Spring was upon us so I started researching ideas for an outdoor playspace. We live in the woods, so there is already a lot for a toddler to play and stay busy with, but I really wanted to have a section of our yard to be a safe area for my son and his friends, cousins, and God-willing, future sibling(s) to play in. I decided the first thing we needed was some sort of sandy area for him to dig in. For the time being, we had a bucket full of sand collected from our creek that he enjoyed, but it was limited enjoyment. I also wanted his play area to blend in with the natural landscape, and not be an eyesore. So, we decided to build our own sandpit using rocks we found around the property as the boundary.
I started by making an outline between two trees, near our hammock, where I envisioned the sandpit. Matt thought it was too big, but I reminded him that it won’t always just be one child playing, and it would be nice for them not to have to play on top of one another. Once the outline was set, we began to dig up the ground to make it level and deep enough for sand to not overflow into the yard.
Once we had it dug up, Matt found some landscaping cloth and garden staples at Home Depot, that we adhered to the pit before placing any rocks in it. This ensured we wouldn’t lose our sand into the dirt over time. We then searched for and collected rocks of various sizes that we could manage on our own without a machine other than our 4-wheeler and trailer. We made a large pile, and began outlining our pit with the rocks. Matt started by putting the largest ones in the back, which was also the deeper area. Once the rocks got small enough for me to manage, I finished the front half.
I used leftover fill to back-fill around the rocks, and then cut open each bag of sand to dump into the pit. Of course, we had to go to two different Home Depots to get enough 50lb. bags of play sand, and of course they were by two different companies, therefore two different colors and consistencies. I was really bummed about it, so I tried to mix it up since I much preferred the look of the white sand over the orange-ish sand. As I emptied the bags into the pit, my son stood by the edge and began to throw rocks, acorn tops, and sticks into the sand. I told myself that the sand pit would never be “neat” and I had to get over it right then and there. We bought 40 bags, but I chose not to use the last 4 to save some money, so 36 in total!
After crushing one finger between two rocks and cutting my finger with the razor blade while opening the sand bags, the sand pit was finally ready to be played in! So, as L stepped onto the sand and realized it was not rock solid ground, he immediately wanted my help getting back out. This past winter he also refused to walk in the snow. While on vacation to the beach in the middle of this project, we learned he also strongly dislikes walking in sand. I am very hopeful he will soon get over his dislike for walking on unsolid ground, and actually use the beautiful sandpit we put so much time, sweat, pain, and love into creating for him. I suppose for now he can just throw random objects into it. Whatever makes your heart content, Big Guy. It’s all for you (and I suppose the chickens too)!