Education Station Archive

Sand Play Is Good for Everyone

Children have enjoyed and benefited from playing in the sand for years. It is a pleasurable, no pressure activity where children rarely doubt their ability to play and create. Children almost always feel satisfied and successful with the sand sculptures they’ve created. Sand play can be a way for children to release feelings and stress. For many it can be form of meditation and provide balance from a hectic day.
The following are some of the benefits to sand play:

• Tactile senses are soothed and calmed
• It involves many choices
• Few are frightened by it
• It builds trust
• Children gain understanding by their experiments and experiences
• It encourages informal conversation between peers
• Children have the opportunity to engage in a deep conversation and interaction
• It permits children to work privately and reach a deep level of imagination
• No language or developed talent is necessary
• Encourages children to work together and help one another
• Helps children to express their feelings

Materials you can add to the sand area: toy trees, flowers, bushes, fences, bridges, gates, buildings, animals, people, helpers (nurses, doctors, firemen, police, and their vehicles), transportation objects, monsters, villains, heroes, warriors, etc. Pipe cleaners, string, paper, marbles, fabric, rocks, pebbles, feathers, shells, old costume jewelry, golf tees, etc. * Caution - materials should be age appropriate and do not present a choking hazard.

Recommendations for sand play:
• Sand play should not be taken away as punishment or given as a reward. It should always be treated as
an option.
• Remove children from the sand area when they throw sand or materials with the promise they can
return and play again the next day.
• Protect the child’s sand creation from destruction by other children whenever possible.
• When the child id done with their sand creation, look at it and ask if there is a name or story that they
want to tell you about it. Write a description.
• Do not force comments but accept any that are shared.
• Do not put the child in the position of pleasing you. Non-judgmental acceptance is crucial.
• Take a photograph of the sand creation to establish a unique bond between you and the child.
• Never interpret a sand creation, be accepting and receptive to anything the child chooses to say.
• Sandboxes need to be constructed to permit drainage so that they are not a breeding ground for insects
or mold and bacteria growth.
• Use sand labeled as a safe play material specifically prepared for sandbox use.
• Sandboxes should be covered with a lid or other tight covering when they are not in use to be kept free
from cat or other animal excrement.
• Sandboxes should be regularly cleaned of foreign matter.
• Sand should be replaced as often as necessary to keep the sand visibly clean and free of inappropriate