Toddlers love to play, especially if it’s messy! Playing with your toddler and making a mess can be both fun and rewarding, but also can create some great learning opportunities. Sand is fun to use. It offers unlimited tactile, building and make-believe opportunities. Children can dig, sift, build, pour and explore with sand. Sand is a great way for children to use their imagination. It also helps develop their fine and gross motor skills by digging, pouring, scooping and sifting the sand.
Here are some examples of ways to use sand in play:
- Take artificial flowers and “plant” a garden in your sandbox.
- Have a treasure hunt in the sandbox. Bury cars, blocks, small balls and pieces of twine. Have your child use a kitchen strainer of her hands to find them.
- Build sand cities using boxes and containers on top of watered-down sand.
- Use blocks to build roads, then plant homemade flags or fences.
- Bring a plastic tea set outside and have tea parties, serving sand cookies.
Sand play can be the perfect opportunity to further the development of the minds and bodies of children. No matter the age or development level of the child, sand offers an opportunity to explore and experiment in a safe and inviting environment. From stretching the imagination to teaching mathematical and scientific concepts, playing in the sand enhances the imaginations and social skills of children. So go outside or bring the sand inside, either way, have fun!