This was an idea I got from my sister-in-law. My girls were playing at her house on Thursday and she had taken a tray, painted the bottom and put some sand in it. They drew in the sand with a stiff bristled paint brush.
I had been given this tray as part of a house warming gift. I could have left the bottom unpainted, but I thought the girls would like some color. If I had known how the finest bits in the sand lightened the paint, I would have gone with a darker color. I did have painter's tape so I used that to tape the sides to keep them paint free.
Cordelia asked me to write her name. Then she asked for mine, then Valerie's, then Daddy's. I then drew a heart. She said "Draw my heart. My heart very big!" That made this worth the work to paint it right there.
The girls have been having fun playing with it. The problem with this sand tray is the holes for the handles. The sand likes to exit there. I tried putting packing tape over them, but it didn't stay stuck. I still need to come up with a solution for this. I could put the painter's tape over it, but that wouldn't look very nice.
One of the nice things about this project is that it was inexpensive. The tray we had, the paint is just craft paint. I bought the big one as I didn't think one of the small ones would be enough, so the paint was almost $2. The sand is the fine craft sand, so it was originally $7 for a bag. I had a 50% off coupon, so it was only $3.50. This is a small portion of the bag, which is good because I suspect we will have to add to it somewhat regularly. I also used paint brushes that we already had. The bristles aren't as stiff as the ones that my SIL had, but they work.