My youngest daughter tends to be on the active side but playing in the sand always calms her down. While sand play provides a soothing sensory experience, it is also provides social skills, physical development, creative and imaginative play skills.
- Social: Sand play is a very social type of play. Have you ever noticed that whenever one child is goes into the sand box, suddenly a group forms. Sand play encourages working together as a team to build something while engaging in conversation and sharing ideas as well as toys.
- Physical Development: As children are busy digging, sifting, scooping and pouring sand they are developing large & small muscle control and eye hand coordination.
- Creative and Imaginative play skills: While building and role playing, children work on creative and imaginative skills. You can further the learning experience by going beyond the normal sand toys and introducing cars, plastic animals, dinosaurs, little people toys, combs etc.
You can work on math skills by simply bringing measuring cups and counting with your child as they fill the cups up. Promote pre-writing skills by giving them a rock or using their fingers to write/trace their name, letters and numbers in the sand.
Sand is such an awesome toy. The less a toy does the more opportunities your child has to explore, think and learn.
If you want an at home option for sand play (without the entire sand box) you can buy Kinetic sand or better yet, make your own sand. You can enhance the soothing experience by adding a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil. Here’s the recipe for Moon Sand from doTERRAblog.com. I cut the recipe by half, it’s easy, inexpensive and my girls loved making it.
8 cups flour
1 cup vegetable oil – I had a Mediterranean oil blend on hand and it worked fine.
8-10 drops Lavender essential oil
1. In large bowl combine all ingredients.
2. Mix with hands until well combined. You may need to add more vegetable oil until you reach a moldable consistency.