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Olympic Games #9: Sand Play Activities for Kids – Beach Optional

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 activities for kids

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.

young children and organized sports

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?

Olympic Games #8: Splash up Some Water Play Activities for Kids

All the Olympic Games excitement in and on the water with medals and new records is splashing up some water play activities for kids.

water play activities

For kids, water play might take the gold medal. In Rio, there are events for diving, swimming, rowing, sailing, and water polo. Just like the Games, there are many different ways for kids to play in and with water. In the summer, a favorite way is to splash and cool off in a pool, small kiddie pools or community ones. Sometimes, grownups can’t resist and will sit close with their feet in. Doesn’t the water feel refreshing?

Kids also enjoy scooping, pouring, measuring, and more as they play in a water table. You can make your own water center using a big container of water on the deck. Add in some small bottles, spoons, pails, cups, and small toys.

water play activities

If there’s too much water happening weather-wise to spend some time outside, run some water in the sink. Kids will probably have to stand on a chair, and there’s an almost certain chance that water will drip on the floor, but it’s not hard to clean up.

Besides all the ways to play, water play activities engage the senses. Certainly, the feel of water on skin stimulates the sense of touch. Water comes with all kinds of sound effects for the sense of hearing. Although water is usually clear, except in Rio when it turned bright green for some of the diving events, there’s still lots to see. The waves and the interaction with light makes patterns, shadows, and movement.

water play activities for kids

As kids explore and play in water, their brains and bodies are busy, but water is also relaxing. Water is especially beneficial to calm anxieties. Adults get spas, kids get water play.

Water rockets, slides, sprinklers, squirters, and water pistols are the opposite of calming. These crank up the excitement and are so much fun. For hot days, spray parks go to the top of the list. Does your child know how to make water balloons?

water play activities for kids

For a play-of-the-day, inside or out, calm or exciting, can your child enjoy some water play activities? Who knows, maybe there are some new Michael Phelps playing in the water?

Olympics #4: Opening Ceremony Inspires Pretend Play Parade

The Olympic Games Opening Ceremony can inspire today’s activity: a pretend play parade and performance with music and dancing. Kids can be Team Imagination.

pretend play parade

Most kids, little and big, love a parade and what could be better than being in one? Like the athletes, they can march around, wave flags, and cheer. Hopefully, the weather where you live will be nice enough so kids can be outside. Part of the fun is being loud.

The Opening Ceremony has a variety of tremendous performances. Countries showcase their history and culture in music and costumes. The athletes who are part of the competition, will march in teams. Being chosen to carry the country’s flag at the head of the team is an honor. For a parade or performance at home, costumes for kids do not have to be elaborate. Check to see if there are some in the dress-up box, or look through the drawers for some brightly colored scarves, sparkly t-shirts, big hats, and sunglasses.

For music, either choose something fun and catchy or put together some homemade instruments. A saucepan lid and wooden spoon make a great, but noisy, drum. A couple of plastic spoons inside two aluminum pie plates stapled together creates a tambourine. Staple or tape on some colored streamers. Humming into a paper towel roll is like playing a flute or horn.

pretend performance

Kids like to showcase what they can do. They might like to show how they can move or dance. Some like to sing songs they know. Although kids are usually clamoring to be the center of attention, it takes self-confidence to perform in front of anyone, even a few family members. When two or more kids get together, they have to watch each other for clues and coordinate what they are doing. While their performance and pretend play parade is not as elaborate as the Opening Ceremony, it’s more important to them. Do you agree imagination and play are worth celebrating too?

Olympic Games #3: Make A Flag Craft for Kids

The Opening Ceremonies for the Olympic Games, where each country’s team will have a flag and flag bearer, inspires this make a flag craft for kids. Last month, both the United States and Canada celebrated their major holiday. For each of these, we made flags. To make a sort of US flag, use a rectangle … Continue reading Olympic Games #3: Make A Flag Craft for Kids

Transportation Activities #15: Touch A Truck Fun

On the weekend, our community had a Touch A Truck event. This was for both Father’s Day and a local fundraiser. What fun for both kids and adults! A dream come true for kids, there were all kinds of trucks: a firetruck, ambulance, garbage truck, big transport truck with eighteen wheels, excavator, two different dump … Continue reading Transportation Activities #15: Touch A Truck Fun

Children’s Drawings Can Show and Tell

Last week was Canada’s turn for a long weekend, Victoria Day. Now, it’s the long weekend in the US for Memorial Day. For both countries, these days are the unofficial start of summer. Similarly, they both have links to historical events and past traditions. Children are very present oriented, which is quite understandable. They don’t … Continue reading Children’s Drawings Can Show and Tell

Super Bowl: Physical Activity for Kids

February has another exciting event this weekend: Super Bowl and Super Bowl reminds us about the importance of physical activity for kids. While the Super Bowl itself has only been around since last century, the history of sports goes back at least as far as Ancient Greece. Throughout the ages, people have understood the benefits … Continue reading Super Bowl: Physical Activity for Kids