A favorite outdoor activity for nearly all children is digging in a sand box. Winter weather makes both of those activities prohibitive (unless you're fortunate enough to live in a tropical climate near the ultimate sand box -- the beach!)
But you can recreate that experience for your children indoors with a simple setup. Sand play tables are a popular addition in preschool and day care settings because it provides excellent sensory stimulation. You can provide the same enrichment without actually having sand in the house.
To construct an Indoor -- Sans Sand -- Sand Table, you'll need to start with a large container. A Rubbermaid container is ideal, with its heavy duty construction and secure covering. Decide the dimensions based on how you think your twins or multiples will interact with the toy. Would they prefer one large place where they can play together? Or would two smaller individual containers work best? The large underbed containers provide a nice shallow environment.
Fill the container with raw rice, dried pinto beans or a combination of both. If your multiples are young enough to be endangered by choking on a bean, stick with the rice. Leave plenty of headroom in the container so that the contents won't spill all over while the children play.
Provide plenty of tools and toys that will help develop your childrens' motor skills: spoons, scoops, cups, sifters, etc. Remind children of the usual rules of sand box play (they've probably learned them at preschool or day care already!)
- Keep the "sand" in the box.
- Play with the "sand" -- don't throw it or eat it.
- Keep the "sand" low; don't toss it in the air.
- Keep tools and toys near the "sand," so that they don't hurt other people.
It might not be quite like the real thing, but beans and rice are certainly a lot easier to clean out of carpet than real sand. And, if worse comes to worse, beans and rice (once they've cooked a while!) make a nice winter meal!