Day 24 | 30 Days to Transform Your Play
Time for a little play. Today we are talking about sand.
I think sand can be a little like playdough; it’s a classic childhood experience and so we tend to have an idea about what kinds of play happens in the sandpit. Building sandcastles, making roads with construction vehicles, filling old muffin tins with pretend cupcakes…and as such we tend to provide our children with materials which fulfil those views of sand play.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this kind of play however just like the plastic playdough tools, so too can plastic sandpit toys restrict our children’s creative expression and play.
We have a sandpit. A really lovely one; nice and deep but Jack and Sarah just didn’t play in there anymore. The sandpit had become neglected. I needed to make some changes.
Improving a Sand Pit
Switch cheap plastic sandpit toys for ones which promote open-ended exploration
Choose materials which inspire inventing, creating, discovering and experimenting. Most of our new materials are recyclables and junk materials from the tip shop:
- planks of wood
- long handled child-sized shovels
- natural loose parts – rocks, pinecones, sticks, shells, pebbles
Add some water
- access to a hose
- deeper sand meant more opportunity to dig, build, sculpt and play
- animal figurines
- gardening tools – shovels, forks
- people figurines
- fabric scraps and old silk scarves
- kitchen utensils – wooden spoons, sieves, spatulas, cutlery, jugs, cups, pots and pans
- watering cans
Materials for clean-up
Sand inside really bugs me. Really! Now we have a small dustpan brush accessible for brushing off little hands and feet
The change in Jack and Sarah’s play has been incredible.
Now they play; they build and invent, they create elaborate play scenes, they build rushing rivers, they have parties with their dolls, they build tunnels and caves… they can play in there all morning. All because I replaced our old plastic and unappealing toys with flexible, open-ended materials.
- Go through your sandpit toys and see how you could improve them by adding some open-ended materials
- Provide access to water
- Display some materials in the sand pit to invite your children to play
- If you don’t have a sand pit, set up a large plastic container or old drawer as a sand tray. Include some small world materials (including natural materials) which will appeal to your child’s interests
If you missed a post, here’s the rest of the series.
Don’t forget to check out Rachel’s posts on Racheous – Lovable Learning