When are you to old to play with sand? Who doesn't like playing with sand? Don't wait for a visit to the beach before you have a chance to play. Have some ready at home.
Most children love playing with sand if given half the chance, no matter what their age. Science, maths and creativity is involved when you play with sand.
There are so many benefits to a child's learning and development just by playing with sand. There are so many starting points for discussion.
To read more about the benefits of sensory play then click on this link.
Now, he is being home-educated, Tiny has more chance to just play and relax with some sand. This is one of the things he likes to do to relax and de-stress. You might think he's too old at nine to be playing with sand - but is he? I don't think so. I think it brings out his creative side. It also brings out his inquisitive side.
What is he learning while he plays?
Creativity: He can explore when playing with sand. He can invent landscapes and worlds to be part of. He can explore patterns and spaces using tools. He can create (sand castles and much more)
Science: Mixing and combining ingredients. Properties of materials. Changing materials (what happens when you add water?). Mixing colours.
Maths: Following recipes. Counting out ingredients.
There is no right or wrong way to play with sand. This makes the whole experience very enjoyable. But it's not just sand - there is Moon Sand and Cloud Dough and many more. Now that Tiny is older, he helps me making all different types sensory play based things. It's great for his concentration and reading skills.
These are just some of the things he likes to do with sensory play.
You can make castles.
You can pour it.
You can see if it goes through the holes.
You can hide things in it. (pirates love doing this)
You can fill buckets up and tip them into other buckets.
You can let it run through your fingers. (Does it act like water?)
You can make it different by adding water.
You can make it different by adding colour and glitter.
You can mix the colours to find out what happens.
You can create a scene for an animation film. (A great backdrop for an alien invasion film)
Talk about what's happening while your playing. Look closely at the sand. What does it look like? What is it made of? Where does it come from?
Don't worry if there is a question that you can't answer - look it up on the internet. More learning.
There are some great recipes for MOON SAND
Here is just one of them.
4 cups play sand
2 cup corn flour (corn starch in US)
1 cup water
2 tbsp coloured powder paint
huge sprinkling of glitter
Now for the fun bit.
Mix the sand and cornflour in a large bowl until combined.
Start to add the water a little at a time. Mix it as you go. By the end it should be well combined and the consistency is like a crumbly pastry mix. (If it doesn’t hold together when formed in a ball then add a tiny bit more water until it feels right).
Next, stir through the colours, using as many as you like. It's nice to half the mixture and make two different colours.
Here is a recipe for Cloud Dough
Now this one is even easier.
All you need is
One cup of baby oil
Eight cups of flour
Just mix both ingredients up in a large bowl.
I found it best when clearing away to put the mixture in a zip lock bag. It will keep for a while - but always check it before using again.
And of course there is just plain old sand. Whatever you use, I am sure a lot of fun and learning will be had.
And as a recap, just look at all the learning that is taking place just by playing with sand. There is physical development, science investigation, maths and communication.
Sand is not that expensive and you don't need to have a great big sand pit. If you don't have outside space for your child to play, get a large plastic box with a lid - or a cat litter tray.
Make sure you train your child to sweep away the sand when they have finished playing so that it can go back in the box for another day.
Play with sand with your children. I know me and Tiny will carry on playing, and waiting for the summer when we can go to the beach to play some more.
As always - Have Fun.