Backstory: “Summer fun” slideshow #1: Sandboxes

I’m working on a slideshow project called “summer fun.” Included are pictures, taken throughout our lifetimes (and even before), that seem to best represent the kinds of activities best done in the warmer months. Examples are the joy of swimming and other water play, hiking in the mountains, and reading on the porch at the cottage.

Anna in her sandbox, 63 Gratiot Blvd, Marysville, Michigan
Anna in her sandbox, 63 Gratiot Blvd, Marysville, Michigan

As I looked through some of my oldest pictures I was struck with how many of both Dick and me were taken in and around our backyard sandboxes, which I believe were a mainstay for kids in our generation. He and I started reminiscing, and I did a little research.

Dick and his sandbox, 186 Vicksburg Ave, Tonawanda, New York
Dick and his sandbox, 186 Vicksburg Ave, Tonawanda, New York

Information sources on the Internet told me that sandboxes were originally used for war modeling, but when someone suggested in about 1850 to Friedrich Froebel (creator of the “kindergarten” concept) that sandboxes might be fun and good for children, he took the idea and ran with it.

Our sandboxes were certainly an important part of Dick’s and my young lives, and I have a number of comments from my mother (in photo annotations, letters, etc) that I spent literally hours there each day. (Except for in the winter, of course, when the snow played a similar role to the summer sand.)

Dick’s sandbox was made by his Grandpa “Shortie,” and, as you can see in the pictures above, it had the additional feature of an awning to mitigate the effects of the hot sun.

I [Dick] still remember playing in this sandbox. It was behind the garage of our house. I had some old spoons to dig in the sand and also some metal toy cars to play with. When I got a little older, I used to play with the same toys in the vacant lot next to our house by digging in the dirt there.