Whether you’ve got a new sandbox for the kids or your sandbox has been neglected, you can turn it into a fun play area with some easy games for kids of all ages. All you need is a few minutes of preparation and willing children.
The games can be played in any kind of sandbox, whether it’s a stand-up sand table or a sandbox that children sit in. Therefore, you can even create your own, makeshift sandbox from a plastic storage tub or old wading pool. You can pick up some relatively inexpensive bags of sand at Toys R Us or hardware stores.
You’ll want to gather the following items if you want to do all three activities with the kids:
posterboard or cardboard
a digital camera, or markers to draw with
plastic toy food (optional. Sets available at Family Dollar, Dollar General and Toys R Us)
Equally-sized plastic cups; one for each child
plastic funnels (optional)
paint brushes or spray bottles
Once you have the needed supplies, you’re ready to set up some fun sandbox games for kids. Click through the list for instructions for play.
Digging for Dinner
To play this game, you’ll need to make several “recipe” cards. Each card should contain 5 digital photos of toy food or hand-drawn food items, and each card should contain different items. Be careful not to duplicate any ingredient unless you have more than one toy food replica of that item.
Next, hide the toy food under the sand. Once the food is hidden, give each child a recipe card with instructions to find their ingredients. When you give the command, the kids can start digging, trying to uncover their ingredients, without accidentally giving away ingredients to their opponent. If an opponent’s item is uncovered and goes unnoticed, children can re-bury them and continue to look for their own. The first person who is able to complete their dinner wins the game.
If you don’t own toy food, you can also hide laminated cards with pictures of the food items. Make your own with posterboard and markers; then cover the posterboard with several layers of clear tape to make it sturdy.
Playing in sand
Spoonfuls of silliness
For this game, give each child a spoon, several plastic cups, or multiples of any container as long as each child has the same number and size of receptacles. Instruct each child to see how many cups they can fill with sand, using the spoon, before a timer goes off. To make it harder require that all sand must be put through a funnel into the cup. For even more skilled, older kids, you can require that they dump the sand through a straw. Just be sure that the end of the straw points out and away from the cup, so that any sand spilling over the straw doesn’t land in the cup and give them an advantage.
In this activity, children can use molds, buckets or just their own imaginations to create any type of sandcastle or structure they want. Then, for added fun, turn their creations into a work of art by painting the sand!
You’ll need to mix your sandcastle paint by combining 3 to 4 tablespoons of cornstarch for every cup of water. Add enough food coloring so that the colors show up brightly. As long as your mixture is thin enough, you can use it in a spray bottle. Otherwise, you can mix it in small cups or bowls and use a very gentle paintbrush stroke to color your creations.
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