- The tactile sense detects light touch, deep pressure, texture, temperature, vibration, and pain. Sand allows children to explore various textures and temperatures, from the dry hot sand on the surface to the cool moist sand as they dig deeper. This simple play is a stepping stone for later skills such as identifying objects by touch alone, discriminating various textures, playing instruments, and even writing/typing without looking down.
- The vestibular sense allows a child to move through space and know where they are in that space. Sand play provides a wonderful venue for vestibular input as children run through the sand, bend upside down to dig a mote with their favorite shovel, spin their feet and hands through the sand, or fill and shake an exciting sifter and funnel. This simple play is a stepping stone for later skills such as skiing, bike riding, and staying alert in a classroom.
- Proprioception refers to a child’s ability to sense their body’s position and be aware of their surroundings. Sand play provides appropriate “heavy work” through pushing, pulling, shoveling, scooping and pouring. You might even see a child lie down in the sand, push a bulldozer against the sand, or carry buckets of sand… all of which are providing that child with amazing sensory input.This simple play is a stepping stone for later skills such as proper posture, attentiveness, reading, and proper pencil grasp.
These are just a few of the many benefits of sand play. Along with tactile, vestibular and proprioceptive sensory benefits, sand play provides opportunities for language development, fine motor development, and creative dramatic play.
Not to mention the hours of fun!