This morning I was watching my two kids having a wonderful time playing in the sandbox. Hank is using his construction toys to scoop up sand on one side and move it to the other. Faith is having a blast using a shovel to scoop sand into a pail and then dumping it out when it is full. It made me smile seeing how happy they were exploring, and it made me remember the fun I had as a child with my own brothers. Do you remember playing in the sand as a child? Whether it was at the beach or in your own backyard, sandbox fun has been a staple in childhood.
Since Hank was little he has loved to play in the sand, and now that she is old enough, so does Faith. By chance, we have neighbors that gave us a HUGE sandbox for our backyard to use during the summer. We are also fortunate that my brother gave us a big tractor tire sandbox for our garage to use on a rainy day and during the cold weather. And if that wasn’t enough, we have a tabletop sandbox (just a tub with play sand inside) that we use inside as well. Needless to say, not a day goes by in our house without one or more of the kids playing in a sandbox.
I don’t mind the sand traipsing in from outside or the garage since I know that sand play promotes an abundance of learning and skill building opportunities. When I was teaching preschool I always made sure that we had either sand or water play available for the children each day to enhance development in many ways:
- Physically through eye-hand coordination and fine and gross motor skills.
- Cognitively through creativity, investigation, observation, problem solving, and expanding math, language, and science concepts.
- Socially through cooperation, sharing, taking turns, communication.
Sand play can also be emotionally beneficial to children. I know that when my son is upset, sometimes sandbox time is just what he needs. Playing in the sand calms him down and lets him work out his frustration. It is a coping mechanism for him that really seems to work.
Making The Most of Sand Play from Early Childhood News – a good article called that explores the role of sand play in a classroom, the teacher’s role, and a nice list of suggested accessories for sand play.
Extensions Newsletter from Highscope – this issue contains great information on using sensory play (including sand) with children.
Have a Great Week!