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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 backyard dirt.

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.

Backyard Quarry.  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 dirt!)  Go here for more ideas for playing with rocks

Dinosaur Lake.  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.

Rock Garden.  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 mud.  Go 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


Copyright 2006 Eric D. Gyllenhaal                                              Search this Site

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This page was created on June 6, 2004, and it was last updated on April 19, 2006.