Cool alternative for the sandbox

Discussion in 'The Toddler Years(1-3)' started by KYsweetheart, Aug 11, 2007.

  1. KYsweetheart

    KYsweetheart Well-Known Member

    If you use the little ones, (not the huge ones) or if you don't use them at all because you are afraid its messy or that your child will eat the sand here is an awesome alternative I just read in Parents Magazine and HAD to share:

    "I turned my 1 year old daughters sand table into a safe place by filling it with dry oatmeal. It's really easy to clean up and I don't have to worry about her putting sand in her mouth."

    What an excellent idea, why hadn't I thought of that?
  2. Safari

    Safari Well-Known Member

    that is brilliant!!!!!!

    I've read about regular play sand being unsafe. But don't want to pay a fortune for the "safesand". I had heard to use pebbles, rice or beans, but those are potential choking hazards.

    If the sand table is outside, would you have to worry about bugs getting into the oatmeal?
  3. Safari

    Safari Well-Known Member

    I just found a website that suggested using Ground Walnut Shells that can be purchased at a pet store (i think it's used for some caged animals). that might attract less bugs.
  4. MNTwinSquared

    MNTwinSquared Well-Known Member

    that is a great idea! Corn meal is probably another alternative.
  5. NicoleT

    NicoleT Well-Known Member

    That IS a great idea! :)
  6. MichelleS

    MichelleS Well-Known Member

    That is a cool idea! I don't think that I would leave it outside though.
  7. twoin2005

    twoin2005 Well-Known Member

    Well I hate to be a stick in the mud...

    We did oatmeal. The kids loved it, but it got a little damp one night and even with the lid on the table, it got crusty. It was hard to scrape off. forward a few days. We had not played with the table for awhile and when I went to open it, it was COVERED in mold. Yuck. Again, it must have gotten a little damp inside.

    Rice is a great alternative too. If you put a sheet underneath the table, you can easily pour all the spilt rice back into the table.

    Since we use sand tables in my kinder class, I have learned about some really fun ways to teach while giving the kids a tactile experience. I tailor those ideas for Ben and Hannah's level. For example, I bought a bunch of marbles at the 99 cent store. We hid those in the box under the sand. B&H find them in the sand and then we count the marbles. Another fun one is to hide little colored blocks (we have counting bears and dinosaurs). As they find them they can tell me what color they have found. Then they can sort them by color (reds in a pile, blues in a pile, etc.) or by shape (small bears in one pile, medium bears in another pile, large bears in another pile). We have those cheap little ABC fridge magnets. When the kids know a few more letters I can hide those too! There are lots of fun things to do with a sand table, other than dig in sand!!!
  8. KYsweetheart

    KYsweetheart Well-Known Member

    Rice is a great alternative too.

    That is a good alternative!! My guys would eat it though, most definitely.
  9. T.O. Twins

    T.O. Twins Well-Known Member

    At our daycare they use dry oatmeal but they also sometimes use cooked macaroni and cooked couscous. Clearly these are only used once. I suppose it is a waste of food, but some of it was eaten and it is pretty cheap.
  10. JDMummy

    JDMummy Well-Known Member

    They use oatmeal at the playspace we go to sometimes. Pretty easy to clean up too.
  11. Her Royal Jennyness

    Her Royal Jennyness Well-Known Member

    I prefer cornmeal as a play sand alternative. You can also buy different colors of cornmeal. It's fun to swirl blue and yellow.

    At one of Dave's preschools they would mix cornmeal with different things like shell macaroni, rice or oatmeal to give it a different texture.
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