The Rock Box

 Once upon a time there was a man who built a playset for his children.

DIY backyard playset

Upon completion of the playset he and his wife promised the children that they would turn the base of the playset into a sandbox.

Many months passed, but the promise was never fulfilled. The boy was very sad.

Sad sandbox

Then one day the boy’s mother noticed a slight nip in the air. Was the earth scorching heat of summer finally coming to an end? Could they play outside again? She checked her mobile weather device and was pleased to see that the high that day was a manageable 94 degrees.

So she told the boy it was time to fulfill the promise made to him so long ago. And the boy was very happy.

Happy sandbox

Finally he would have a place to dig! His younger brother – the eternal optimist – didn’t seem to care one way or another, for he had been perfectly content digging in his mothers flowerbeds.

playing in the dirt

The mother liked to teach her children the value of hard work, so together she and the boy weeded the area.

weeding the rock box

The woman then loaded up her children for a trip to the store. Along the way she started to second guess the plans for a sandbox. She thought to herself  “you know, an outdoor sandbox without a lid is really just a giant litter box. Even though you don’t have cats they will find you and they will poop where your kids play. To keep that from happening you will need to design and make some sort of cover, which sounds like no fun at all. Also, sand is messy. It’s gets in hair and eyes and cracks and doesn’t come out.”

When the woman and her children arrived at the store they quickly found the sand, and right beside it was something interesting. Pea pebbles. The woman thought to herself  “you know, you are constantly telling your boys to stop digging holes in the driveway, which is made of gravel. And pea pebbles are large enough not be messy like sand and small enough not to hurt when they inevitably get thrown at you by your brother.”

And so they headed home with 16 bags of pea pebbles, totaling $65. The woman really hoped she didn’t regret spending so much money on rocks.

pea pebbles

Once home the woman and her children spread some plastic to keep the weeds away and stapled it to the inside of the box.

plastic barrier

Then they hauled 16 very heavy bags of rocks from the driveway to the backyard and spread them in the box.

use pea pebbles instead of sand

The woman hoped the boys would enjoy it and spend many hours scooping and moving rocks.

pea pebbles instead of sand

She was not disappointed.

Make a rock box

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  1. Um… I don’t have kids, and I want a rock box… :) Awesome Idea! Will file this one away for the future. ;)

  2. This is such a great idea!
    Hilary recently posted..Chicekn Tacos…. What Chicken Tacos?My Profile

  3. We did the same thing but just FYI, cats love rocks also :(

  4. Carla Pennington says:

    Okay, this is totally not craft/DIY related, though I do have a major love for pea gravel. It is about the boys. Makes me realize that I’ve followed you longer than I thought. I can’t believe how big they are. I’ve glimpsed them in a few pics, but not like this – they are both adorable and it sure sounds like they have a world of fun (and learning) with you two are parents. It won’t be long before little Levi (hope I got the name correct) starts looking like a little boy, too, not like a baby or toddler. If that makes sense to you :-) Does to me, but then again, many things make sense to me that not everyone else gets, kinda like some of your DIY adventures that require multiple explanations to your superbly supportive husband.

    • Oh gosh, I know…they are growing up so fast. Levi will be two this month! You should hear him talk too, he’s a regular chatterbox. Gotta keep up with his big brother, you know? I do miss my babies, but they are so fun and interactive right now…like little sponges that fight all the time :)

  5. I did the same thing. I absolutely hate sand so we made a rock pit under our swing set too with river rock…best idea I ever had.

  6. this is awesome. love it! i’m going to do something like this if we ever live somewhere where we can play outside after Alaska. haha!

  7. That’s wonderful! They will have sooo much fun, and in the end the cost will work out to about $6.50 per year – well worth it. And yes, the cats will like it just as well… But hey, it probably won’t stink as much as sand! (Not the cats, they will stink just as much, lol.) I bet your little guys are playing up a storm every day!
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  8. I love how you wrote this! =D Pea gravel sounds like a great substitution; and what handsome little helpers you have.
    Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs recently posted..Grace, not perfectionMy Profile

  9. I love this idea! I have 6 children, so you can imagine the sandy tracks through my back door…ugg ;-)
    Gonna try this next summer :D
    Heather recently posted..Dowling Family Ministries, Inc. is born!My Profile

  10. What a great story! I think it needs to be published. ;]
    Runt recently posted..Week’s End 09272013My Profile

  11. I love that “the boy was sad” picture!! Too cute!

  12. What a great idea, personally I’m sick of finding half a beach in the bottom of the bathtub every night, also my 14 month old eats sand constantly!
    My dad made me a picnic bench which has a removable top and opens to reveal a sand box; I think the climbing frame is fab though, and I think I’m going to have to show him the pics of yours!!!
    I hope the boys have a wonderful time playing in it.
    Gerrie recently posted..Slug therapyMy Profile

  13. so much better than sand!
    Kate Craig recently posted..29 weeksMy Profile

  14. Great idea on the rock box, but the story and pictures made this hilarious. :-) I agree with sand attracting cats and don’t care for the mess of the sand inevitably coming back inside the house.
    Lois recently posted..You want me to buy what?My Profile

  15. Oh I love the shot of the little one with the boots on the wrong feet!! I hope this works and keeps the cats out. I know they will have ball hauling gravel everywhere…

  16. Awesome idea, Ashley! Great little story! Boys are adorable!
    Cindy recently posted..Garden Project update…and Planter Boxes made from Salvaged WoodMy Profile

  17. Thanks to this woman for a great idea!! Her children are so adorable!

  18. Hahaha! What a great read! Love your style :)
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  19. That is awesome! Please let us know how it holds up. My problem with outdoor sand boxes has always been growing gross stuff in it after it gets wet.
    Meg recently posted..Another Kit Kat CakeMy Profile

  20. One BIG problem…lining the box with plastic makes it into a big pea-gravel filled pond when it rains. :( Better to line it with permeable weed cloth…the rain drains right through but weeds and grass can’t grow.

  21. Hello! I run a daycare, and that looks like a terrific idea! I have a spot in my yard picked out for a sandbox, but was worried about cats, too. I have a couple of questions: would the pea gravel be a choking hazard for littles who put everything in their mouths? And, after a month, has it worked as far as the cats go?
    MaryP recently posted..Fabulous Fake Tie-Dye for TotsMy Profile

  22. “Also, sand is messy. It’s gets in hair and eyes and cracks and doesn’t come out.” Or, the sand does come out of the hair… all over the pillow of the hair’s owner, who was supposed to already be asleep, but can’t get to sleep because his pillow is now covered with sand.

    Thanks for the very funny post, I have no interest in creating such a backyard paradise but still enjoyed reading it!
    Skye recently posted..How my child and I are differentMy Profile

  23. We have the same thing in some planters on our patio. The kids love it but they also have a tendency to spill the rocks on the patio and in the grass. Any tips for cleaning up the rocks, especially in grass? It drives me crazy. Thanks!

  24. I just saw this and had to comment about it. I’m wanting to do the same under our playset. I remember Young House Love chose rocks over sand and I definitely love rocks more. My 4 year old daughter loves playing with rocks (my parents have about 300 yards of a gravel driveway) and sand is just so messy. Glad to see your boys love it!

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