Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mini Sand Boxes for Indoor Play

Mini Sand BoxesIf you missed me whining last week we were stuck in a nasty cold snap that started well before Christmas and lasted until a week ago. We were enjoying a hardy 20 below and were really starting to complain until things swung the other way and warmed up last Wednesday to nearly 50 degrees. As in 50 degrees above zero.

A seventy degree swing and suddenly the warm southern winds picked up (they're called the Chinook winds) and everything was a soupy, melty mess with highways thick with ice and topped with a couple inches of water to boot so that they canceled school Wednesday due to the 50-70 mph winds and icy roads. Things didn't get much better so they canceled school Thursday and Friday.

If you're not following this boring lecture on our weather the point is that I had my kids home from Wednesday through Monday (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) for a total of six days proving once again that I am completely unfit to homeschool my children.

Mini Sand BoxesIn desperation I glued together some wood scraps to make a little 12-inch square box, painted it and filled it with wheat to make a small indoor sand box for the kids. As an extra feature I glued a square of felt to the bottom of the box so it wouldn't scrape up the counter.

I should also mention that you could use all sorts of things to fill the box including pretty colored sand (available at craft stores or pet shops), beans, rice or even tiny colored aquarium rocks depending on how easygoing you are with the potential sloppage that might occur. Lots of possibilities here folks.

They used their space creatures in it and called it a moonscape, they buried treasure and played pirates, they used cowboys and sunk them in the "quick sand," they dug up dinosaurs for a little paleontology and used their cars and bulldozers for a construction zone.

Normally tiny kernels of wheat all over the house would terrify me but it just goes to show how desperate I was getting. And the idea was a gem--they played quietly for several hours nonstop, enough for me to actually write this post and answer some emails.

Sponsored by: Beau-Coup--Fine and unique baby shower favors.

Technorati tags: crafts, motherhood, play

32 comments:

Tim Appleton (Applehead) said...

"completely unfit to homeschool?" sounds like you did just fine :)

Jolanthe @ No Ordinary Moments said...

Oooo...wheat. And me with 50 pounds bags of it here. I'm sure I could spare some, eh?

And I suppose I don't need to worry about them making a mess since I spilled a good 5-10 pounds of it myself last week. :)

I really need to branch out and allow more time for messes. And just take deep breaths. I know the kids would love it.

Heather said...

Our school was called off Thursday and Friday, so we had 6 days off with MLK day and a teacher in-service yesterday. I'm ready to go back to work today.

This is a great idea. I'll try it next month when we have a 4-day weekend lined up. I can see my boys having a BLAST with this! Thanks!

Mom24 said...

That's a terrific idea. Our local toy store sells something very similar for $25. I like yours better. :-)

Amy said...

We use a tub of popcorn that I drag up when things get rough. The 50 pound bags are a little over $10. Part goes towards the popcorn eating and part goes towards the "sandbox." Such great ideas!

calicobebop said...

Excellent idea! Another craft to add to the aresnal of child-occupation-tools-that-save-my-sanity!

SarahHub said...

My daughter has a sweater box full of dried lentils. She would play in it all day if I let her!

JENNIFER said...

whew...I understand the " not fit to homeschool" feeling :)

carol at A Second Cup said...

We used to do something similar using rice instead of wheat. Anything to remain sane during the coldest months.

Diane said...

Oh, you're so much better than me.
Constructing a box and putting felt on the bottom and stuff while you are ready to pull your hair out.
I wouldn't have had the patience and would have let them dump the wheat in some bowls with measuring cups (and then thrown in some play dough when they got bored...I love play doh)

Neas Nuttiness said...

Great Idea. I'm going to try this when my grand children come to visit!

pandorican said...

That's actually an awesome idea, thanks.

Jenn said...

Great idea! My son would love this.

Thanks

Jenn

Sage said...

brilliant idea and resuable as well in many shapes formas and ideas.

Steph at The Red Clay Diaries said...

Love it. I've heard you can use rice w some food coloring and make it all pretty.

"Unfit to Homeschool at Any Speed": That's me.

;)

Heather said...

We do something similar, but I just use a plastic tote box instead of being all fancy!

Kim said...

Oh, how I feel your pain! We had 2 moose camping out in our backyard, so my girls couldn't even go outside and play!

Love your sand box idea--we've got some of that "moon sand" that is so versatile, and it would work great, but I think the wheat would sweep up even easier.

Flea said...

What an awesome idea! You rock! I'd have had to use popcorn kernels or rice. That's great!

Lisa Wheeler Milton said...

I've got to put this to use at my place. I remember the kids loving stuff like this at church and preschool.

Excellent.

(Hope it warms up. Good grief.)

Twinsmom said...

Gee, my kids had a 6-day weekend too! I was happy to have them go back, but they thought it was quite unfair to have to return to school on their birthday! Anyhow, we tried the miniature indoor sandbox a few years ago, using an under-the-bed box and play sand. DD loved it. So did the cats. We no longer have an indoor sandbox.

chelle said...

we had a bean box for the longest time. It was perfect for those boring days that everyone was getting batty.

I so need to pull that out again!

My Diary said...

Wow that is so amazing. I wish I had the energy to do something fun like that. You are really a great mother.

Rachel@oneprettything.com said...

This is FABULOUS! It really brings back memories too, my mom did this for us with an indoor kiddie pool. So much fun! Thanks for the idea, I'll be linking.

Carrie said...

My mom used to put down a sheet & let us play with popcorn kept in a gallon ice crem bucket. We loved it! :)

Melissa said...

I, too, need to allow my kids to make messes more. I know I get uptight about stuff like that.

If you aren't into making your own box, we have used a plastic storage bin for an indoor moonsand box. It is shallow, but long and kind of wide, like an underbed stoarge box.

Thanks for the ideas of other things to put in the box. When I get frustrated, my brain shuts down and I can't think of stuff like that. Thanks for the help!

MommyTime said...

A. It's a brilliant idea.
B. I would normally lose my bananas over wheat everywhere, but after six days of non-stop unfitness to homeschool here too, I would be fine with it.
C. If ONLY I actually had wheat at home. How is it that you not only are super-crafty, but you also have supplies the rest of us can only dream of?

Michelle said...

Oh what a great idea that is.she does love them at pre-school.just like pp have said I need to allow messes..

melinda said...

as a kid, i lived in alaska, too. i know well the stir-crazy dominio effect.. GREAT job mommy in quelling the bordem. i will try that too, here, in haven't-seen-any-snow-alll-winter, va! (pout, pout)
thanks for the idea :)

AnitaFoxx said...

You are very creative.

Christine said...

I love the idea of using wheat...something that is actually good for them if they eat it (and my little one will). Thanks!

rebecca said...

Just discovered your blog, LOVE it!

We have a "bean box" at our house and it is a life-saver. FYI, experiences like these provide our children with opportunities to explore, experiment, observe and manipulate. These are all skills we want our budding scientists and mathematicians developing now! That being said, I'd say you're pretty darn fit!!!

karen m. said...

Oh, this sounds like a wonderful idea! I always like those desktop sandbox sets at toystores but wouldn't spend $25 for one. We can make our own now! I just peeked through a couple of your older posts, and your blog's great! Thanks for the laughs about everything from Monchichis to maggot infestations.