Super Sized Sandbox

I had a feeling Boy Scouts was going to benefit the whole family. Here is the latest example. Mike, the Scoutmaster, recently had several scouts make Eagle. One of the requirements to make this rank was to pull off the “Eagle Project”. From what I can tell, this project had to benefit someone outside the troop and the scout in charge had to get donations and free labor, which he had to organize to complete the project. One Eagle Scout recently made about a dozen picnic tables for his church and another built fire pits for a park. Mike saw that all the planning, leadership, and hard work might be less stressful for our boys, when their turn comes, if they had a project that was less difficult, but built confidence and helped prepare them for it. In his research, he came across a Family Life Merit Badge that had a Family Project requirement. 

He asked me what kind of project could the boys do that would benefit all of us. All kinds of thoughts went through my mind, but the overriding one was, I want to make this count incase this is my only chance. Mike tends to not invite me to come up with more work for him. I don’t know why. He especially does not like to build things, and it takes a long time, because his heart is elsewhere. But now... The best thing I could think of was a playground in the backyard. I suggested the tire swing, and that went right up in less than a day. 

I have also collected “ideas” in binders for years. One of the binders was projects I knew I could never do, but I hoped someday someone would take pity and do it for me. This binder had the plans for the sandbox and a child sized picnic table that folds flat for storage. I showed these to the boys and they cheered. I showed Mike and he herded children into the bus and drove off to Lowe’s. Wow. This was the day I had been waiting for!

The sandbox plans came from Family Fun Magazine and you can still see them online here. So, instead of telling you how they did it, I am going to tell you what is so great about it. First, it is huge. All my children can get in it at the same time with room for toys and elbows. I am sure the bigger ones are only interested in it since it is still a novelty, but when they move on we will have room for lots of little friends to join us. In anticipation of this I moved a bench under the trees so the moms of our little friends can sit and have a glass of iced tea with me. 

Second, my little ones really needed reasons to play outside. The tire swing helped tremendously, but only four or five little bottoms can sit on that at the same time. The more things to do out there, the cleaner the house stays and the more Vitamin D they make. Yea! 

Third, I can see this play area from several different windows so I can count children and make sure all is well. It is situated in the sun in the winter, but when the sun moves higher in the summer, it will be in dappled shade, making it a comfortable place to play year round as long as we don’t have marauding mosquitoes. 

Fourth, the sandbox itself has several notable features. This is not just a few boards nailed together in a square. It is quite a few boards, ringed with seats. The seat in the back is hinged to make a toy box. (Grace is lounging on this below.)

I didn’t get a good picture of this, but the main part also has a lid. It is really four lids divided up to make it lighter. The side opposite the toy box has a place to store the lids when they are not protecting the sand from cats and weather. You can see the lids in the picture above left, leaning against the fence. Below, you can see them all put away. They constructed this all out of pressure treated wood and then painted it with polyurethane. Who knows? Maybe our grandchildren will play here. 

Fifth, Mike had to buy tools. At least two kinds of saws and who knows what else. This is a miracle. He bought tools and he was excited. Now he is seriously talking about building a tree house behind this. Can you imagine that? I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it is hard. 

Sixth, even though Mike did help, the boys are doing the bulk of the work on these projects. Maybe that is why Mike is still excited? Anyway, they are having fun, learning useful skills, and blessing their family. All good. 

Seventh, even though this was expensive, it was a lot cheaper and better than anything we looked at that was already made. And since I am not going to go crazy now, since I am not tripping over people in the kitchen, because they are all outside, I would say that sanity is priceless. 

© Being Fruitful, 2012