Mama's Heat Avoidance Activity #2

Living on an island ringed with beaches, you might not think there was need for an indoor sandbox. Or maybe, living with a two-year-old struggling for independence in every decision he makes, you might not think an indoor sandbox was such a great idea.

But we have learned that there actually is such a thing as “too hot for the beach,” and we have also learned that an occupied two-year-old is a happy two-year-old.

We actually put this together last spring, when he was in the thick of these struggles for independence, and was desperately in need of distraction. But it's easier at this house, where there is a defined room and space for it, and so far, it has created very little mess.

We just have two rules, which Finn knows and can recite whenever we take off the cover—sand stays in the box, and Finn stays out of the box. He also knows that as soon as there is an infraction, the lid goes right back on, which is a pretty powerful incentive to stick with the rules.

It's just an under-the-bed storage box, filled with one bag of playsand (less sand than would be used for an outdoor box, the better to keep it contained.) I change up the toys every so often—sometimes it's kitchen things, sometimes his cars, sometimes shells and rocks. We also set it, open, by the dehumidifier every other week or so, just to keep it from getting too damp. (We have also occasionally used a sprintzer to add some dampness if he's really wanting to mold it into shapes. Then we just put it by the dehumidifier before closing it up.)

Most times I use it to occupy Finn while I'm cooking or doing some other kitchen chore, but sometimes I sit there and just run my fingers through the sand too. And while there's no doubt that it's more soothing when done at the actual beach, with the sound of surf and seagulls adding to the relaxation, there is still just something about that tactile experience that feels good.

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