Most children have a natural attraction to sand play. There is no “right” way to play with sand, so there is no fear of “doing it wrong.” Because it is opened ended, the children decide the direction their play will take. Through this play they satisfy their inner drive to explore their world, thus gaining an understanding of their world.
Through digging, scooping, burying, and planting objects the children strengthen their large muscles and improve their hand – eye coordination.
When, as a group, they establish the story line and individual roles in their play, they strengthen their imaginative play, their sense of empathy and the skill of seeing things through other’s perspectives.
Cooperative play is strengthened by the need to share the tools, negotiate the path the water takes, and compromise if all do not agree.
How can we as parents and teachers help? We help by supplying a rich environment, with plenty of “loose objects”, by asking open-ended questions, such as, “what will happen next?” and standing back and giving them the time and space to explore their ideas.