Why do it?

  • Playing with sand can be a soothing and relaxing activity, and may help children to unwind and de-stress.
  • It can be a pleasurable solitary activity that a child happily gets involved in. It helps if you set up a few rules — and they know what they are.
  • Sand play can also be enjoyed with or alongside another child, giving opportunities to practise taking turns and co-operating with each other.
  • Playing with sand helps to develop motor skills. Both large and small muscles can be strengthened through digging, filling, sieving and pouring.

How to do it

You’ll need:

  • a suitable play area where spills can be contained and no one is going to get too upset if sand gets spilt or spread around. If the play area is indoors, an old sheet or curtain spread out can catch any spills.
  • a container that’s big enough for a child to put both hands inside when its half full — this can be a large plastic container, or even an empty shoe or cardboard box
  • containers to fill and empty, funnels, sieves, plastic bottles and some small animals or toy people for hiding and finding
  • clothes that it won’t matter if they get dirty.

Instead of sand small pebbles, bark chips or other similar material can be used as an alternative.