Our school year is winding down and Elliot has one more week before he is out, so like a lot of you, I've been trying to figure out how I will manage two kids all summer long. I'm lucky to have a big network of friends here who I enjoy hanging out with just as much as our kids like to play together, and I know our summer will be filled with meet-ups at each others houses and in local parks. This still leaves a pretty large chunk of the day with just our family, so we have been readying a few things at home.
This past weekend we built a sandbox for our kids, using these instructions, but enlarging the size to 6' x 6'. We had trouble sourcing cedar locally, and after doing a lot of reading online decided that untreated pine would be fine for our purposes, as many say it will outlast a child's interest in the sandbox.
If any of you have purchased sandbox sand, you will also know that there is a lot of controversy about whether or not sand is safe, and which kind of sand is the safest. I guess I'm grateful that we have more information available to us these days, but I also feel like there are a lot more worries with every little decision we make as parents, and often feel overwhelmed making the choices. After a lot of research (ugh.) I decided to go with "washed sand" which is a real sand (not manufactured) and is washed to remove dust and impurities. We were able to find it locally and have a yard of it delivered for somewhere in the $60 range. As for the safety of sand in general, my personal belief is that risks of lung cancer and disease are due to prolonged exposure such as mining or sandblasting, and that a child's use of a sandbox does not pose a significant risk. (except for mosquitos and/or sandy potato chips)
We have a wonderful shady yard here and are already finding ourselves spending many hours out there each day, which is a nice change from our old house. It's been fun seeing what the previous owner has planted as flowers come and go from our garden. She seemed to have it all carefully planned because just as one thing withers, the next plant starts to show. Elliot and I have pulled out Roots, Boots, Buckets & Shoots and are planning on constructing a teepee made of bamboo poles and moonflowers in the front yard. He also goes on "blossom hunts" each day and fills a line of tiny juice glasses on my kitchen sill with his finds. And the wildlife puts on a show as well-- deer are regular visitors, we have some brave black squirrels, and a tiny chipmunk has even made a home in a hole our paver patio.
A lot of you have contacted me and asked if I would consider coming up with another version of Camp Russell from a few years back, and as of right now, I don't think I'll be doing that. I am so busy with my kids, and also am not as panicked about summer as I have been in years past. We will probably just take summer as it comes around here, and throw in a few summer camps for Elliot.
Have a great weekend!