Exploring Water and Sand

A question...

...we are often asked by parents is ‘Why is my child encouraged to play in the water/sand?’

The answer is simple, learning through our senses is an important way we all acquire knowledge of our world.

All children and babies enjoy feeling the water and we all learn best when we have hands on experience - sensory learning is vital to children's learning.

Parents feel concerned that their child may get cold or messy, that they are ‘just playing’ and not really learning anything from this experience.

Exploring pattern

Children use their fingers to explore patterns and shapes. The sand can be imprinted and then smoothed over time after time. The children notice the prints left by their shoes, their fingers and tools.

Small children are able to make marks, which helps to develop their pre-literacy skills.

Depending on the texture of the sand – sometimes dry and powdery, sometimes wet and sticky – children are able to make different patterns and explore the sand’s properties.

Physical Development

  • Children develop strength and hand-eye co-ordination through lifting and pouring sand or water.
  • Children learn how to use large tools safely with a purpose.
  • Children develop spatial awareness, as they learn to respect other peoples’ space.
  • Children develop their physical understanding of weight by lifting heavy things.

Sand and Water

Sand and water offer learning opportunities from which children benefit as they play, explore or experience with it.

  • Children learn how to use large tools safely with a purpose.
  • Children develop spatial awareness, as they learn to respect other peoples’ space.
  • Children develop their physical understanding of weight by lifting heavy things.

Enclosure schema – supporting theory of mind

Children really enjoy hiding things in the sand. They are thinking about what they know compared to what others know.

For example, I know I’ve hidden the spade and I know that you don’t know it is there because you didn’t see me bury it.

  • This often tests their own memories!
  • When the object is hidden, they keep a visual image of it in their mind. This helps to develop their memory and prepare their brains ready for reading

We teach children  about the world around them through practical hands on experiences.