Improving a Sand Pit | Day 24 – 30 Days to Transform Your Play

Improving a Sand Pit - 30 Days to Transform Your Play from An Everyday Story

30 Days to Transform Your PlayDay 24 | 30 Days to Transform Your Play

Time for a little play. Today we are talking about sand.

Improving a Sand Pit - 30 Days to Transform Your Play from An Everyday StoryI think sand can be a little like playdough; it’s a classic childhood experience and so we tend to have an idea about what kinds of play happens in the sandpit. Building sandcastles, making roads with construction vehicles, filling old muffin tins with pretend cupcakes…and as such we tend to provide our children with materials which fulfil those views of sand play.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of play however just like the plastic playdough tools, so too can plastic sandpit toys restrict our children’s creative expression and play.

We have a sandpit. A really lovely one; nice and deep but Jack and Sarah just didn’t play in there anymore. The sandpit had become neglected. I needed to make some changes.

Improving a Sand Pit

Switch cheap plastic sandpit toys for ones which promote open-ended exploration

Choose materials which inspire inventing, creating, discovering and experimenting. Most of our new materials are recyclables and junk materials from the tip shop:

  • pipes
  • buckets
  • planks of wood
  • long handled child-sized shovels
  • natural loose parts – rocks, pinecones, sticks, shells, pebbles

30  Days to Transform Your Play {An Everyday Story}Loose parts in the sandpit {An Everyday Story}Add some water

  • buckets
  • tubs
  • access to a hose

More sand

  • deeper sand meant more opportunity to dig, build, sculpt and play

Quality toys

  • animal figurines
  • gardening tools – shovels, forks
  • blocks
  • people figurines
  • fabric scraps and old silk scarves
  • kitchen utensils – wooden spoons, sieves, spatulas, cutlery, jugs, cups, pots and pans
  • watering cans

blocks in the sandpit {An Everyday Story} Chalkboard Blocks in the Sand Pit {An Everyday Story}Materials for clean-up

Sand inside really bugs me. Really! Now we have a small dustpan brush accessible for brushing off little hands and feet

The change in Jack and Sarah’s play has been incredible.

Now they play; they build and invent, they create elaborate play scenes, they build rushing rivers, they have parties with their dolls, they build tunnels and caves… they can play in there all morning. All because I replaced our old plastic and unappealing toys with flexible, open-ended materials.


  • Go through your sandpit toys and see how you could improve them by adding some open-ended materials
  • Provide access to water
  • Display some materials in the sand pit to invite your children to play
  • If you don’t have a sand pit, set up a large plastic container or old drawer as a sand tray. Include some small world materials (including natural materials) which will appeal to your child’s interests

Come and share your sandpit set-up photos on Facebook or on Instagram using #30daystyp

If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the series.

Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s posts on Racheous – Lovable Learning


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6 Replies to “Improving a Sand Pit | Day 24 – 30 Days to Transform Your Play”

  1. Baby powder (and corn starch I hear) get sand off kids really well!

  2. Lovely ideas thank you 🙂 would never have thought of fabric scraps! Are they blackboard blocks in the picture? I’ve recently moved to a rented house and just can’t afford (nor have the space for) a sand pit. At the moment I have an under bed plastic storage box on wheels that I’ve filled with sand and three metal containers which hang on the wall which I’ve filled with pebbles,shells and pine cones etc. At the moment he is enjoying planting so I’ve put a terracotta pot and trowel in there as we don’t have any plants left to plant at the moment! It isn’t ideal and I’d love a wooden sand pit he could sit in but at least it’s a start 😉

    (And we’re not too far from the beach for whole body sand exploration!)

  3. I really love reading your posts such great simple ideas that can easily be transferred.

    1. Thank you Justine. that is really lovely to hear.

  4. I love your blog, I own a home preschool program for 20+yrs now and I’m the founder of Plan It Preschool an online resource for childcare providers and preschool teachers-We love love our outside play and we incorporate loose parts in our sand box often and it’s so fun to watch our buddies start getting inspired with new imaginative ideas!! We put a large tree stump in the middle of our sand pit, and they sit on it, bake on it, build on it, heap piles of sand on it. no limit to their imagination!

    Thank you for the fun inspirational ideas!

  5. Love reading your post they are so inspiring !! But this one was spot on as I had to rethink our sand pit too (several times) and I lately even added a gravel pit for more play. Maybe you could have a quick look at Thank so much for sharing all your ideas to all of us on the blogosphere.

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