Sandpits are a hallmark of an Aussie childhood. They are a place to get messy, active, and stretch the imagination — whether building castles, practising long jump, “digging a hole to China” or making sand angels.
If you want to pass that simple joy on to your children (or encourage them to get outside), consider building one yourself — it’s easier than you’d think!
Tools and Materials:
- Treated sleepers cut to size (often the supplier can do this for you).
- Galvanised nails or spikes
- Wooden pegs
- Gravel (if you have clay soils).
- Shovel or hoe
- Measuring tape
- Spirit level
(Materials for a lid not listed).
1. Site selection
Select a site that is level, well draining, and receives some (although not full) sunlight, as this will prevent the sand pit becoming waterlogged.
To prevent your children becoming sunburnt, ideally some of the sandpit will be shaded — either by an umbrella, shade cloth or tree. If you aren’t including a lid, and a tree shades your site, the tree should ideally be evergreen and not bear fruit. Otherwise you may end up with your child playing among decomposing fruit!
Your site will also help determine what size of sandpit is appropriate. If space is not an issue, it can be worth going larger than you would initially expect — when you have a couple of kids playing in there with some toys it gets crowded quickly!
Start to excavate your site until you have a level pit in your desired proportions and shape. It should be at least 20cm deep (although 30cm may be better), and level (providing the soil is well draining).
If you have clay or other poorly draining soils, consider adding little more depth across a slight slope and then levelling it with drainage stones.
3. Bring your sleepers into place
Lay out your sleepers in the desired shape around the pit. If needed, saw them down to size. Connect them using nails or spikes, and use pegs every metre or so to help keep the sleepers in place.
4. Fill the pit!
Fill the pit with the bags of sand, spreading it evenly throughout.
5. (Optional extra) create a lid.
If your sandpit is near fruit trees, you have a lot of cats in the neighbourhood, or you don’t want your dog digging in it, a lid may be a smart idea. There is a range of ways you could do this, including:
● Using a small or cut down tarp, with bungy hooks or ties added to the edges. These can be attached to gate latch staples hammered into the sides of the sandpit.
● A wooden lid — these can be as simple as nailed together decking with handles, to well-designed lids that double as seating or a chalkboard.
Which is most appropriate will depend on your available time, and the windiness of your location.
Also consider adding a shade cloth, toy chest, or built-in seating.
For your next project, consider following in their footsteps and using your child’s designs. You are sure to create a unique and personalised product, with some cherished memories along the way.
If carpentry isn’t your calling, you could always work with your children to develop a design, then bring in the professionals for construction!
This blog post is sponsored by hipages
For further inspiration, check out the hipages dream cubby — they incorporated children into the design process, with an incredible outcome.