Sand Pit Fun: The Good and the Not So Good
Sand pits offer many benefits when you allow your children to play in them. First of all, playing with sand is very open-ended because there’s no right way to use it. This means your children are encouraged to use their imagination tremendously, not to mention it’s a great sensory experience.
Overall, sand pits are a great avenue for children to hone cognitive, physical, and even social skills when they play with others.
One of the many great things about sand pits is that they allow your children to determine the path of their own play. This freedom allows them to build strong developmental concepts that will improve their development.
Sand Pits for Development
According to Piaget, children are driven to build an understanding of their world, and they do so by interacting with it first hand. They gradually build concepts about how things work, and these concepts become more and more complex as they grow. This is why there are endless opportunities for children to learn while having fun.
In a sand pit, children will develop fine motor skills by using tools such as shovels, etc., and they will learn how to build structures out of sand using what they have at hand. They will also have the opportunity to write words in the sand, and practice social skills such as sharing, communicating, and problem-solving. They can bring any toys they want into the sand box, and they will accomplish the goals they set out for themselves in the sand pit using nothing more than their wit.
Sand Pit Maintenance
However, there’s something to be said about sand pit maintenance. Sand pits will be safe spaces for children as long as they’re well-taken care of and maintained.
Sand pits should never be left uncovered when they’re not being used because they will become the toilet of animals such as cats. This could expose your child to serious bacteria that can threaten their health.
They also need to be covered from the elements, and the sand must be replaced after a certain time.
Natural Sand vs Other Sand
This is why it’s not a good idea to allow your children to play in public sand pits unless you follow certain safety tips. First of all, visit beaches and parks with a reputation of being clean. Ask around and find out whether the sand they use in sand pits is taken from rivers or beaches instead of limestone sand or crystalline silica sand. Natural sand won’t produce dust and won’t dust your child’s clothes or body, making it safer. Also, make sure the sand pit is plastic, because it is easy to wash and sanitise.
I encourage you to have your own sand pit at home; not only because the benefits are many, but also because your children will enjoy it. All you need to do is educate yourself on proper maintenance, and everything will be fine. Keep the sand pit covered when it’s not being used, avoid getting it wet as it can become a breeding ground for parasites, and teach your children to wash their hands after they’re done playing.