Erev Shabbos--Halachos of Shabbos series by reprinting several more summer questions and answers from HaRav Belsky, Shlita:
May children play with toys that make noise on Shabbos?
Many poskim are of the opinion that any child above the age of four or five should be taught not to play with toys that make noise on Shabbos. Those children under this age are permitted to play with such noise-making toys (e.g., talking dolls, talking games, etc.). However, as stated above, one should not hand it directly to the child. If the child is crying, one is permitted to give the toy to him directly. However, care should be taken that when one gives it to the child, one should not cause the toy to make noise.
Is a child permitted to play in a sandbox on Shabbos?
Normally, it is prohibited to play with sand on Shabbos, as it is muktzah. However, sand that is in a sandbox is not deemed muktzah because it has been designated for this type of play. Therefore, a child may play in a sandbox on Shabbos. However, water should not be used in the sand due to issur of Losh
Is a child permitted to play with Erector sets, Legos and other construction-type toys and games?
Any toy that needs to be screwed together is prohibited because of the issur of Boneh. Therefore, one may not play with a construction set on Shabbos. On the other hand, because one merely sticks together the pieces, one is permitted to play with Legos, Tinkertoys and the like on Shabbos.
Is a child permitted to swing on a swing attached to a tree on Shabbos? or to go to sleep in a hammock on Shabbos?
One is permitted to use a swing on Shabbos which is suspended from a swing frame. A swing that is suspended from a tree, however, poses a problem. One may use such a swing only if A) the swing is attached indirectly to the tree, e.g. it is suspended from hooks that are attached to the tree, B) the tree is sturdy enough that it will not shake when the swing is being used, and C) the swing must be attached to the hooks before Shabbos. In contrast, a swing that is attached to a door post may be attached and detached on Shabbos and it is not considered Boneh.
In some bungalow colonies, a tire is attached to a tree. A person may not swing from it on Shabbos unless it is attached as described above.
Is a child under Bar or Bas Mitzvah permitted to ride a bike, Big Wheel or roller skates/blades in an area containing an Eruv?
Young children may ride on bicycles, tricycles, Big Wheels and the like, however, older children should be discouraged from doing so on Shabbos.
Are children under Bar or Bas Mitzvah permitted to play ball on Shabbos in an area containing an Eruv? What about Ping Pong?
Young children are permitted to play ball on Shabbos, but, they must be careful not to play near the road or near the end of the Eruv where it is possible that the ball may roll outside the Eruv. Ping Pong is permitted on Shabbos.