There are so many benefits of sandpit play for children. It is not only fun and engaging it is also incredibly beneficial for children’s development.
If you ask most of the children at preschool what activity they like the best, they will usually name the sandpit as their very favourite. Children just love scooping, digging, building sandcastles, mixing sand with water, and cooking.
Sandpit play is such a fun open-ended activity that also promotes wonderful developmental benefits. Some of these benefits are
- Sensory Development
- Gross Motor Development
- Fine Motor Development
- Develops Social Skills
- Develops Creativity and Imaginary play
- Language Development
- Social and Emotional
Children can explore their sense of touch by playing with sand. Additionally, they can also learn about important things like temperature. Children will be able to feel the warm sand that has been under the sun compared to cooler sand that has been under shade.
Mixing sand together with water means that children are exploring different textures. Firstly they can discover that wet sand is incredibly sticky whereas dry sand will run through their fingers and feels very grainy.
Gross Motor Development
Movements such as digging, lifting, scooping, pushing, and pouring will give children’s large muscles a great workout. Their little bodies are being strengthened by all these movements.
Children will also come to develop an awareness of their own bodies when they are engaged in the sandpit. They will work out how they can use their bodies to achieve certain tasks such as lifting heavy buckets of sand and tipping it over to make sandcastles.
Fine Motor Development
Children will find controlling a pencil and writing so much easier when they have well-developed fine motor skills. Sandpit play gives children an excellent opportunity to strengthen the smaller muscles in their fingers.
Every time they dig with their fingers or manipulate wet sand to form shapes, they are actually increasing the strength in the smaller muscles found in their hands. Even doing little things like adding details such as small stones, gum nuts, or twigs to their creations means they are using their fine muscles.
Develop Social Skills
Playing in the sandpit is a perfect opportunity for children to develop their social skills. At preschool, we have found that sandpit cooking is a great activity that keeps kids focussed and engaged for a long time.
So we provide the children with pots, pans, cooking utensils, and a play stove. The children have such an amazing time mixing the sand and water together to make everything from soups to cakes!
While they are busy doing this, children are learning important skills about playing cooperatively. They are exchanging ideas and suggestions as well as learning to share and take turns.
Develops Creativity and Imaginary Play
Children really enjoy mixing sand and water. This is such a simple activity that is so beneficial when it comes to helping them develop their imaginations and creative thinking.
Children can create new structures, find new ways to transport the sand around the sandpit. They can also think of new and exciting ways to use the sloppy sand and water they have so joyfully made.
In the sandpit, kids are able to create freely. There is zero pressure to make anything that has a specific result. There is no right or wrong when it comes to sandpit creations. So children will feel a real sense of accomplishment and success no matter what they make in the sandpit.
Children are often chatting with each other when they are busy playing in the sandpit. They might be talking about what they are building or cooking as well as exchanging their ideas.
Sandpit play is a great time for educators or parents to jump on opportunities to help children increase their vocabulary. You can ask them questions about what they are doing or building. This is such a fantastic way to open up two-way conversations with kids.
Interactions such as these while playing in a relaxed atmosphere such as the sandpit are so important. The reason for this is because it gives kids the perfect opportunity to improve their speech and language development.
Social and Emotional
One of the reasons why I love sandpit play for children so much is because it can even get the shyest kid to talk. Sometimes children struggle the first few days or even weeks when they start preschool. They are missing their parents and they really don’t know anybody yet.
The sandpit will often be a place where they can relax. Children can become so engaged in what they are doing that they start to enjoy themselves. This will often lead them to feel safe enough to open up and start talking to their peers and educators.
Playing in the sandpit provides children with so many wonderful learning opportunities. They will be able to learn many important physical skills as well as social skills. Sandpit play gives children a full-body sensory experience as well as a place to socialize and play with their friends. I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the benefits of sandpit play for children.
One Last Thing
If you would like to read about the benefits of playdough in early childhood you can find this here.