I am always looking for new and creative ideas to use in our play at home. Often the ideas I come up with for messy and sensory play can go one of two ways. Either the whole thing fails spectacularly, or it goes really well and so I blog it! But now and then I think it’s a good idea to step back and remember the simple play ideas that have stood the test of time. There is a reason why every early years setting will have a sand and water tray.
I honestly forget how wonderful a material sand is and how much the kids enjoy playing with it. Since the weather has turned considerably sunny however, the sand has come out more and more and last week we finally got round to setting up the pirate pit too. All three of the kids love to get stuck into the sand and that fact alone just proves how versatile a sand tray can be. I have lots of ideas for sand play posts, but for today I have gone back to basics.
The humble sandcastle.
It is years since I made a sandcastle. And in those years I have forgotten what an amazing learning experience it is for a baby.
The baby watched intently as I filled the bucket with lots of sand. We counted each spadeful: ten for each castle. We added more spadefuls carefully and when the bucket was full, we patted the sand down. Each new word I introduced I followed up with the signs- we already knew the sign for more and any I wasn’t sure of I made up for her, and will make sure I repeat that same sign again to avoid confusion.
Once the bucket was full, we counted one, two, three, then we turned the bucket over so that it was upside down. Then… BASH! Then we lifted the bucket and there was our castle!
As soon as each castle was made, the baby took great delight in destroying it! This made for a wonderful sensory experience.
The baby loved grabbing handfuls of sand and watching it sprinkle down onto the Tuff Spot. She wiggled her toes around the sand and covered her legs with it too. She even had a little taste!
The baby also spent a long time just playing. She tried to make her own sandcastles by transferring sand from the tray to the bucket and liked to use the different coloured spades too.
We spent all afternoon playing with the sand and I have to say that it was one of the most enjoyable sensory play sessions yet. Simple, timeless fun.