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Sand play this holiday

Sand play this holiday

Keeping kids busy over the holidays can be hard work. We have a few articles with tips to keep the kids busy. Today’s tip is about play sand, one of the most versatile play items any parent can invest in – and trust me a bag of play sand is not expensive!

Playing with sand can be a great opportunity for children to have both structured and free play time. It is a fabulous sensory activity for autistic children (or any child for that matter), it can help develop fine motor skills and ignite creativity. It can even help with academics.

Gather a few ingredients – Sand, some buckets, scoops, sieves, plastic bottles, a tray, paper, craft clue, Lego pieces, figurines, twigs and flowers from the garden and plastic spoons and let’s get started with some great activities for the holidays:

  • Sandpit – at times messy for the parent but a winner for any child on the autism spectrum. Just allowing your child to sit in sand, feel the textures and play with it will create sensory bliss and hours of entertainment. Allow your child to enjoy the sensation of dry sand running through their fingers.
  • Add a few small bowls or bottles and some spoons to the mix and your child can now scoop sand into them. Getting an autistic child to scoop sand into a bottle will also help develop the motor planning needed to feed themselves. It works on crossing the midline and so much more. Make sure the containers have different levels of difficulty and encourage the child to pour sand from one container into another (hand-eye co-ordination)
  • Adding water to the sand (or a portion of the sand) will allow the child the opportunity to build sand castles or sand mountains. If you add a few twigs from the garden, some action figurines, cars and even Lego building blocks you can create a village and incorporate it into story time.
  • If you don’t have a sandbox at home you can still entertain your children with sand. Mix generous amounts of sand and water into a variety of bowls. Allow the children to make mud-pies. You can also add some old bottoms, ribbons, cut up straws or even shells for decoration.
  • Sand in a shallow storage container can even be used indoors – just make sure you place a large vinyl tablecloth down on the floor for ease of cleaning.
    • Sand writing is a great way to teach writing skills. You can make cue cards with a variety of words, alphabet or numbers on it and get the child to copy it in the sand
    • Sand art is as easy as a printed out colour page – mom can put the glue on the lines for the younger children and they can put the sand onto the lines with their fingers. For the older children we suggest coloured sand (recipes available on the internet) and their own creativity to fill the page with colour and texture.
      At the end of a play session allow for the sand to dry in the sun and store until you need it again.

At the end of a play session allow for the sand to dry in the sun and store until you need it again. 

Amazing K is a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. We are a private day school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years. Our learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. We offer Individualized Education Programs, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum. Read more about us.