Monthly Archives: July 2017

Sand play: A sensory bonanza for little ones

Sand is a toy!  The less a toy does the more a child will learn!

Sand is such a great sensory toy for kids as they explore their sense of touch and play and discover the wonderful texture of sand!

There are hours of fun and learning to be explored with sand as it promotes and DSC_0008encourages imaginative play! Children enjoy touching, feeling and exploring the wonderful textures of the sand.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED?

You will need sand, sand…… glorious sand!  A box filled with bits and pieces, toy animals, recycled items such as toilet rolls, empty bottles and boxes and also a collection of natural items from the garden such as leaves, twigs and stones.

LET’S PLAY :

Playing in the sand can be a great opportunity for children to have unstructured play time. Sand allows and encourages the making and creating of an imaginary world and stories.  Pretend cars travelling though toilet roll tunnels, a frog sitting in a pond and a little doll sun baking on a dried leaf. Whether shaped into castles, dug, dripped, sifted, or buried, sand can take many different forms, thus offering endless opportunities for fun and learning!

Allowing your child to play in the sand by themselves and with others helps them to develop fine motor skills like those necessary to use a small shovel, pull a truck, and build a castle or make different shapes.

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By burying themselves in sand, and feeling their body position within the sand, children are engaging their proprioceptive sense, or the sense of their body relative to space. Writing words in the sand offers a chance to develop language skills. Parents can ask questions to capitalize on the language play that can occur in the sand.

DSC00069Play can also help children develop social skills like problem solving, sharing, and communicating. Sand play offers a limited amount of space and toys for children to share while accomplishing goals they set for themselves like building a castle together.

Mathematical concepts can be developed during sand play by providing children with measuring spoons and cups, containers in a variety of sizes and shapes, balance scales, or counting toys. As you observe children’s sand play, use mathematical terms like more/less; many/few; empty/full; heavy/light. Then challenge children to count how many scoops it takes to fill a container…Sequence accessories by size.

SEPARATION ANXIETY:

One of the benefits of a contained space like a sandbox is that depending on the age of their child, caregivers can supervise children from a short distance and create an independent play experience. This type of natural and casual separation between parent and child can build trust and confidence. As long as children continue to feel safe and are not under the impression they’ve been left behind, brief independent play opportunities can lessen separation anxiety and promote healthy parent-child attachment.

BENEFITS OF SAND PLAY:

  • Development of fine motor skills
  • Eye & hand coordination – watching and doing and coordinating these actions.
  • Promote creativity and imagination through role and developing stories.
  • Sensory- Development of the sense of touch. Feeling and manipulating objects and moulding the sand.
  • Language development – playing with sand is a social activity requiring speaking and listening, also developing vocabulary.  Practising and experimenting with language.
  • Mathematical Skills

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