Learning & Development, Sensory Play

Sand Play Benefits In Early Years

children playing with a sand wall in a sensory playground at school

There’s nothing more lovely than watching children play in the sand for the first time!

Seeing how their eyes widen as they scoop it up and slowly let it trickle through their little fingers is nothing short of magical. Sand play is not only fun but also very beneficial as well, as it provides countless developmental benefits for infants and toddlers alike. Regardless if it’s at the school playground, in a sand pit, at a sand table, or at the beach, playing with sand can offer much more than just a good time!

In this blog, we’ll introduce you to the numerous sand play benefits for your children, and why you should incorporate it into your school’s playground area for them to enjoy.

Benefits Of Sand Play In Early Years

Children are not only learning during themed discussions, or when learning numbers and letters. Actually, they are continuously learning during play, especially throughout their first 6 years of life, when they learn more maths in a sand pit and a sensory box than they do in a lesson on numbers.

One of the most important sand play benefits is its highly therapeutic and relaxing effect, along with the many educational benefits. Our recommendation is to not worry too much about planning any sand play activities in the early years, and instead, make sure that sand and plenty of toys are often available. From there, simply let the little ones use their imagination whilst having fun in their own unique ways. Now let’s take a look at some of the benefits of sand play in greater detail.

Bring the beach fun into your school playground

During the summer months, as the sun shines bright, everyone is looking forward to a trip to the beach, however, why not bring the beach to your play area by adding some Sand Play Equipment units this summer? Children love playing with sand, and with our play units being suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, at Red Monkey Play, we have something for everyone that’s sure to bring the sunshine into your school playground.

Besides the very well-researched aspect that outdoor learning and natural play improve wellbeing, offering kids the opportunity to play outdoors in the sand is a great way for them to engage in unstructured playtime. Be it whilst shaping the sand into glorious castles, dug, dripped, sifted, or buried, sand can take many different forms, thus offering endless opportunities for fun and learning!

Educational benefits of sand play in early childhood

Not only is playing with sand great fun, but it also has loads of great educational benefits for young children.

From learning how to cooperate, sculpt and build, to improving hand-eye coordination, playing with sand is one of the many ways in which you can improve child development with sensory playground equipment. For example, top marks educational resources state that “sand is a wonderful medium for stimulating imaginative play, especially when you introduce dinosaur toys, play people, zoo, or farm animals into the mix.”

Also, children love making patterns in the sand, either with cars or other toy vehicles. If you give them “combs’” of card or plastic with teeth of varying widths, your students will be able to explore pattern making and mark-making in fun and new ways. However, dry sand on trays is great as well for mark-making, as children can use either their fingers or small sticks and brushes, which provides a medium for practicing letters, numbers, shapes, and a wide variety of patterns.

Strengthen children’s key sensory areas

There are three key sensory areas that are strengthened in children through sand play:

Tactile Sense – This is your kids’ sense of touch, pressure, temperature, and detection of vibrations. For example, when they discover the difference between warm sand in the sun and cooler sand in the shade, they’re effectively exercising their tactile senses during play.

Vestibular Sense – This is their ability to understand how their body moves and balances over surfaces. For example, kneeling in the sand with a shovel in their hand helps them understand how to move their weight around without falling over.

Proprioceptive Sense – This is their awareness of their body and how it works in their surroundings. When they navigate a crowded room or walk on an uneven surface without looking down, those are examples of how their proprioceptive and vestibular senses work together. Pushing a toy truck through the sand or pouring sand from a bucket are great examples of activities that strengthen these senses in children.

Sand play boosts immunity

If you’re the type of teacher or parent that fears the idea of your children getting dirty, you’re not alone!

Keeping them healthy and tidy is all part of the job, however, research shows that kids who play outdoors in the grass, sand, or dirt develop healthier immune systems than those that are constantly in sterile, indoor environments. Therefore, playing in the sand can actually boost their immunity.

With that being said, it is very important to always check the sand thoroughly, especially when going to the beach, an outdoor playground, or a sandbox, to make sure the sand is free of any potential debris like broken glass. Also, check for animal droppings or anything else that could produce harmful bacteria, and in case the sand smells funky or appears to be an odd color, it’s probably best to skip the sand play that day! But to stay on the safe side, installing special sand play equipment for children to play is the best choice.

Looking For Sand Play Equipment?

At Red Monkey Play, we have many sand play equipment options that you can choose from, including the freestanding Sensory Box, made from the highest-quality play grade timber, and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. With a lift-off lid to keep the sand dry and to make sure animals stay out, it’s a no-fuss, no-mess play unit that’s a perfect introduction to sand play.

Now that you know the many sand play benefits, why not bring the beach play that all kids adore to your school or nursery this summer, whilst soaking in the sunrays and warm breeze? You can contact our experienced and friendly team at Red Monkey Play, and they’ll be glad to help you! You can either email us at hello@redmonkeyplay.co.uk or call our Leicester office on 0116 366 9922 to book a FREE consultation!

In the meantime, check out our Buyer’s Guide To Sensory Play Equipment, and our article on Best Ideas For Outdoor Play In Early Years for more valuable information and inspiration.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *