Benefits of the Indoor Sand Box
(Aside from keeping kids entertained)
- It’s a giant sensory bin.
- It’s so easy to create a new activity by changing out the items.
- It provides fun ways to present learning activities (see our list below for ideas).
- It gives tactile input to sensory sensitive children. My daughter willingly tolerates the rough sand against her skin because she so enjoys setting up pretend play scenarios in the sand.
- Sensory-rich experiences create new pathways in the brain, which are also used for academic learning.
Ideas for Learning and Playing in the Ultimate Indoor Sandbox
There are so many ways to learn and play in sand, endless ideas, but here are a few really good ones to get inspired by.
- Learning about desert habitats from Blog Me Mom.
- Excavating dinosaur bones from Sunny Day Today Mama.
- Digging for dinosaurs and counting from Crystal’s Tiny Treasures.
- How sand dunes are formed from The Pleasantest Thing.
- Sandbox Smash game for learning to count here on Creekside Learning.
- Alphabet Treasure Hunt from Playdough to Plato.
- Geography Learning: Australian Outback here on Creekside Learning.
Sensory Play Ideas
- Small world beach play from The Fairy and The Frog over at Growing a Jeweled Rose.
- Animals, vehicles and more in the sand from Picklebums.
- Wonderful ideas for adding loose parts to sand play from Imagination Tree.
- Sand pit fairy garden from Nurture Store.
How to make an Indoor Sandbox
- Purchase an inflatable pool, available for less than $20 on Amazon (affiliate link): Swim Center Clearview Aquarium Pool
- Purchase four 50 pound bags of play sand at a local home improvement store, about $20.
- Blow up the pool, pour in the sand, add toys and have fun! Total spent = $40
I put a piece of duct tape over the drain plug in the bottom of the pool before filling it with sand, just to discourage curious fingers from opening it and letting sand go out onto the carpet.
A note about the sand…
I’ve purchased play sand that was wet in the past, because that’s all the store had and they kept their play sand in their outdoor garden department. This is a bit messier for indoors, but makes great sandcastles. And it does dry out eventually. Dry sand brushes off of clothing and skin easily and a quick run of the vacuum around the outside of the pool when I normally would vacuum has been all we needed. I don’t find that the dry sand is getting tracked around the house or onto the furniture.
Indoor vs. Outdoor sandboxes
We’ve had both and we prefer the indoor version because…
- You can play in it anytime, no matter what the weather.
- If you forget to cover your indoor sandbox, it won’t get full of rain or the neighbor’s cat’s poop. Note: if you have an indoor cat, you should probably cover your indoor sandbox when not in use.
Rules about the sand box in our house:
- No sharp objects.
- No inviting the dog into the sandbox. Her nails could puncture the pool.
- No throwing or dumping the sand out of the pool.