This DIY gravel pit is one of our favorite fun indoor activities for kids! Especially little boys who love construction vehicles or trains!
An insanely easy to put together indoor activity for kids that keeps them entertained for hours, this gravel pit is a winner! There are few tricks to make this the best experience possible, that I will get into in just a second!
My son is one of those kids, maybe you have one too, who is kind of difficult to hook into one activity.
Oh, he’ll play trains or cars or Legos for hours… if we’re playing with him. But when it comes to alone play time, we’re really only up to about 15-20 minutes.
I’ve been on a never-ending bout of experiments to try and find an indoor activity that he will really love for a long period of time.
Call it desperation, call it the reality of a work-from-home-mom… whatever, I needed something to keep him happy and engaged for at least an hour.
Well, the answer came to me in the most unexpected form! My husband. Ha! 🙂
A few weeks ago he came out of the garage with a box of small gravel pieces. They were for a model building project he had done years ago, and he thought our son might like to play with them.
He poured them out on a card table and told our son he could play with them.
Cut to 3 HOURS later, and all the construction vehicles from around the house were STILL being used in the gravel pit by our thrilled 4 year old.
We were shocked and amazing at the discovery!!
Three weeks later, and this activity has been pulled out three times a week with the exact same results.
Hours of alone play, and mommy gets to work 🙂
DIY Gravel Pit
While you can just dump the gravel on a table and let your kids go to town, you’ll have a much better time if you follow these two tips!
Tip Number One:
Wash the gravel. I know this may seem odd, they’re rocks. However, they are very DUSTY rocks, so washing them is going to save you a lot of trouble later on.
If not washed, you will have gravel dust all over your child, their clothes, the table, their toys, and up their sinuses.
We were clearing gray boogers for a full day after our first play session.
Fortunately, washing the rocks is super easy. Just throw them in a fine mesh strainer and rinse until the water is clear.
From there, place them on paper towel lined baking trays to dry. The drying process takes about 3 hours inside, but it would be much shorter out in the sun!
You’ll want to repeat this process every 3-4 play sessions because as the gravel grinds against itself more dust will be generated.
Tip Number Two:
Get a dedicated storage tub. While we started out just using the table top, it’s much easier to contain the gravel in a tub.
We were able to salvage an old storage tub that was holding ancient electronics cords (ha, doesn’t everyone have a box like that?) to re-use for the gravel pit.
It has a lid, so we can just slip it under a bed and pull it out easily for a quick game!
Using a tub instead of just dumping it out on the table also has the added benefit of keeping the gravel from spilling all over the ground.
Be sure to get a large enough tub so that play is still fun! Our tub is 24×18″ and it works perfectly!
You’ll also want to wipe off or wash any toys after they are played with in the gravel, so they don’t track dust through the house. Enjoy!!