The blog The Mindful Home shared some great non-plastic and non-toxic ways to have fun this summer. I thought I would expand on the topic of beach toys. Here is the original post: http://themindfulhome.blogspot.com/2013/04/non-toxic-summer-fun-including-pvc-free.html
How many children's plastic toys last more than one summer? How many last the whole summer, for that matter? How many people just go back to Walmart or The Christmas Tree Shops to buy more because they're cheap and easily replaced? There are other options!
I'm quickly falling into the camp of believers that investing in quality up front saves money and waste over the long-term. Buying a solidly built metal pail for the beach is a better investment than buying several flimsy plastic buckets that will break easily. You may need to take a bit more care with the metal bucket so that the salt water is rinsed at the end of the day to prevent rust, but it will last for many summers at the beach. Plus, it's not plastic!
The same idea applies to digging tools. If you have one good shovel that you properly care for, you could buy just one in a child's lifetime instead of a new one each season. What about lugging all that heavy metal to the beach along with everything else you need for an outing? How much do you really need to enjoy the day?
What can you substitute for a sand sifter? How about a colander? Or a metal flour sifter. If you don't have a metal one to spare at home, you can try the thrift stores. There are really small berry colanders available that would work perfectly at the beach or smaller hands.
But what about all those cute little sculpting tools and molds for making castles like the set shown above from Amazon? In our experience, they don't really work! Plus, I think it sucks the imagination out of playing in the sand. A bucket and shovel, maybe a sifter and/or a watering can are all you really need for fun in the sand. And here's a metal watering can to add to your bucket.
If you buy these non-plastic items once, properly care for them, then you will probably never need to buy another beach bucket again!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.