The Importance of Sand Play

As we prepare for summer time play...sand is critically important.  BUT WHY?

A sandbox is a very popular place for children to play. To the common eye it just looks like fun yet so much more is going on. As the children play, many types of learning and skill building are occurring:

1. Social & Emotional Domains:  Increases sensitivity to others through cooperative activities, learning social skills, to handle exclusion and dominance, and share ideas with others.  Playing together in the sandbox requires sharing, compromise, negotiation, problem solving, and turn-taking. The children work together and solve conflicts as they decide what kind of pretend play to engage in, for how long and what the roles will be.

2. Cognitive Domain: Increases critical thinking skills including memory and problem solving, planning skills, academic attitudes, creativity, and divergent thinking skills. There are many ways for young children to explore using simple tools. Have them observe the size of the openings in sieves and funnels. Compare large ones and small ones and explore which catches the most stones and shells and which lets sand through the fastest.

3. Creativity/Imagination skills: Sand offers the children unlimited space in which to imagine and create. With sand as their canvas, builders, artists or inventors take risks and try out new perspectives.

4. Language skills: The children express their imaginative ideas to each other, which develops their language skills.

5. Hand-eye coordination: The children develop better control over their small muscles as they practice manipulating the sand toys such as funnels, shovels, and trucks. This is a pre-writing skill. 

6. Science skills: Sand is the perfect medium for exploring science concepts and scientific thinking. Study of MATTER...What happens when water is added to sand? What kind of sand is best for building? The children naturally explore and make many scientific discoveries along the way. Young children are naturally curious and love to investigate, question, and hypothesize.

7. Math skills: Measuring and pouring allow the children to experience and reinforce basic math concepts of more and less, full and empty, heavy and light and counting.

Sand play is fun BUT also filled with learning!

Post by Steve Zwolak