One day, many many moons ago, I got the bright idea to build a sandbox.
Then I got lazy, and I found one on craigslist for $15, and so we were set for a few years.
But then my children just kept growing bigger, and that sandbox did not. So I decided the time had come to finally get rid of that faded plastic eyesore in the backyard. (I totally sold it on kijiji for $15, so I actually got free use out of it for two whole summers. Win!)
I looked online for plans. I mean- it’s a sandbox. How hard can be it, really? I’ve made raised garden beds, and that’s essentially the same thing. Except I wanted the sandbox to have some sort of lid, to discourage the sandbox from taking on too much of a treasure hunt vibe. And by “treasure”, I of course mean “cat poop”. And so I started looking for plans for covered sandboxes. I found this one that I liked, and this one. But then I saw this one. The lid folds into SEATS. WHat. Must. And then after that I saw that somebody had taken that and tweaked it to add a canopy.
And then my imagination REALLY took off.
What if I made a sandbox. A covered sandbox. And the lid folded up into benches. And there was a canopy. And attached to the frame for the canopy I hung some curtains so that when the lid was down it could be a STAGE. And another rail so it could also be a puppet stage?
And then Nate left for his Japan trip and I was unsupervised. I made a some tweaks and adjustments to the original plans, then I made myself a list and then this happened-
True to form, I did not actually think through the whole “getting the lumber home” step in my plans. I just sort of carefully arranged wood around my children and thanked my stars that it is a 5-minute drive home from Home Depot. If I had it to do over- I probably wouldn’t.
Then I set to building.
It probably would have gone faster without having to simultaneously keep the three children entertained and fed, but it worked. Even after running up against a few design issues (I made the whole thing a bit wider, for a total size of 4×6, which made my boards less supported, and also I had to reinforce it since unlike your basic sandbox, it’s also meant to be walked, danced, and probably jumped on when closed), I managed to build the entire thing in a weekend.
Eventually I had a
fully mostly finished sandbox. Then I went to finish it, and realized that I really should have stained everything prior to assembly. The directions did say that, but it was a typical case of me skimming directions until I get the gist of them and sort of glossing over details like how “finish the wood” isn’t actually the last thing you do. Though in my defense, it’s a little misleading to call it finishing when you have to do it before you put it together.
Two stain colors and a bucket of aqua paint later, I had a
fully still only mostly finished sandbox. I got it placed and leveled by mother’s day. I finished the curtains (though I did abandon my idea to have them on a pulley system. I plan to revisit that at some point in the future), and let the kids start playing on it. Only thing missing was the sand, and that was delayed because we also had some plans to edge parts of the yard with river rocks and wanted to combine the orders and only pay one delivery charge. So it’s been strictly a stage for the last 8 weeks.
Sorry for the blurification. That’s the neighbor kid. I’m not sure how her parents feel about internet type shenanigans.
Then FINALLY, yesterday, we got the sand for it. And it is such a hit. I’m just so pleased with it.
It’s still not fully finished, still have to make a proper canopy. But the sheet tucked up there works for now, until I can mange to get to the fabric store for grommets. It never fails, every time I try to get to the fabric store, the kids fall asleep in the car on the way there. Every time. Also I need to finish the puppet stage curtain, and get more puppets than just nativity story finger puppets.
We spent all day outside today. I am attempting to erase the thought of winter and cold from my brain completely. It is starting to work.