Simply fun with sandPosted: 22/03/2014
There is a very easy equation to remember when it comes to entertaining a toddler: Mess + Toddler = Hours of Fun. During the winter months, we spent a fair amount of time splashing in puddles and squelching in the mud. Now that the weather is improving and we are able to get outside more regularly and for longer chunks of time, we have rediscovered the joy of sand.
As messy, sensory play experiences go, sand is actually very manageable. There is something so wonderfully inviting about the stuff: the feeling of sand between fingers; the almost irresistible urge to wiggle toes and feet underneath the surface; the difference in sensation of wet and dry sand. No wonder ToddlerGirl is in love with it, I am myself!
The sandpit in our garden, which has been sealed up all winter, has been opened, much to the delight of ToddlerGirl. We have spent a few lovely afternoons this week in the warm spring sunshine with her digging around and making (and squashing) sandcastles. I’ve got a collection of shells and stones from last summer for decorating and burying and lining up, alongside the usual buckets, spades and sand moulds.
I love watching ToddlerGirl immerse herself in the play. The socks and leggings have to come off and she ends up with sand everywhere! But she is being very good about following our Sandpit Rules: there is no throwing of sand and the sand stays in the sandpit (as far as possible; I am relaxed about the odd spillage but we stop play if she starts bringing spade fulls out into the garden or into the house).
I am already having visions of a long, hot summer ahead with my huge and pregnant self sitting in the shade sipping ice-cold drinks while she is happily occupied…!
We also have access to a few good sandpits at parks in our local area. I try to remember to take a bucket and spade with us but actually she just loves to have a couple of sticks to poke around with. This is great for mark making. She is very impressed when I write her name in the sand and squiggles away herself, making lines and patterns and pictures.
Sometimes, it is a whole body experience…
Of course, the very best place to enjoy the sand is at the beach! We are lucky enough to live near to the coast so it is easy to take ToddlerGirl. Our most recent trip was on a shiningly beautiful day, when the sea was at its sparkling best and it was warm enough to spend a while playing.
ToddlerGirl built a giant sandcastle with her Daddy, scouring the beach for shells, seaweed and sticks to decorate it with. She buried her and my feet and fingers underneath the soft sand and then spent some time scrambling up and running down the dunes.
After spying some older children flinging themselves down the dunes, our adventurous little ToddlerGirl just had to copy! She rolled down and climbed up many, many, many times, before deciding to go headfirst, like some sort of toddler commando. We had to grab her as she attempted a forward roll down the dunes but, apart from that, stood back and let her experiment, laughing at the sheer joy on her face.
We’ve been having so much fun with just some simple sand play over the last couple of weeks – I’m sure it’s going to be a big part of our spring and summer outdoor activities!