Toddler Rock Box (An Alternative to a Sand Box)

We always knew we wanted to have some sort of sand or rock box for Trent once he was old enough for one. We also knew we want to “build” one, but we debated over which type of sand or rocks to buy.

We initially thought sand, but did you know that regular play sand is carcinogenic? Me either! You can get non-carcinogenic sand, but then we thought about how messy it could get and what a pain it would be to clean up.

So then the question was which type of rocks to get. We LOVED the rocks in the children’s fossil dig area at the T-Rex Restaurant in Downtown Disney, which were African Ivory Coast rocks…very small and almost sand-like. We looked for them online and found them to be very expensive for each bag…and seeing we would need at least 12 bags, we reconsidered.

We ultimately decided on Pea Pebbles/Gravel. It was like $3 a bag and we could get them at Home Depot. We are very happy with decision, as there were a variety of sizes in each bag…some as small as the African Ivory Coast rocks that we initially wanted!

Also from Home Depot was a 4×4 cedar raised garden bed kit that we got on sale for $35.

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It was very easy to set up and fit perfectly in the corner of our back porch.

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We had some leftover white pvc liner that we put on the bottom to have a layer between the floor and the rocks….which, as you can see, Trent the chalk artist used as his canvas one day.

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The one thing with bags of rocks is that they can be pretty dirty, so each bag needed to be dumped and rinsed before going into the rock box. Brett drilled holes into a plastic concrete mixing basin to help with this (about $5).

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He dumped a bag or two of rocks in at a time and then sprayed them with the hose.

Trent was such a good helper, too! He wanted to hold the hose and move the rocks around to get them all clean.

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Brett initially laid out a tarp to spread the clean rocks onto for them to dry before transferring them to the rock pit…

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But that process was taking too long and not worth the extra effort, so he just started letting them drain a bit in the basin and then put them into the rock box.

We ended up with about 4-6 inches of rocks in the rock box.

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I don’t know who the bigger fan is, Trent because he’s in it all the time and can see it from inside the house and begs to go out to play in it all the time? Or us because it keeps him entertained without an iPad while we clean or relax?

Either way, it is definitely a hit. Sometimes Trent will still be in his jammies when he just can’t help himself and has to get in and play.

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Even Sheepy likes the rock box apparently.

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Trent likes to fill all his containers with rocks, if there is a toy that has a space for rocks to fit, it probably has rocks in it right now…trucks, buckets, you name it. Sand toys work great in the rock box.

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He also likes to grab handfuls of rocks and put them on his head and let them roll off. Bath time is a necessity!

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A rock box is an amazing addition to any household with a toddler!

Toddler Rock Box




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