As we look forward to summer months in the sand box and paddling pool, we can choose to bring a little bit of summer into the classroom, now. Whether it is a large sensory table such as this Large Deluxe Wooden Sand & Water Centre or a smaller Activity Tub, sand and water can be incorporated into centre options throughout the year.
We have discussed The Importance of Messy Play for Young Children in prior posts and the benefits of sand and water play in particular. Here are some suggestions for how to play with both.
Water is the perfect place to play with measurement.
The Measure and Pour Water Play Set is a wonderful introduction to formal methods of measurement. A preschool child may simply count the number of cups poured into a container, while grade 2 students might use the spoons as a recipe intended, identifying fractions. The joy with this set is that it has something for everybody. The funnel and tubing may delight one child while the 3 play jugs will intrigue another.
Fishing, for fish or letters, is a worthy pastime.
It is also a great way to develop fine motor control. The Pretend & Play Fishing Set includes a charming vest and three sizes of fish and worms, perfect for sorting. The ABC Magnetic Fishing Set has enough letters and poles for 4 to fish at the same time. Fishing for the letters from your name is an authentic way to develop letter recognition.
Number recognition and subitizing
Number Ducks are a great way to reinforce counting and number recognition with dots on the top and matching number on the bottom, odd numbers in blue, and even in red. A quick flip over and children can check if they are able to subitize correctly.
Sorting and matching by colour
Do Re Mi Dolphins are adorable linked together in a line, a circle or individually. They each play a musical note when gently tapped on the head in the water. The dolphins can be taken out of their rings and sails taken off ships, adding another play dimension. The sails only fit back into their matching colour of ship, encouraging either colour or shape matching.
Sand is ideal for letter writing as it is forgiving. If a mistake is made, erasing is easy, simply brush the sand and write again. A simple twig makes an ideal writing implement.
Letters moulds are a fun alternative. Getting the sand the right consistency for moulding requires a little trial and error (good problem solving).
Dinosaur Footprints are sure to ignite curiosity, especially if they are buried in the sand box! They have a dinosaur footprint on one side and its owner on the other. Made from a unique stone mix, they are durable for use outdoors: in mud, sand, water or soil so they can go straight from the sand to the water and back again.
The Sand and Water Basic Set is a perfect starter set to encourage exploratory learning.
What ever way you like to play in the sand and water have fun and enjoy the sensory experience. Remember: When your child comes home messy…. look deeper. Your child has been exploring… but most of all your child has had fun!