One-inch sandbox play

We don’t have a “real” built-in-the-ground sandbox in my outdoor play environment so I try to provide different opportunities for outdoor sand play in whatever way I can. My grandson always enjoys the simple exploration and play that one-inch sandbox play invites…

One-Inch sandbox play by Teach Preschool

Now before I continue on, please note that I am not suggesting that one-inch sandbox play is a good substitute for a large sandbox. The kinds of playful interactions, collaboration, communication, and imagination that take place in a large sandbox cannot be replaced by a one-inch sandbox. And as an FYI, we have a large area of nothing but dirt right now (due to some new landscaping going on) to simulate the kinds of play that happen in a sandbox even though this is still somewhat different…

One-Inch sandbox play by Teach Preschool

One-inch sandbox play is low maintenance and can be set up in a jiffy when you’re looking for something fun for your child to do.  I simply poor a little play sand out of the bag onto a tray and set it up outdoors where ever my grandson would like it to go…

One-Inch sandbox play by Teach Preschool

My grandson adds a variety of loose parts to his one-inch sandbox like cars or rocks or other items he enjoys…

One-Inch sandbox play by Teach Preschool

And he experiments with the sand like rubbing his hands through the sand, sprinkling sand in the air…

One-Inch sandbox play by Teach Preschool

And leaving a footprint in the sand. I think because the tray of sand is such a small space, the kind of play that it invites seems to focus more on the little things you can do with sand rather than the larger types of play…

One-Inch sandbox play by Teach Preschool

As I have observed my grandson playing with the sand on a tray, I have been thinking of also introducing the idea to my preschool class this year as a way to take sand tray writing, printing, and play outdoors too. I think my students would enjoy this experience as an additional type of sand play experience this year…

One-Inch sandbox play by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By |2013-08-01T06:00:53+00:00August 1st, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. I’ve never even thought to use sand like this. I would love to have a big sandbox in our backyard, but it’s just not feasible right now. Someday I still want one, but in the meantime, this one inch sand play could be a great alternative. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Amie McIlroy August 3, 2013 at 3:29 am - Reply

    We have a large sandbox that my kids love to play in, but sometimes I need to set up seperate ‘play stations’ if the mood turns to annoying each other, so these little sandboxes would be a great idea.

  3. Annette September 16, 2013 at 11:52 am - Reply

    What a great idea! We had a huge sandbox in our backyard at our last house and my kids never played in it because of the cat’s in the neighborhood! 😉 This is perfect for play time and then can be put away after your done~! I’d love for you to come share this at our Pinning for Play link party!

Leave A Comment

This site uses 'cookies' to give you the best, most relevant experience. Using the website means you're OK with this. Ok