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Staycation: Bringing the Sandy Beach to your Home

Updated on July 9, 2012

Every year my husband and I try to make sure that we take some sort of family vacation. It isn’t always something extravagant, but as long as we set a week aside to relax and be together then we feel accomplished.

This summer we were blessed by an extremely generous family. We were given a one week stay at their ocean front house in the Outer Banks, completely free of charge. This family vacation was incredible. We went at the beginning of May, so the ocean water was a little chilly still (which was okay since our girls are too young to swim anyway) and the temps were in the high 70’s. Needless to say, our girls spent the entire week playing, digging and building structures in the sand.

Being that we went 2 weeks before summer even started, you can imagine that by the time summer was officially here they were already begging to go back to the beach again. Renting a beach house and taking off another week of work, were financially out of the question, so how was I going to satisfy this desire in their little hearts? I forgot to mention that we live on the top floor of an apartment complex, have no deck or yard, so throwing down a little sandbox is not an option. Needless to say, even if we had a little yard, I’m not sure I would even consider getting a sandbox. I can handle one week of it, but I would not enjoy having to hose off and clean my kids after every time they went outside.

I finally came up with a plan. We were going to create an indoor low maintenance/little mess sandbox. It’s small, easy to store, easy to clean up and provides hours of entertainment.


Here is what you will need. You can pick all these items up on your next trip to the grocery store (you may even have some items already in your pantry). Obviously all of these need to be and remain DRY.

- Oatmeal
- Beans (kidney, pinto, navy, lima, lentils… try to get a variety of shapes, sizes and colors)
- Noodles (spiral, bowtie, elbow, penne etc… also try to get a variety of shapes, sizes and colors)
- Rice

Find a good size plastic bin with a lid and allow your kids to start combining the “ingredients” for your sandbox. Pull out a few beach toys (i.e. shovel, mini buckets, shape molds, bowls etc). Grab a sheet of some sort. I like to throw down one of our old large plastic table clothes. Instruct your kids to keep everything in the box and table cloth.


When your kids are done playing put everything back into the bin. Inevitably there will be “sand” all over the table cloth. Fold the table cloth in half and pour/slide all the “sand” back into the bin. If any of the “sand” spread onto the floor, it’s very easy to vacuum it up.

It’s cheap, easy to clean and provides hours of entertainment for your kids. ENJOY!

*This DIY sandbox is good for sensory play. As your kids stick their hands and feet into the rolled oats, it will also leave their skin feeling super smooth.


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    • Blessed mom of 6 profile image

      Blessed mom of 6 5 years ago from Home

      Very interesting, this is a good idea even if you do have a back yard. It will keep children interested on rainy days too. Thank you for the idea.