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Oct 27, 2022

The Sandbox: More to Dig Into

Barry Kaufman

Photography By

The Sandbox
Special events and theme nights give families even more reasons to visit the Lowcountry’s favorite family fun spot.

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Your kids don’t really need to be given a reason to go to The Sandbox. The sheer wealth of activities, the boundless opportunity to stretch their imagination, and the joy of exploring something new are their own rewards.

For kids on the island, a visit to The Sandbox means a chance to scale and slide the two-story sandcastle, launch their own aircraft in the flight lab, exploring biomes at the 3D interactive sand table, or design in the STEM lab. For mainland kids, the Tanger location also provides these experiences as well as an opportunity to weave on the weaving wall or spend time putting together a puzzle in the puzzle room.

You probably don’t need much convincing either. After all, at The Sandbox you’re not just watching them feed money into an arcade machine or gorge themselves on junk food, you’re fostering in them a life-long curiosity about the world around them and giving them the tools to explore it fully. You’re scoring some serious parenting points, and you can breathe easy knowing that you’re not going to hear them tell you they’re bored. Far from it. If anything, you’re going to have to drag them out at closing time.

The point being, a trip to The Sandbox shouldn’t be one of those things you really need a reason for. That said, you should plan your next trip around one of the fantastic special events and incredible programs that The Sandbox has rolled out.

“We’re really grateful to the grants and the community partners who have allowed us to fund these programs for children in the community who might not have otherwise had this access,” said Sandbox Executive Director Nancy Fish.

These special events are legion. Running throughout the school year, a monthly Family Fun Night sponsored by a grant from The Bargain Box lets the whole gang enjoy a night of free play at the museum. These monthly open houses are held on the first Friday of the month on the island and the second Saturday at Tanger. The Breedlove Foundation helped reduced fees for a special “sensory friendly time” one Saturday a month on Hilton Head aimed at accommodating children who might need a quieter environment to learn. And the Tanger location has a weekly bi-lingual story time and STEM activity time.

That’s to say nothing of the pop-up events that bring out some of the community’s best. “We’ll do theme nights with our community partners on Hilton Head that are just wonderful,” Fish said. “This month, the Outside Foundation came through to show off some of our local creatures. And we’ve had the Coastal Discovery Museum come out; the Lions Club did vision screenings; and in November we’ll be running a lantern workshop for the lantern parade.”

And just as the community has shown its largesse by helping The Sandbox create such wonderfully enriching programming, the museum has made sure to pay it forward by giving local kids the opportunity to grow. Through generous grants and donations from their community partners, The Sandbox was able to provide scholarships for local kids to attend summer camp.

Said one family, “The museum is a blessing for my children and myself. I believe they learned more and were able to understand the lessons better … and they can’t wait to attend the summer camp each year.”

That’s not the only way The Sandbox gives back. At both locations, the Discover, Imagine, Grow (D.I.G.) program is a great way for a child who hasn’t attended preschool to get that introduction to a learning setting.

Meeting once a week and geared towards pre-school-aged children, the D.I.G. program takes a child through the language, math and science concepts they’ll need to excel in school. “It’s always hands-on learning, teaching these children the basis of education and using exhibits and materials in museum to reinforce those skills,” Fish said.

And parents, as you can imagine, love the head start it gives their kids. “This helps my child prepare for what school is like,” one parent said. “This program has given him more confidence in being able to be with other kids his age. I love this program and am so grateful.”

If you can’t make it to The Sandbox, don’t worry. They might just bring it to you. “This is festival season, so we’ll be out with our tent at all sorts of events,” Fish said. “We like to bring the activities out so the kids have something to look forward to.”

To learn more, visit thesandbox.org.

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