Make your own indoor sandbox to combat the dreary weather blues

March 19 | Guest post by Sarabeth
Photos by Sarabeth.

My nineteen-month-old children can't actually say that they're bored yet, but it's pretty easy to tell when they are. This week the city of Toronto has been a giant slushy and the minions haven't made it outside much: at daycare or at home. Even prison inmates get yard time, and after more than a day without outdoor play, someone's going to get shanked in their cell… err, crib.

For my fellow math nerds, I've created a handy dandy formula to calculate the percentage of boredom and frustration experienced on rainy/snowy/cold days:

(Number of Temper Tantrums in a 3 hour period X 3) + the number of children in your house sick or teething + (Number of fights over toys X 4) + (Incidents of hitting each other, you, anything breakable, or a pet X 5) + (the number of days housebound X 10) / The number of aspirin or drinks you have consumed

This is how the formula worked out for me last night: (9 X 3) + 2 + (5 X 4) + (6 X 5) + (2 X 20)/ 1. That's a total of 119% boredom/frustration. So clearly, either my formula is flawed, or I need to start drinking more.

Tonight, after another day of sleet, I decided that I'd find an activity to bring a little bit of summer into an otherwise crummy winter day. I did some on line research to look for some activities that were appropriate for toddlers and came across the Indoor Sandbox at Family Education.

What you need:

  • A large cardboard box, baby bathtub or other shallow large volume container (I cut down a diaper box to make mine)
  • Sand (you can use uncooked rice, rice cereal, bird seed, cedar chips, shredded newspaper, puffed wheat or even real sand or potting soil) — I used half a bag of rolled oats
  • Spoons, funnels, scoops cups, toy cars and things to play with in the Sand Box
  • A sheet or tarp to put on the floor to help with clean up

How you do it

It took me around five minutes to set everything up — including cutting the box top down to a sandbox appropriate level, and another five minutes to clean up everything. In fact, I even repacked and labelled the oats to use again (we'll see how disgusting they get before I throw them out!). The activity was exactly what we needed — I got over 30 minutes to myself to make dinner and tidy the kitchen, and my kids had over 30 minutes to bliss out in the sandbox.

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  1. Winter this year has sucked. I have an 8 month old and live in Sudbury- for Jan/Feb it was -20 pretty much every day. BRING ON SPRING.

  2. You can also use white flour—it's great for pretending that it snowed! My brother and I spent hours having matchbox cars deal with the snow emergency. My mother kept this flour in a canister (labelled 'play flour') and we'd spread it out on a small table in the kitchen.

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