Wellness Wednesday: Play in the Sand

Wellness Wednesdays: Small ways to incorporate self-care into your days


Play in the Sand: Cigar Box Sandboxes

Do you remember how much fun it was to play in the sandbox as a child? You could sift it, pour it, and mold it, getting lost in creative play for hours on end. There’s no denying the meditative and calming properties of sand play. That’s why those zen gardens have become so popular over the last decade. You know the ones: mass-produced tray sculpture, filled with white or beige sand, and accompanied by miniature wooden rake? It may be attached to a fountain; It may have a spot to put a tea candle. You’re supposed to rake the sand until you feel calm? Here are some other examples of creative play with sand:

  • There’s a whole modality of therapy devoted to sand: Sandtray Therapy, which uses a sandtray and a collection of “miniatures” that may be placed in the sand to tell a story.
  • Sand art was super popular when I was growing up. We would fill the clear plastic bottles with different colored sands, and then poke it with a small skewer to create a design.
  • Tibetan monks create intricate mandalas with colored sand as a meditative exercise.

Playing in the sand is good for the soul. However, it’s pretty unlikely that you have a sandbox in your yard unless you have young children. Instead of buying one of those mass-produced zen gardens, I’m going to show you how to create your own portable, customized, mini sandbox out of an empty cigar box. 

First, choose your box.

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If you’re local to Hendersonville, Sir Tom’s Tobacco Emporium sells their empty boxes for either $1 or $3. They’re located on 4th Ave, between Church St. and Main St.

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Next, use Mod Podge to add decorative paper to the inside top cover.

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Regular Elmer’s glue would also work

Then, paint the inside bottom half the color of your choice. I chose a pretty blue. You can also seal it with polyurethane to make the inside of the box waterproof. You’ll need many coats of poly.

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Finally, decorate the outside top cover, and add sand to the inside.

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I used a couple of gelli prints, washi tape, floral fabric tape, and a butterfly image transfer

For my mini sandbox, I gathered a collection of different materials: tiny pine cones, glass beads, glass tiles, tiny mirrors, buttons, rocks, shells, and gemstones. Now the fun part.

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This cute little organizer was on clearance at Lowes for $.89!

I like the cigar box format because the hinged top makes it portable and private. This mini sandbox is perfect for taking to work with you and leaving on your desk for times when you just need a break. You’ll be warming up your creative muscles as you arrange your materials in the sand.

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Why should kids have all the fun? We can all explore our creativity and embrace wellness through sand play.