One of the things we did to prepare our townhouse for sale is remove clutter. Some friends who live nearby and have a garage allowed us to store some of our junk, well, valued treasures really. To give our patio a "spacious" appearance, the sand and water table was one such item to be relocated.
On Friday, these dear friends invited us over for burgers. On their patio is a lovely sand and water table only they had removed the sand and added rice instead. What a beautiful idea! The sand is terribly frustrating to remove from their children's hair (they have 3 kids under 2; one set of twins.) I'm not sure if rice would work in sticky climates but it's perfect for the desert. Rice doesn't create more dust!
below: look at the concentration on Sophia's face. It was really fun to watch her play in the rice.