Salt the Sandbox for Earth Week
On April 21 and 22, 2006,
we did a program called "Salt the Sandbox: Create Backyard
Habitats for Wild Kids and Wild Animals" at Wonder Works, a
Children's Museum in Oak Park. Our goal was to inspire parents to let their kids include
more sticks, stones, water and other natural materials in their play.
We also tried to increase kids' awareness (and perhaps overcome some
of their fears) of the bugs and other tiny wildlife that live in
Here are some of the
activities we did, outdoors and indoors:
Salt the Sandbox.
Visitors searched for natural treasures in our salted sandbox,
on the front sidewalk. They
got to take home a baggie of shells, shark teeth, and polished rocks.
Go here to see what they found.
Children loaded up the dump trucks with smooth pebbles, and
then hauled them around the quarry-in-a-box, on the front lawn.
(Of course, it’s much more fun when you get to play in real
here for more ideas for playing with rocks.
Water and plastic dinosaurs—what more do you need for
backyard fun? (Actually,
it’s even better when you add some sand.) Go
here for more ideas for playing with dinosaurs.
Plant rocks in your garden.
They won’t grow, but they look nice, and they’re fun to
play with. (Today we
brought a container garden.) Go
here to learn about the Round Hound Garden in front of our house.
Dig for Bugs.
Dig for pill bugs, millipedes, worms, and more in containers of
dirt, on a table near the art room. Go
here to read about other bug programs we have done at Wonder Works.
Wild Backyard (in Miniature).
Help our plastic kids play with natural materials and fake dirt
in the tabletop backyard. Watch out for wildlife!
Homemade play dough is a pretty good substitute for real
here to see our favorite recipe for homemade play dough.
Hauling Rocks and Logs. Move real rocks and sticks around the town with our wooden
trains and tiny dump trucks. Go
here for more ideas for playing with rocks