Now that the Olympic Games include beach volleyball, it’s time to play in the sand. Beaches are fun but not necessary for sand play activities for kids.
Just like water play (see yesterday’s Water Play Activities for Kids), there are many ways for kids to play in the sand. Of course, what could be more fun than digging all day and making sand castles at the beach? Time at the beach is a summer highlight for many families. But kids can make their own small beaches right at home.
Some fortunate kids have an entire sandbox in their backyard. If not, many communities have sandy areas in parks or playgrounds. Even small quantities of sand are fun. Pour some into a container like a big bowl or bin. Spoons, pails, plastic shovels, scoops, cups, and sieves are great tools for scooping, molding, piling, digging, pouring, creating and more.
Sand play is sensory. Most skin on the body enjoys feeling sand. When you think about walking on the beach, do your toes start to curl? (Sand can hurt and irritate eyes so kids may need to be reminded not to throw.) A handful of sand is light, but a pailful is heavy. Ears have to listen closely to hear the sounds of sand when pouring and scooping. Besides touch and hearing, sand stimulates sight too. There’s lots to see even if it’s mostly the same color.
Sand play activities stimulate imaginations. Who lives in the sand castle? There could be kings or dragons. Kids enjoy playing in sand with dinosaurs and small plastic animals. They like to build roads and create towns and cities, or farms and zoos. Children’s actions as they play with sand are often repetitive, such as filling a pail and pouring it out over and over. This serves a tremendously important brain function, allowing some parts to take a break while other parts connect and sort out learning.
Of course, it’s also fun to kick or toss a ball around in the sand. How does your child like to play with sand?