How To Keep Your Backyard Sandbox Clean All Winter

Those small sandboxes that come in different shapes are important tools for your child's development. Not only do they help build creativity and motor skills, but they also encourage them to play outdoors, per Empowered Parents. These boxes can be helpful, especially if you do not live close to the beach. However, just like any other item in your yard, sandboxes need some care during the cold winter months. The winter cold is unforgiving, not just to your garden hoses or other equipment but also to the sandboxes that stay outdoors all year long. 

Sandboxes are not expected to last forever; your child will someday outgrow sandbox play. Nonetheless, cleaning and protecting them from the worst of winter will ensure they remain in great shape for as long as needed. The good news, however, is that cleaning your sandbox in preparation for winter is relatively easy. Here is a quick guide that will help you get started.

Clean and weather seal

The first order of business is to make sure all the toys buried deep in the sand are retrieved before it gets cold and snowy. All toys are not made the same, and those with cheap plastics are likely to crack when the temperature plummets. Besides that, you need to carefully rake the sand to remove any organic debris that might rot and attract insects into the sand. When you have cleaned the sand, it is time to focus on the sandbox material. Sunshine and Play recommend weather-sealing the sandbox if it is made of wood. 

This is especially true if the wood material is unfinished. The easiest way is to use a stain and your preferred sealant product. However, it is worth mentioning that some wooden sandboxes come stained and sealed, so all you are left to do is to inspect the current condition of the coat of seal. Be sure to give it a fresh coat of sealant if there are any signs of chipping the wooden material.

Cover the sandbox

There is no doubt that sand play is generally beneficial to young children; however, it can equally be a breeding ground for germs if the sand gets dirty. Keep in mind that if the sand remains unused for several months, bugs and crawling insects wouldn't mind burrowing inside to escape the biting cold. Also, raccoons and cats are notorious for making sandboxes their ideal bathroom if left unused. Another reason to cover the sandbox is to keep it clean, especially after removing organic debris. 

You wouldn't want the wind blowing leaves and sticks into your freshly cleaned sandbox, undoing all your hard work. Some sandboxes come with a dedicated cover. However, if you need to buy one, OwnPlayground suggests going for the sturdy options that will not get blown away by the wind but remain easy to remove whenever it's time for your kids to play. If you cannot find the right fit for your sandbox, go ahead and DIY a simple cover; if it doesn't fit snugly, weigh it down using a heavy object.