But before I filled the sandbox, I did some research and found a lot of people advocating for rice instead of sand. Something about inhaling the tiny particles of sand, and also that it is easier to clean off of a body than sand... I had no reason to doubt their expertise. So, I went out and bought a big bag of rice (cheap rice, at least).
It really was nice that it didn't stick to sweaty arms and legs the same way sand does. And I actually loved it... for all of two weeks.
Then, one day, when I pulled off the lid, I was met with a foul-smell and quickly discovered that the rice had somehow gotten wet and was rotting. A few days before, we'd had a big storm that seemed to send the rain sideways, and I'm pretty sure that's how the rice got wet. And I quickly saw why sand beats out everything else any day of the week. I'm only writing this because some of you may have seen those great ideas on Pinterest of riceboxes (like me), but unless you figure out a way to keep it sealed air tight, don't waste your time or money.
As you can imagine, I had to scoop out the rice and clean the box all up. Thankfully, Nora was content to play in the dirt beside me. It is now full of sand, and she still does not like to get inside. She finds other ways of playing with it -- like carrying handfuls over to the water table. Not quite what I'd envisioned, but if she's happy, then I am too.
I'm noticing how terrible the quality of these phone pics are. Gross.