So you may have heard the term, Sand and water play but haven’t actually found out the benefits or the reasons behind why it’s such a great therapeutic tool in your child’s development journey.
In fact, it’s even used in Sand Therapy or Sandplay therapy which is a nonverbal means of communicating one’s struggles within a safe and textured environment to engage the senses.
Although for children and kids, sand and water play is more about basic child development and sensory experiences which is great to introduce at the toddler age group. The feel of the hard sand texture and the wet water provide a new fun experience for children.
There are many ways children can enjoy sand and water play if it’s either a sand and water table, at the beach or you have a sandpit. Explore each option whenever you get a chance and watch your toddlers and small children open up.
5 Benefits Of Sand And Water Play
Sand and water play are great ways to encourage development in young children, providing benefits that come along with great fun and enjoyment. But what are the 5 biggest benefits of sand and water play?
1. Sensory Experience
The texture of sand and the wet refreshing feeling of water are excellent ways to increase a child’s sensory experience as they introduce a variety of different textures from soft, hard, slippery and slimy all while using their hands to have great fun at the same time. Interaction with a variety of different textures can assist in grounding and calming a child.
2. It’s Great Fun!
Children enjoy getting messy and having fun, water and sand play allows this to happen and children can spend hours in and about a sand and water table. With added accessories such as spades, boats and shapers they can interact with every bit of sand creating various shapes.
3. Fine Motor Skills
When children interact with objects such as buckets, spades and toy boats or toy cars it helps them develop gross motor skills and can aid in strengthening muscles. The muscles are engaged when moving sand around or gripping the tools and squeezing toy objects that help stimulate and strengthen muscles.
4. Social Skills Development
While children interact with each other they learn to develop much needed social skills, with sand and water play this can be when learning to share the space at a sand and water table or sharing and working together to create something special within the sand using toys and accessories. Assisting each other they develop these social skills and learn co-operation which they can apply to other aspects of day to day life.
5. Express Emotions
Sand and water play is great for encouraging children to show a wide range of emotions, the interaction with the sand can help reduce tension and anxiety all while having fun. It can allow hyperactive children to slow down and take it step by step without getting frustrated as they are in a safe environment. It can also allow introverted children the chance to experience something they feel safe and enjoy doing all while releasing built-up energy.
With sand and water play there are some things you need to be aware of. You need to ensure that the sand is non-toxic and not too coarse so you can provide a safe and fun environment for children to interact and express themselves.
Also, consider that it’s really important to ensure that adult supervision is in place especially when we are talking about water. It’s always best to be safe and while children love interacting with their hands they also love interacting with their mouths so keep an eye out on them.
What products are available for Sand and water play?
We actually created a great resource of the best sand and water play tables. We are always looking for other great ideas to help children’s development. So if you’ve got any ideas please comment below.
References: Psychology Today Website On SandPlay Therapy