She was a tad late, but spring is finally in full swing down in Charleston, and we are taking advantage of every opportunity to enjoy it outdoors. The sandbox has become a favorite hangout for my daughter, and I've learned a few tricks to make our sandy experiences a bit more enjoyable. Keeping three simple items nearby is the key to smart sand play.
The water hose is something we don't often think of when playing in the sand. That handy lid that comes on the sandbox does such a great job of keeping out moisture that it seems counter-intuitive to add water. But as we also prefer the damp sand at the beach, we've learned that giving the sandbox a good spray with the hose once in a while makes it easier to digs holes, build castles, and make those beloved sand cakes.
Cinnamon is a great bug repellent, so we took the advice of some friends and added some to the sand. Two small bottles of the powdered stuff mixed well into the sand, and we really have been bug free. And in an unexpected bonus, the sandbox smells fantastic. The cinnamon does, however, stick to wet skin and get stuck under little fingernails a bit more easily than I'd like. We're thinking of maybe trying an essential oil like lemongrass next summer, but for now we'll take cinnamon-y skin over ant bites any day.
Baby powder is a magical sand remover. We sprinkle it onto sandy body parts and brush it off with our hands to keep from carrying the sand into the house. And since our sand is damp, it also helps dry off wet hands and feet before heading inside.
Whatever your tricks are for playing in the sandbox, the key is to get out there and enjoy it now! Once summer rolls in and the heat—and mosquitoes!—take over, we'll likely be finding other ways to enjoy the outdoors.
Readers, I'd love to hear what other tips you have for smarter sand play.
(Image: Lauren Pavao)