Many playgrounds today have a wide range of activities that kids can take part in for fun and for learning. Some of the most popular examples of certain equipment which can perform both of these requirements are sand and water play activities for kids.
School Sand and Water Activities
Schools often have access to sand and water activities for the younger years due to how positively they are thought of by children. Messy play is one of the most favourited forms of play for younger kids and so these types of activities are often requested and wanted. A combination of them both is usually the best as kids can then experiment with mixing the two together. Read this post as well to find out more about outdoor learning activities kids can do.
Sand activities are the most common utility. Installed in a variety of parks and playgrounds, they gain a lot of attention with the younger children. These activities are often set inside a simple box and filled with sand. In many cases, you can slide a lid over the top of the box to protect it, and this also then doubles up as a stage or podium.
Water activities can be set out differently however. Commonly, these types of activities are held in a simple table with an incredibly shallow depth. Parents can be assured that children won’t hurt themselves on this type of activity. Alongside this, sometimes pipes and channels are used. Kids can see the water transport from one point to another and even move them around to create a circuit.
Learn more about the benefits of playing with water and sand here if you are interested in how these activities can help children.
Benefits of Sand and Water Play
Sensory activities like these ones can benefit children in a wide amount of ways. Some of the benefits of sand and water play include:
- Improvement of coordination skills – Development of arm and hand muscles, gross motor and cognitive skills. Alongside this, kids also gain a stronger understanding of mathematics, balancing and weighing.
- Group and independent play – Taking part in these activities encourage children to explore group activities, as well as focusing on personal projects. It helps give a better idea of the difference in both styles. There are many benefits of outdoor play which enhance children’s development.
- Enhances social skills – Whilst taking part in these activities, children will be thrown into situations where they must communicate and act with others. Sandpits and water stations are great for interactions like this as they don’t only improve social communication, but actions like sharing and defusing arguments.
- Promotion of creativity and imagination – During their interactions with the sensory stations, children often become a lot more imaginative and creative in these situations. Considering Ofsted want to promote the improvement of imagination and creativity, these stations are vital for it.
- Understand more about properties – Knowledge of colour, size, capacity, measurements, weight and time become more improved whilst kids interact with sand and/or water. A better understanding of the world around them is constructed.
- Relaxing whilst entertaining – Sometimes children don’t want to take part in full-on activities which many playgrounds offer and may instead just want to chill out and relax for a bit. Sensory stations like these have this effect on kids and therefore can be incredibly beneficial for them.
As you can see, there are loads of benefits to sand and water play that a child can gain. The popularity of these types of utilities makes sense once you understand how beneficial and successful they are in most playgrounds.
School Playground Sand Pits
Sandpits in school playgrounds are incredibly common. These are usually installed for much younger age groups as they are designed around the main concept of fun and introducing kids to different materials and feelings. This can be done as part of independent learning activities where children are able to discover new things for themselves.
The sand in these pits is usually just dry and clean so the children can enjoy using it safely. Being soft and light, it helps children feel more comfortable within the actual boundaries. On the other hand, some areas of the pit can be made into wet sand. This is the material used for building so kids often interact more with this type of over the other, whilst dry sand is better for relaxing areas or first introductions to the material.
Lessons can be done with the sandpit as well with the material being mouldable and having interesting reactions with water. It helps kids understand a lot more about the material and its applications in the modern world, overall creating a more effective lesson. Find out more about National Curriculum play activities if you are interested in using the playground in lessons.
Water Table for Kids
Usually said to be the more uncommon one out of the two, water tables can be installed in any key stage (like sandpits) but often find themselves being mainly used in the younger age groups. Water has many interesting properties and when kids interact with it, they start to become fascinated by it.
As the key stage increases, water tables are often used for teaching science (mainly physics). As kids can see the theory being put into actual practice, it will make a lot more sense than explaining something that they have no clue about and how it applies to real life. It’s a great method to combine the real world into lessons.