The Benefits of Sand Play For Children

23 May, 2024

Children love playing with sand because it feels lovely and can be moulded into just about anything. Despite our best efforts, some sand does seem to end up going home in kid’s shoes but, we promise, it is worth the mess. Sand is tactile, versatile and offers so many learning opportunities.


What is sand play for children?

Sand play is, quite simply, playing with sand. It’s a type of sensory play that engages a child’s sense of touch, as well as sight and sound. Occasionally it engages their sense of taste too, but we definitely discourage that!


What are the benefits of sand play for children?

Sand play helps children develop language and motor skills, encourages experimentation and problem solving and improves children’s social interactions.


Sand play stimulates the senses and encourages exploration

Playing with sand benefits children by encouraging exploration, curiosity and experimentation with different textures and materials. Children love to feel sand slipping through their fingers and in between their toes. They will spend ages moulding and shaping sand and adding water to explore how its texture changes and how that impacts its ability to form sandcastles.


Sand play improves fine motor skills 

Sand play can enhance hand-eye coordination and help develop fine motor skills as children pour, scoop, sift and shape it. Using sandpit tools and toys when playing with sand benefits children’s grip strength and builds strength in their hand muscles, getting them ready for writing at school.


Sand play encourages imagination and creativity 

Sandplay benefits children’s ability to engage in imaginative play as children mould the sand into different shapes and sizes. They can create anything they desire – from landscapes and castles to roads for driving their toy trucks and cars.


Sand play improves problem-solving skills

One of the benefits of sandplay is how it encourages children to solve problems and make decisions while collaborating with other children through play. In the sandpit, children negotiate who can use toys and tools next and practice sharing and taking turns.


Sand play helps emotional wellbeing

Sandplay therapy can be a tool for children who are feeling upset or stressed. Children can use toys in sand to act out scenarios and express their emotions, which can help them to calm down, process their feelings and feel more relaxed.


Sand play connects children to their environment

Sandplay benefits children by connecting them with nature. It prompts discussion about where sand is found in the natural environment and how we can keep it clean. At Edge Early Learning, we weave in messages about conservation and sustainability when it is relevant to children’s play to help connect them to the natural world.


How to start sand play at home

Parents and caregivers can encourage sandplay at home in a backyard sandpit, water/sand table or even just a large plastic container from the kitchen. You can add beach buckets and spades or raid your kitchen drawer for cups and scoops.


Sand play at Edge Early Learning

Our educators value sand play as a rich form of sensory play. We link it to our educational programs and encourage children to give it a try.



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