Sand has a wonderful texture, most of the time, that is. It does not feel so good in socks or inside shoes. The rest of the time, the feel of sand is appealing to kids and this can be used for learning some kindergarten readiness basics, such as letters.
While learning the letters of the alphabet is not a requirement for all kindergarten programs, some familiarity and letter knowledge will help every child. Children learn by watching–visual, by listening–auditory, and by doing–kinesthetic. Some children will find one style of learning much easier than the others. To learn letters, the best approach is to use all 3 styles in lots of different ways: singing, reading books, puzzles, chalk drawing on the sidewalk, rolling them in play-dough, noticing them on signs, etc. Sand is a fun material for practicing letters. Parents and caregivers can make their own letters by cutting them out of sand paper. This is much less expensive than buying them, but will take the sharp edge off scissors. Another way is to squirt glue in the shape of letters onto thick paper and drizzle sand onto the glue. When dry, the letters feel both smooth and bumpy.
Using sand to practice letters adds an element of texture. It makes learning letters much more concrete–pardon the pun. In the sandbox, you may ask your child to draw letters with fingers or even toes. Readiness for kindergarten all the way to your socks! Do you know of other ways to have fun learning letters?