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Why sand is super for learning

Five ways to make sand play educational for your child


Posted: 14 May 2012
by Fiona McKim

1. Touch
Playing with sand is a great way for young children to refine their hand-eye coordination as it is a highly sensory material, with a changeable texture. Encourage your toddler to grab, scoop, sift and dig through sand, adding water or using tools. Feeling weight of the sand as well as judging the amount in a pile and how best to grab it will help to develop her fine motor skills.

2. Build
Children love putting their creative flair and imaginations into exciting new projects, so encourage your child to build her dream castle out of ‘blocks’ of damp sand adding other materials such as sticks or flags made with squares of fabric. As well as being an enjoyable pastime this will also  help to develop your child’s problem solving and logic skills, as she determines how to build  towers and turrets up without them crashing back down again.

3. Count
Using cups and other containers to measure out sand and transfer it from one receptacle to another can help to introduce children to some basic counting skills and mathematical concepts such as higher, lower, less and more.

4. Experiment
Try this simple science project to spark your child’s curiosity about the natural world: Take a firm piece of black card and spread a small amount of sand out on it so you can see the individual grains. Ask your child to look through a magnifying glass and describe the different colours and textures she can see, guessing whether they might have been a rock, a piece of coral or glass. Pour a drop of vinegar on to the sand then look again, if it is bubbling, this means it was once part of a living being and could be a piece of shell or bone

5. Cooperate
Playing in a sandpit often means learning to share with other children and work effectively together. It is not usually in a toddler’s nature to want to give up something they have in their possession, so gently encourage your child to pass over the water wheel or spade to her sandpit co-worker. Once she sees great results from her teamwork  in the sand, your child may be inclined to cooperate and share in other areas of her life as well.

More education from Junior:

Five ways to teach colours

Teaching your child a second language


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