Last week my friend popped around with her six children to see how our homeschooling was going.
While we enjoyed a cuppa and a chat, the kids got busy! We sat and watched as all nine kids worked together to build a volcano. This involved building and collecting water from the rainwater tank to make the sand nice and wet. It also gave the appearance of a volcano for a few short seconds while they squealed with delight.
Why is sand good for kids?
- Sand play promotes physical development. Large muscle skills develop as children dig, pour, sift, scoop and pat as well as small muscle skills.
- Sand play is good for eye-hand coordination and small muscle control which improves as children learn to manipulate sand accessories.
- Maths concepts can be developed during sand play through the use of measuring cups and spoons and different sized containers. Kids learn concepts such as heavy/light and empty/full.
- Sand also develops social skills such as teamwork including sharing, negotiating and compromising.
- It also stimulates creativity and the basis for learning science concepts
It's easy to forget that learning takes place naturally when children are given the freedom to play and explore. This was just a playdate with some sand and water but the kids were learning and developing valuable skills.
Piaget (1945) noted that children have an inner drive to build an understanding of their world as they explore and interact with materials like sand! It is through the freedom to play that children develop concepts about how the world works and these develop as children get older.
We can never underestimate how much children can learn through something as simple as the backyard sandpit and a little bit of water!