The best reasons to get a sandpit
Playing in the sand gives your child the chance to have some unstructured playtime, but a sandpit in your garden also offers lots of other benefits.
In fact, a sandpit can offer lots of opportunities for fun and learn for your child. It can help children develop their motor skills and a sense of their body.
It can also help them develop social skills if they are playing with other children and allow them an opportunity of independent play, under the supervision of adults, all of which can help with separation anxiety and attachment issues.
You can read our review of the best sand pits for toddlers but for now here is our top 5 reasons you should get a sandpit in your garden.
One benefit of playing in the sand is that it helps with your child’s physical development.
When children play in the sand, they will dig holes in the sand, scoop the sand, transfer it from one container to another and generally move it around and manipulate it into different shapes.
All of these tasks use their upper body and work their arm muscles. Many other toys don’t offer them this opportunity to develop their upper body skills in the same way.
Using both wet and dry sand offers further opportunities to help with their physical development.
Wet sand is much more difficult to manipulate than dry sand. This requires your child to use their upper body muscles in different ways.
It also helps them work on their motor skills as they manipulate the sand into their chosen containers and decorate their creations.
Strange as it sounds, playing in the sandpit can actually introduce your child to mathematical concepts without them realising.
Sand play can teach your child about sizes and shapes. When you watch children playing in the sand, you see how they love to fill containers with sand and create sandcastles and other shapes.
By giving them containers of different shapes and sizes, you can help them learn about which containers can hold more sand or less sand.
This helps teach them concepts such as ‘more than’, ‘less than’, or even ‘equal to’ as well as teaching them about the different shapes they can create.
They can also use spoons and cups to fill larger containers, giving them an opportunity to practice counting and learn how many spoons are in a cup or a bucket.
Using spoons and cups can also introduce them to the concept of measurements such as teaspoons and tablespoons.
Playing in the sand encourages your child to engage in imaginative play. Children can shape the sand into castles, they can dig holes to reach Australia or they can bury themselves – or each other – in the sand.
A sandpit gives children the freedom to get creative with their structures, and they can create stories to go along with the worlds they create.
They don’t need lots of other toys as the sand itself or other natural objects like stones, leaves and flowers can all be used to decorate their creations.
Everyday objects can be used to create structures – a simple bucket, bowls, cups or baking tins can all be used to create their imaginary world or express themselves creatively, however they want it to look. Children can also work together to create wonderful worlds in the sand.
They can even write in the sand, letting them work on their language skills.
Sand play is a form of sensory play. You know the difference between walking on wet sand or having dry sand running through your fingers or toes.
By playing in the sand, it exposes your child to these different textures. This helps with their sensory skills. Children can learn how light touch and deep pressure have an impact on wet and dry sand.
They can bury themselves in the sand to allow them to develop their sense of body relative to space. Sand allows children to begin to understand temperature safely by being free to touch the hot, dry sand or the cool, moist sand hidden underneath.
All of this will seem fun to children, but in fact, it is helping them with skills that they will later use to identify objects by touch or to play instruments where pressure can be important.
Sand play can help enhance a child’s cognitive learning. As part of using their imagination, children will try to build structures from the sand using sandpit toys.
But in order to do that, they will have to learn what they need to do to make sure the sand doesn’t collapse as soon as they tip the bucket of dry sand over.
They will have to understand what might happen if they dig a moat and make the foundations less secure. As they play with wet sand, they will learn that pressing it down into the bucket can help keep the structure when you tip the bucket over.
Children might not understand the reasons behind this, but as they play in the sand and create their own worlds, they will begin to learn how they can change the physical properties of the sand to shape it and bring their imaginary world to life.
To a child, a sandpit is just fun. It is somewhere to play with their friends and build sandcastles.
But in fact, playing in the sand has a number of benefits for children. It allows them to develop a number of different skills and by adding a sandpit to your garden, you don’t have to worry if you don’t have a beach nearby.
Your child can have all the fun of the beach in the comfort of their own garden – and if it rains, you don’t have far to go to get dry.
If you are feeling up to it you can even take a punt at building your own sandpit!