Sand Ponds

My little constantly tries to make ponds in his sand bin. It never works very well, so I decided he might need better tools. I gathered wax paper, aluminum foil, and some plastic packaging from some craft supplies we’d bought.


  • Various kinds of materials like aluminum foil, plastic wrap, old plastic packaging, or oilcloth bits
  • Basin of water
  • Vessel for pouring
  • Rocks or other weights

You can cut out pond shapes from your materials or let your child cut them. Ask them to dig ponds in sizes they think correspond with the shapes and sizes of their ponds.

Ask your child to set up a pond. If the water trickles out, ask them why they think it’s happening. Ask how they might fix it. My child realized the ends of his foil pond weren’t elevated enough and added sand underneath. His wax paper pond needed to be weighed down with stones. Try to ask questions and encourage your child to use the materials available to solve problems with their ponds.

Once Peanut got the hang of it, he experimented with different configurations and amounts of water. He really got to exercise his problem solving skills, and, once he was pleased enough with one of his ponds, he added a boat. This activity was definitely a success, but if your sand play area doesn’t have good drainage, it might be wise to limit the amount of water available. Ours took a few days to dry out after we were done with this activity.

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