’d highly recommend if you still have a chance this season. Initially we thought we’d forgo the maze in favour of the other little attractions – the petting zoo, mini hay bale maze, and wagon rides to the pumpkin patch. But we did venture briefly into the maze, and our little ones loved it. Tons of mud, fresh air, and wide open spaces for running around – and two nap-skipping toddlers were as happy as piggies in a cornfield.
One activity at the corn maze – a sandbox filled with dried corn (see dusty but delighted toddlers in picture, attached), reminded me of a great indoor activity that we’ll be setting up in our house as the weather turns dreary…An indoor “sand” box! Sounds messy (and truth be told, it will be, at least a little), but it’s not nearly the disaster you might think it will be. And this is one activity that is guaranteed to keep your kids happily occupied as the changing season means more time spent indoors. 
Choose a large but shallow plastic container (i.e. an “under-the-bed” type plastic storage bin) to use as your sandbox. Then clean up your child’s outdoor plastic swimming pool and bring it inside. Fill the shallow plastic bin with uncooked (okay, that should go without saying, but you never know!) rice, then place the bin in the middle of the pool. Have your child sit in the pool and play in the rice like a sandbox, using either a clean set of sandbox toys or an assortment of plastic bowls and spoons for scooping and digging in the “sand”. The pool will catch most of the rice that spills out of the “sandbox”, making cleanup a lot easier. Helpful Hint: At least some rice will likely end up spilling out of the pool, so try setting the pool up on a floor space that is easy to sweep.
Small Space Twist – If you don’t have room for a full-size “sandbox” in your home, you don’t have to miss out on the fun! Give your child a small bin of rice to dig and scoop in while sitting at a table. To save yourself a bit of clean-up, try the No Stress Mess strategy.
Other Sandbox Fillers – Instead of rice, cornmeal, dried beans, or dried lentils are other fun options.
This is a fabulous play activity to promote sensory exploration, fine motor and cognitive development. And as you sit and play together with your child, opportunities for language learning and imaginative play will abound. Happy digging!

No comments:

Post a Comment