The sandbox reigns supreme in the world of outdoor play items for kids. Options for a backyard sandbox range from recycled materials to customized wooden boxes. The size of the space available and the project budget dictate the selection process. Other considerations include the size of box needed to accommodate the kids and toys, as well as the durability of the sandbox.
A used tractor tire provides a simple sandbox option for a backyard. The tire is placed flat on the ground to create the circumference of the play area. The sand fills the inside of the tractor tire, leaving a few inches at the top. The sides of the tire work well as seating for the kids while they play in the sandbox. This option allows for easy set up and removal of the sandbox once the kids outgrow it.
A homemade wooden sandbox allows for customization on the size and additional features. After the area for the sandbox is marked, remove grass and dirt, allowing the bottom of the sandbox to rest just below the surface of teh ground to provide additional support for the sides. Use pieces of lumber for the sides of the sandbox, at the height being you prefer. Wooden benches can be added as seating along the sides, or attach a board across a corner of the box. An attached toy box with a lid provides a storage space for sand toys. Cinder blocks or landscaping timbers offer alternatives to lumber for creating the walls of the sandbox.
Plastic sandboxes produced commercially come in a variety of shapes. These sandboxes simply need to be filled with sand and the kids are ready to play. They can be placed either in the lawn or on a patio. Most commercially produced sandboxes come with a lid to protect the sand. A less expensive option for a plastic sandbox is to use a hard plastic kiddie pool. While not as durable as other options, the lower price helps when price is a concern.
A sand table is basically a plastic sandbox on legs. It has a compartment that accommodates the sand and allows the kids to stand around it. Many sand tables also hold a compartment for water, allowing for more play options. Sand tables are smaller than a traditional sandbox and can rest on a patio or deck. This prevents damage to the lawn and saves on space if the backyard is small. Sand tables also work well inside, providing a year-round option.
Covers for an outdoor sandbox protect the sand from many elements. Covering the box keeps the sand clean and free of leaves or other natural items that may fall inside it. Neighborhood cats won't be able to use your sandbox as a giant litter box. A solid cover keeps rain and other sources of moisture from the sand. A plastic tarp offers an inexpensive option but may not last long, particularly in bad weather. A piece of plywood cut to size provides a more durable sandbox cover, although kids will have difficulty lifting it without help. Chicken wire or lattice will keep animals and large debris out of the box, but small debris and rain will still get into the sand with this option.
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