Mari Dyson of Eden Play takes us through her experiences with sand pits, and why they can be so fantastic for children’s development and sensory skills! Read on to find out more…
“I don’t imagine there is a single Early Years setting in the country that doesn’t have sand play in one format or another as part of its play provision. Sand is, and has always been, a staple in every child’s early play experiences. Well…with the exception of my own that is!
Dad built a sand pit for us in the garden – complete with corrugated plastic cover which hooked up against the wall (“mind fingers!”), and clipped back down to close it afterwards – thus preventing Tiggy the evil Burmese cat from next door getting in!
Soon after its installation, the sand pit was declared a ‘girl free zone’ by my brother!
He and various friends would spend hours in there. Seventies fashion disasters aside (leopard print slippers and bell bottom trousers were really on trend at the time!) the sand pit formed a crucially important part in his early development. It doubled as a construction site, and right there his future career and love of all things engineering was born.
We know that children learn through their senses, and sand play offers a very sensory experience where children can pat, shape, make patterns, learn about textures – and generally just enjoy the experience of being surrounded by the most tactile of substances. Providing them with the right tools helps them to develop spatial awareness and enhances motor skills through manipulation of large and small items in the sand play area. As you’ll already know, making sure your sand play is full of buckets, bowls, scoops, jugs, spoons etc. is as important as the sand itself.
Nowadays sand play comes in many shapes and sizes – everything from simple sand trays to replica Caribbean beaches! That’s certainly true of our sand play designs at Eden Play. Everything from shallow sand tables for sensory and mark making play, to deep sand areas for digging and construction, and full beach recreations complete with boardwalks and grasses.
Let’s celebrate sand this week! Just make sure the girls get the same access to it as the boys – and no slippers (leopard print or otherwise) in the sand play areas please!”