I spent the better part of my childhood springs and summers in our sandbox, making up stories about the little plastic animals we would buy at the grocery store when we shopped. I could be amused for hours on end in my sandbox, so introducing one to my toddler gave me a lot of excitement and expectation.
Rather than spend exorbitant amounts of money on buying an actual sandbox, or driving ourselves crazy trying to build one (we are not terribly crafty here; we can usually manage to cobble things together, but they're hardly impressive), we went and bought a little cheap plastic kiddie pool and poured bags of sifted sand into it.
At this stage, I'm keeping it simple; he has a plastic bucket and a few simple sandbox toys. I encourage him to use bits of sticks and grass and leaves to decorate the sand, as well. From these simplest of playthings, as he gets older, imaginative play will spring. No need to give him handfuls of bright plastic toys (to be eaten by the lawn mower); he can make whole world from flowers and sticks.
At this stage, though, he's mostly into the tactile sensation of sand on his skin, between his toes, squeezed in small chubby fists.
Our big struggle is preventing him eating the sand. Needless to say, our EC journey has gotten much more, erm, interesting with the introduction of sand to his diet. Do you have any idea how hard it is to properly wipe a tushy without abrading the skin because of the passage of sandy poo?
Despite the difficulties of a 16-month-old and sand eating, I think that the addition of a sandbox to his world has been a very positive one. What experiences have you had with very young children and sandboxes? What memories do you have of your own sand play as a child?