A properly located and provisioned sandbox can be a great attraction for neighborhood kids and their parents. Unlike many sandboxes, which are hidden away in a fenced-in back yard, ours is next to our driveway, just ten feet from the sidewalk. We’ve told neighbors that they can use it any time, regardless of whether we’re around. Also, I’ve gotten my older boys (now 7 and 3-1/2) to bury all sorts of buried treasures in there – low-value foreign coins that I bought on EBay in bulk, sea shells the we collect on trips, and rocks.

As a result, many neighbor kids have made a habit of stopping by our sandbox to play. My kids love this because it provides them with a constant stream of playmates. You can read more about how I’ve made our whole front yard into a neighborhood family room in this article on Playborhood.com.

We’re thrilled to introduce our new weekly contributor Mike Lanza, founder of Playborhood, a blog (and soon-to-be-released book) that shows parents how to give their children a life of neighborhood play. Mike writes about how he’s done this for his three boys, ages 7, 3-1/2, and 2, in his Menlo Park, CA neighborhood, and he also writes about other playful neighborhoods throughout the US.