Stoke Bishop School in Bristol wanted to improve the play offering and have a big open space where the children could access loose materials and be able to manipulate sand. Sand is a great safety surface as well as being playful, there is a space allowed in the design for a climbing structure to be added at a later date.
Sandpits are one of the most versatile elements to a playground and a great way to further the development of the minds and bodies of children. By digging, pouring, sifting, and scooping sand, children use their upper bodies and arms in ways that many of their other toys do not require them to work.
A refurbished and painted 20 foot shipping container with a roller shutter door fitted to one end was placed alongside the sand pit for play equipment storage and we added a chalkboard and a deck platform as a stage.
The tall poles set in the sand pit have pre-drilled holes to allow small sticks and ropes to be threaded through to create a framework for den building.
We excavated the sand pit to a depth of 30 cm and used the spoil to create mounds that we turfed to retain the sand pit on the playing field side. Along the tarmac edge we installed a raised timber log edging that is good for sitting and balancing as well as retaining the sand.