With the advent of modern technology, one may assume that children today need complex toys and devices to unlock their inner creativity. While it’s true that the kids are growing up in a technologically-driven era, that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy a bit of playtime outdoors. Imagine a big box or pit of sand full of simple tools that can keep your kids occupied for hours. Not only will this get their creative juices flowing, but it’ll also open up a whole new world of playtime for both you and your children.
But one thing most parents neglect when it comes to sandboxes is its maintenance. You may not know it, but sandboxes are full of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms that can harm your child’s health. Making sure it’s well-maintained can go a long way towards a fun and worry-free time for your entire family. Here’s how to maintain your children’s sandbox with these 5 tips.
- Replace the sand
The first step in maintaining a sandbox is to replace the sand. Over time, the sand gets soiled and accumulates plenty of dirt, grime, and other nasty stuff that gets buried underneath it. Ideally, the sand in outdoor pits should be replaced once or twice a year, though this will vary depending on how often your children play in the sandbox. We recommend using play sand over other types of sand because it’s cleaner and is less irritating to the skin. Always keep the sandbox as dry as possible to avoid the growth of mould and bacteria.
- Inspect the sandbox toys
Toys like shovels, pails, and other items for sandboxes are usually made from plastic and aren’t the most durable toys around. They last for only about a season or two before they start to chip or break. These broken parts can have sharp or pointed edges that can cause injuries like skin scrapes and eye pokes. Make it a habit to inspect the sandbox toys and remove any broken parts before allowing your children to play inside it. We found that rubber tools and toys are great alternatives because they’re softer and they don’t break into smaller pieces as plastic toys would.
- Check the sand for foreign materials
As the sandbox gets plenty of use over the spring and summer, you want to check the sand for foreign materials that may have found their way inside. Things like rocks, sticks, and other objects may end up buried beneath the play sand and turn into harmful debris. What’s even worse is that the sandbox toys might not survive an entire season due to increased wear and tear. Use a rake and scour through the play sand to see if there are any foreign objects stuck underneath. While you’re in the process of doing this, you can also replenish the play sand especially when the kids have actively shovelled them out of the sandbox.
- Invest in a sandbox cover
One way to preserve the condition of the sandbox is to invest in a high-quality sandbox cover. These covers protect the sandbox from accumulating debris like leaves, sticks, and rocks while also keeping insects from burrowing into the sand. Sandbox covers also protect the play sand from getting blown away by strong winds. If you own a cat, they may unintentionally use it as their toilet which is why you should always keep the sandbox covered when not in use.
Simple covers like tarps and plastics may do a good job initially, but they’re unlikely to last an entire season and can easily be dislodged by strong winds. You want to invest in a sandbox cover that fits your sandbox like a glove. Most often, these covers have waterproofing in them to keep rain and moisture away during wet weather.
- Keep food and drinks away from the play sand
While eating and drinking inside the sandbox may sound like a fun idea, it’s definitely a big no-no. Allowing any chance of leftovers and food scraps to fall on the sandbox increases the likelihood of insects and animals from getting in and turn it into an unhygienic mess. Like we’ve previously mentioned, any moisture that gets into the sand spells trouble which means no drinking of water while inside the sandbox. Enact a no-eating rule to your kids and have them enjoy all snacks outside of the sandbox.
Sandboxes are great for letting kids become completely absorbed in their imaginative worlds. That said, sandboxes require regular maintenance to ensure the health and safety of your children. These 5 maintenance tips will keep your sandbox in good condition and allow your kids to have a fun time playing inside of it.