2 years old

Benefits of Sand Play


We love sand play, it's such a fun way to keep the kids busy playing outside in the summer. And they have no idea how much they're benefiting from it, but they're learning and developing so many skills as they play and explore.

We've got a great wooden sandpit in our garden that the kids can use any time they like.  I used to have a plastic one and only bring it out occasionally but they both love playing in the sand so much that it makes sense to have a really lovely sandbox that they can use anytime, that is really sturdy and that looks really nice in the backyard too.


We love all sorts of sensory play and sand is definitely a favourite.  Who doesn't love that feeling of sand slipping through your fingers.  I can see the kids both picking up handfuls of sand and watching it trickle down back into the sandpit.  It's a great material that they can get their hands in and really explore, and yet it doesn't seem messy to them.  Even children who don't love mess will often play in the sand as it's so easy to just brush their hands off when they're finished.  So it is a great stepping stone to more sensory and messy play and gives the kids a great opportunity to explore the sense of touch and can lead to great conversations about what the sand feels like as they play with it.

Filling and Spilling

Ivy can spend hours just filling up containers with things and then pouring them back out. It's definitely a common toddler pass time as it helps them to figure out the materials that they're working with and learn more about how they work.

As Ivy fills up her bucket with sand she's developing her hand eye coordination getting that shovel right up to the bucket so that the sand doesn't spill out (too much!) She's learning about spacial awareness as she sees how much sand she can fit into that bucket and then she's learning about gravity as she dumps that sand back into the sandpit!

Watching it change

Another great thing to do with sand is to add water to it and observe how it changes.  I like to add just a little bit of water to one side of our sandpit and let the children mix it in with their hands and tell me about how it feels different.  Then we still have half a sandbox of dry sand that we can pour through our fingers and half a sandbox of wet sand that we can mould into different shapes.  It's another great time for discussion about how the water changed the sand into a different material that is now capable of making sand castles when before the sand would just slip down.

Adding educational toys

There are so many different sand toys available that go way beyond the typical bucket and spade (although of course we have many of those as well!) we absolutely love these letter sand moulds that we've had for a few years and the kids can play with in a variety of different ways.  They start looking for the letters of their name straight away, then spell their names in the sand.  Then I can ask Ethan to find specific letters or to tell me the sounds of the letters that he's playing with.  This would also work really well with shapes and we would love to get some 3D shape sand moulds as well.

Playing together

I find that Ethan and Ivy play really play well together in the sand, they share their toys and negotiate exchanges for what they need next.  They also come up with tasks that they can work on together like building a sand castle or making a tower of their sand toys.  They do great problem solving and collaborative play, they make plans talk to each other about what they're doing.  It really is lovely to watch as it strengthens the bond between them.

There are an infinite number of ways to play in the sand and the kids really do love and keep busy for ages.  How do your little ones like to play in the sand?

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