Thursday, 17 February 2011

Simple Sand Play

There are so many great sand toys on the market, but some of the best items I’ve used for sand play are found around the house.

We’re really fortunate to have a small sand table for Minnie to use outside & inside, but sometimes we use her old baby bath, or an old washing up bowl for sand play too, these are a great size for indoor play (& newspaper can be placed underneath to protect carpet if necessary). In the summer we use the baby bath outside for soil & muddy play as it’s a good size for mixing, burying things in, splashing in, & sitting in! Oh, & easy to wash clean up too!!

Minnie has a box of toys she uses for sand play, and although she enjoys her sand/water wheel & other sand toys, I love watching how much more her imagination seems to flourish when just a few simple items are added to the sand.

Yesterday I added a few pebbles, dried butter beans & shells, & it wasn’t long before Minnie was making a cake! She mixed (stirred) the sand using a large shell as a spoon, then decorated it with the dried beans & pebbles before finding a candle (from her sand play box) & placing it on the top. She then sang “Happy Birthday” to her cuddly rabbit, before mixing it all up & making more cakes. Happy days!

Other items we've used for sand play include:
A tea strainer,
Spoons of various sizes,
Kitchen towel tubes
Birthday candles
Small watering can,
Plastic teapot & teacups,
Icing sugar shaker, empty salt/pepper pot,
Draining spoon,
Cupcake cases,
Different sized bottles & bottle tops,
Jugs & clear containers in various sizes,
Old toothbrush & paintbrushes,
Old socks & rubber gloves
Rolling pin,
Large beads,
Coffee filter papers.

I leave a small assortment so Minnie is not too overwhelmed by what’s on offer, although I leave other items in a box nearby so she has the freedom to choose more if she wishes.

Sand is great for sensory play, & by offering a selection of materials children are able to explore all its properties. It’s really interesting to observe the objects that children choose to explore with the sand & how they use them, although not always in the way you’d predict. Have fun!
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