34 answers

Alternate Idea for Sandbox

Hi all,
I am trying to come up with an alternative to using sand in our sand table. I can't stand the mess, but it is my kids favortie activity so I don't want to get rid of it. The sand table is outside and open most of the time, so it will have to be something that can get wet. Any creative ideas you have I would appreciate!!!

2 moms found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Hi, M.. I use beans, rice, noodles, popcorn, and those syrofoam peanuts that are used for packing. Some of the peanuts disappear in water which is really fun to watch. Since it is getting warm, water is a great replacement for sand. Color it different colors and add water toys and sponges. Sand tables are great for all kinds of sensory activities. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

M.,
We used small gravel the kids could still shovel and dig but we didn't have the mess of cats and it doesn't stick to their little bodies when sweaty. The gravel is also good in all weather. Oh, you can also put in a few bags of fish aquarium gravel and that makes it pretty and sometimes shinny. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

my mom has been the director of several daycare centers. And she has always used rice. But that was an inside activity. Another option for outside could be gravel????

More Answers

Hi, M.. I use beans, rice, noodles, popcorn, and those syrofoam peanuts that are used for packing. Some of the peanuts disappear in water which is really fun to watch. Since it is getting warm, water is a great replacement for sand. Color it different colors and add water toys and sponges. Sand tables are great for all kinds of sensory activities. Have fun!

1 mom found this helpful

M.,
We used small gravel the kids could still shovel and dig but we didn't have the mess of cats and it doesn't stick to their little bodies when sweaty. The gravel is also good in all weather. Oh, you can also put in a few bags of fish aquarium gravel and that makes it pretty and sometimes shinny. Good luck

1 mom found this helpful

When I worked daycare we always used rice, pasta, beans, and things like that in our sand table however most of those you probably don't want sitting in water. When the weather gets warmer you could put ice or water in there. The only other thing I can come up with is try some of the local stores or factories. I used to get these scrap plastic pellets from a teacher recycle center back in Indiana and they were fun to scoop and also worked great for art projects. Good luck

M.-
There is a country park not far from us that uses corn, I have also seen small smooth rocks (like you find at some school playgrounds) and also beans (parents as teachers does this alot). Hope this gives you some better ideas, I know!! I hate the sand toooooo.
T.

M.- About 3 years ago I had the same idea because I was tired of cats coming into our yard and the sand staining clothes. I put pea gravel in the sandbox, and what a mistake that was! It has been three years and I still am digging the gravel out of our deck boards. It also got into the yard and messed up the lawn mower. So if you do use pea gravel, I would be sure to "use with caution". Just my two cents. Since then, I have gone back to the sand, but I use the white sand. (It can be hard to find so call around because it sells fast.) It does not stain clothes and I also moved our sandbox far away from our house. I try hard to install the "sand stays in the sandbox rule". Then again I was doing laundry this morning and unfloded some of my daughters pants to find sand pouring out, ugh! The good news is, they still love to play in the sandbox at 3 1/2 and 5 1/2 years old. Good luck!

I have no alternate ideas unfortunately...but I wanted to see if others did. I don't know how to see your advice w/o sending a message! I am so with you. I HATE sand!

M.,
We had a sand table but filled it with tiny pebbles instead. I think my husband got them from home depot or the grass pad. They work GREAT and don't make a mess. The only thing I can suggest is to somehow rinse them off first. They were pretty dirty initially.

M.,
we have an indoor sandbox (it is a plastic tub about 6 inches deep and long) that is filled with pinto beans. i don't know how the beans would survive outdoors if they got wet, but maybe you could put some sort of plywood cover on top that you could just pull on and off or a tarp.
other suggestions would be rice or little stones. the other option would just be to fill it with water over the summer and just use it as a water table.
E.

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