Sensory Play in the Sand
Sand is a great way to get textures into the hands of children with sensory issues. Sand play increases sensory skills, fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, creativity, and language development. Whether you get to the beach this summer or bring the beach to your home in a sandbox, these fun sensory activities will give your children hours of entertainment.
Make Your Own Colored Sand
You can make your own colored sand by pouring a small amount of vegetable dye into a bowl of sand. If your children are able, allow them to mix the sand and dye together themselves so they can be a part of the creative process and exercise their motor skills at the same time. Your children will have fun playing with sand in a variety of colors. And, if you want to make sand paly into an art project, pour the colored sand into a clear jar in layers of different colors to create your own unique designs.
Kinetic Sand lets your children pull, shape, and mold sand into creative and colorful shapes that stick to each other without getting messy or making a mess of your home. It feels dry, but is easily moldable. And it doesn’t dry out. Some examples for play using kinetic sand: use cookie cutters, write in the sand with a pencil or stick, make impressions in the sand with household objects or toys, build a snowman, sculpt an object, excavate army men or small dinosaur fossils, play kitchen, or use a plastic knife to slice the sand into chunks to practice fine motor and utensil skills.
Writing is often a tedious skill for children to practice, feeling trapped behind a desk when they would rather be playing. Have your children practice their writing skills in sand as part of their playtime. Build a sandcastle, then have them name it and write that name in the sand. Draw animals and have them write the names of those animals. Or have them write their own name and age in their sandbox. Your children may also enjoy writing about their favorite activities, what they want to eat for dinner, or what they want to play next in the sand. Sand can be a fun place to practice writing skills and a change of pace from their desks that it is an exciting change.
Bury Toys in the Sand
Practice spatial awareness (your knowledge of objects in relation to yourself) by burying toys in the sand and having your children search for them. If your family likes dinosaurs, press little plastic dinosaurs into a playdough dig site or buy dinosaur fossils and bury them in your sandbox. Now your children can be paleontologists and dig for dinosaur fossils. Any kind of small toys will work but your child will enjoy the adventure more when you use toys or objects your child likes best.
As an extra sensory experience, add water to sand play. Make mud, sandcastles, dams, and more by mixing together water and sand. Since dry and wet sand have two very different textures, your children can become used to more textures and have additional opportunities for increasing their sensory comfort. Your children will also be able to practice fine motor skills such as dumping, scooping, mixing and pouring.
Whether your children enjoy digging for dinosaurs, molding sand into fun shapes, writing in the sand, or making creative art, these activities will help them increase their sensory comfort levels and are an enjoyable way to pass an afternoon.