Sep 23, 2012

pint-sized construction site!

<<< psst! you can see a full list of my diy projects here! >>>

time : minutes
difficulty  ★ ☆ ☆ ☆  
hazards : small pebbles, weight of gravel
would i do it again? : yes!

please supervise your children when they play
with the pint-sized construction site.

K's old daycare had a toddler-height table-bin filled with colored pebbles and random funnels, ramps, and scoops. inevitably, the boys were always gathered around it, scooping pebbles from one bowl to another and making construction sound effects.

   i made a note to make one when we moved...and i finally got around to it!

mine's not wood and it doesn't have table legs...but it does the job!

K's buddy happened to come over right as we got home with the supplies and they spent a good half-hour with hardly a word spoken between the two of them -- they were so focused on pouring and scooping and dumping!

are you ready to make yours?

all you need are a shallow plastic bin and filler. the filler can be small pebbles, puffed rice cereal, dry rice, dry beans...the possibilities are almost endless. anything that can be easily scooped and poured will be a hit. i would avoid sand though -- especially if this is going to be an indoor bin -- because it's so difficult to sweep up. 

i opted to use black aquarium gravel because i was going for authenticity. i found it at my local pet store. you could also check a home improvement store, but i like aquarium gravel because it's smooth. for a 25-quart bin, i used one 25-lb bag of gravel -- a much smaller bag than you're probably imagining! gravel is heavy.
this 25-lb bag was a little over $18.

i bought a bin with a lid because i plan to keep it indoors, stashed under the couch. this will be a great rainy-day activity -- if any gravel spills on the floor, it's a cinch to sweep up.

note: i looked for a container with latch-style handles due to the weight of the gravel -- i want the lid to be secure on the bin. if your container has a simple snap-on lid, it would be realllllllly easy for that top to open and gravel to spill everywhereno longer so easy to sweep up when it's in every crack and crevice!

pour the gravel in the bin and thirty seconds later, you have your very own miniature construction site.

now, time to scrounge up some toys. some ideas: any construction-related toy, buckets, shovels, plastic or foam cups, plastic spoons...if you have a sieve, you could bury small treasures and have your child sift for gold!

now sit back...


...and watch your child have fun while developing his fine motor skills!

update, september 2013: for the second year in a row, K played with his gravel pit allll summer long. i would highly recommend making one for the toddlers in your life!

* mari
nope, you're not crazy.
this post was reformatted in september 2013.

Single Crates now on Sale at Kiwi Crate! The perfect gift for children ages 3-7. shop now ››


  1. thanks! he LOVES it -- he still goes for it every. single. day. so much for it being a rainy day activity...now i have to think up something else. drat.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.