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Mr. Sandman

They say imitation is the highest form of flattery. Owing to that, Huxley is constantly attempting to do whatever it is that we’re doing. This is often cute. Sometimes, though, it makes for extra work for myself and Hubs, like when we’re working in the garden, digging things. Huxley has been going behind us, digging those things back up. Until now.

A few weeks ago, at the home of a close friend, Huxley discovered the remnants of a former sandbox. The structure itself had been removed, but the sand and some scoops remained. He went crazy for it, digging like a madman. Hubs took note, came home, and began building the tiniest English man a sandbox of his own the very next day.

To say he loves it is an understatement. Clamors for it would be closer to the truth. Pretty much five or so minutes after waking up each morning, he asks “Outside?” followed by “Bing ging?,” which, for reasons unbeknown, is the word he’s taken to calling the sand box. It’s the best. thing. ever. for us, too, as it keeps him occupied and content while we toil the soil. 

Our garden is fenced, and having the sandbox in the garden allows us to safely keep an eye on him. The roof keeps the sandbox dry and shades his sensitive skin so that he doesn’t burn, great news given his pasty Scottish lineage. Hubs also built it so that Huxley wouldn’t quickly outgrow it, incorporating plenty of details to keep his imagination occupied as he ages.

Hubs surrounded the sand box with a stone moat (with a barrier of landscape cloth underneath), which has multiple functions. It’s entertaining, aids in water drainage, and helps control the overflow of sand. Rocks buried in with the sand keep things interesting while the larger stepping stones in the moat provide a sturdy walkway when he wants it (we used both pavers and a granite slab we had on hand).

The boxes and shelves help in a variety of ways. They strengthen the structure, provide imaginative spaces, and leave plenty of room for storing his various scoops, spoons, and toys. The curved lines and hole cutouts add whimsy. Hubs added bamboo kitchen utensils, scoops, buckets, a kid’s shovel, and some recycled plastic toys to the box (including this dump truck, a gift from friends).

The quote that tops the sand box is a line from a folk song, famously covered by Billy Bragg. It refers to the Diggers, a group of 17th century British agrarian dissenters. They believed land should be available to all, and grew crops on unused land. You can read more about them here.

If you have the space, I highly recommend putting a sand box in your garden. You can make it as palatial or as humble as you’d like. If you choose to build one, let your imagination run wild. Hubs refers to his design esthetic as “Dr. Suess-esque.” No matter how you build it, this much is true: hours of good times for wee ones and their parents alike will be had! 

To see many, many, many more photos (we couldn’t stop!!!) of the sand box, go here.

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