Learning through Play with sand

Sand play can encourage, enhance and inspire learning in an unstructured, sensory way. All you need is a weather-proof sandbox and some dry play sand or kinetic sand for slightly more mess-free indoor play! Once you are all set up, allow your child free play and see where their imagination takes them.

Ideas for sand play

  • Practise writing letters, numbers, shapes or even simple words in the sand using your fingers or a stick – then ‘wipe’ them away using your hands.
  • Imagine the sandbox is a desert and drive toy cars and trucks across the ‘dunes’.
  • Bury your hands and feet!
  • Build sandcastles by filling up a bucket or cup with sand, flipping it over and gently tapping the top to release the sand. Carefully remove the bucket so that it doesn’t fall then decorate it with stones, shells, sticks – anything you can find.
  • Scoop out the sand around your castle to build a moat – then fill it with water!
  • Move piles of sand from one area of the sand pit to another. Try different tools – a spoon, a sieve, a hand – to see what happens.
  • Use a small shovel and dig a hole – then bury some treasure!
  • Hide several items in the sand pit – then search for them.
  • Play with plastic toys such as dinosaurs and pretend to have gone back in time.
  • Create a construction site with small diggers that need to create a park. You could use sticks for trees and stones for seats. Do you have any lego or playmobil people? Add them to the park too.
  • Smooth out an area of sand and make imprints with different objects – hands flay, hands as fists, sticks, toy dinosaur feet or bodies, upside-town cups, toy car wheels, forks... the list is endless.

Playing with sand in this way is particularly helpful for building a child’s self-confidence as well as encouraging their co-ordination and muscle development. Working with a friend or playing with a parent or carer allows a child to practise teamwork. This kind of activity also helps children understand the basics of science – they discover how tools such as shovels and buckets work.

3+ years
Packshot image of Miles Kelly's Get Set Go Flashcard Set. This set contains four packs of flashcards – Letters flashcards, Numbers flashcards, Animals flashcards, and Colours and Shapes flashcards. The boxes are very bright, colourful and have a special sparkly effect.
An image of an animal flashcard from Miles Kelly's Get Set Go Animals Flashcards set. There is an image of a
Get Set Go Flashcards Set
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