Inside: 10 super sandpit play ideas for toddlers, preschool and kindergarten.
I know, I know, sand play can be a stretch for many adults. After all, kids seem to collect it without even trying! In their shoes, pant cuffs, pockets and more! And before we know it there is sand traipsed all through the house or our classroom. Urgh! But sand also offers many wonderful, messy creative qualities that makes it extremely popular with toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners, so I guess it’s here to stay…sorry!
So today I challenge you to embrace the potential messiness and let your kids, at home or school, get busy in the sandpit!
Sand play is a lovely, tactile, sensory play activity, and it is believed to promote emotional well being as well – after all, it is very relaxing to run sand through your fingers, or to jump in it, or mix it with water to make mud. It also promotes imaginative play and problem solving – as you’ll see in the sand play activity suggestions below.
10 Super Sandpit Play Ideas for Kids
1. Cook mudpies: Drag out some old pots, pans and baking trays, a plastic or metal sieve or colander, and some wooden spoons, measuring cups and measuring spoons. Add a tub of water and step back to let the magic begin. If you have a plastic toy home corner stove all the better for cooking those deliciously sandy mudpies!
For even more mud play fun, check out our collection of 15 Ways to Have Fun With Mud!
2. Create a garden: Add small spades and rakes, kid-sized gardening gloves, a watering can and some plant pots for a spot of sandpit gardening. You can even add some real flowers and greenery, or some artificial blooms and step back to see what manner of imaginative play ensues. Fairy, animal or people figurines can extend the imaginative play potential too.
3. Create an insect, bird or animal sanctuary: Add bird, insect or animal figurines to the sandpit, bark, seedpods and branches salvaged from the garden, a shallow tub of water and some river stones to create a wonderful sensory and imaginative play scene for your children to explore.
4. Experiment with Pouring: Add different types of pouring jugs and bottles to your child’s sandpit toys. Include funnels and clear plastic tubing for an additional pouring challenge.
RELATED: Make your pouring experimentation even more challenging by allowing your children to have access to water, as well as the sand. For more ideas for water play check out our post 10 Easy Water Play Ideas.
5. Build Roads: Add toy cars, buses, airplanes and helicopters to create roads up sandy mountains and down into deep valleys. Kate over at Picklebums shares a really cool transport themed sand play tray.
6. Old Macdonald’s Farm: Take the inside outdoors by adding your child’s plastic or wooden farm animals and some wooden or plastic blocks for building enclosures to your sand play or garden area. Off-cuts of artificial turf or green and blue fabric add another level to the play as children can create grassed areas and ponds or dams.
7. Construction Zone: Another way to take the indoors out is to add wooden blocks or wood off cuts, trucks, river stones and kid friendly tools to your sandpit. Add a hard hat and a fluorescent safety vest so your child can really play the part as they explore these new additions to their sand play.
8. Add Natural Elements: Take away the plastic buckets and spades and replace them for a period of time with a collection of natural elements to encourage different interactions with the sand – short sticks, large pieces of sturdy bark, scallop shells, riverstones, and seed pods. You might even add some wooden bowls or woven baskets from the thrift store.
9. Host an Archaeological Dig: This idea takes a little prior organization. Hide small dinosaurs or clean, dried bones collected in the kitchen under the top layer of sand. Add water to the sand and pack it down hard, then allow to dry overnight. Next day, provide sieves, spoons, small shovels and chunky paintbrushes for brushing away the sand.
Alternatively, for an indoor take on an archaeological dig, check out our Sand Box Diamond Mine sand play activity.
10. Build Waterfalls: Adding plastic plumbing pipes and house guttering, sieves, sand wheels, and funnels alongside buckets and spades for some great problem solving for preschool and kindergarten age children. I love watching small groups of children work together to make functioning channels for water or sand.
Look closely at the images below to see this creative solution to channeling the water. As it comes down the chute, the first blue bucket catches it and it creates a pool, then the water trickles through the pipe, and finally into the second blue bucket. Real problem solving in action!
For more fun outdoor play ideas, check out this collection of ideas;
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Christie Burnett says
Christie Burnett says