Thinking Outside the Sand Box

Tips for playing in the sandbox, from the expert nannies in the Slope!

Mr Sandman

Sandbox? Wet clothes? Don't go there

The other morning I got up inhumanely early to wash my hair before my 19-month-old son woke up. If it doesn’t happen before he wakes, it mightn’t happen at all. I had just come out of the shower and was shuffling around the bedroom rubbing my head with a towel, when I felt grit beneath my feet.

That’s it! I thought.

That’s the last bloody time we’re going to that bloody sandbox. I don’t care how many years of child psychotherapy or how much physical or occupational therapy it will take to make up the lost sensory/cognitive/social/emotional/motor skills. I will not wade through piles of bloody silt in order to carry out my daily ablutions.

And that’s when I looked up and saw the true cause of said grit beneath feet. The bedroom ceiling had fallen in.

Okay, so this time it wasn’t the sandbox. Still, I was reminded of another Park Slope mom who recently posted that she was at the end of her tether because of the sand issue. These last few months, I too feel like I’m losing the battle of Operation Desert Storm: there are miniature dunes all over the house. This happens to me despite a post-sandbox cleansing ritual that borders on OCD.

Realizing that these tiny granules were taking over my life, the next time the toddler and I hit the sandpit at Third Street, I decided to go to the big guns, to consult the sandbox gurus. I went to the nannies.

So here is The Word from the Nannies of 3rd Street.

Dominique: “That’s what sprinklers are for! Wash toys and feet before you leave.”

Jackie: “Bring water sandals and change into them before play. Dress the child in leggings or something close-fitting. Pockets and turn-ups are asking for trouble!"

Maureen: “Have clean socks at the ready, and carry a cheap mat –you can usually pick them up at the dollar store—and bring a soft brush and dust the kid down before the child gets into the stroller. Oh, and tip the stroller and give it a shake, too; saves wheeling the dirt into the house.”

Davinia: “Sprinkle a little baby powder on the legs and toes and it comes off easy. And if your baby gets sand in their eyes, let the child cry! It washes the sand away much easier than pouring water over the eyes.”

Finally, and most importantly,

Jackie says: “Whatever you do, DON'T put on the sun block before your child gets in the sandbox. Seriously, I see it happen all the time.”


Clare Lambe


Addendum: Sandbox fans rejoice! The Prospect Park Playgrounds have just refreshed the sandboxes with new sand. (Just try not to take it all home)