Allowing your child to play in the sand by themselves and
with others helps them to develop fine motor skills like those necessary to use a small shovel, pull a truck, and build a castle or moat. By burying themselves in sand, and feeling their body position within the sand, children are engaging their proprioceptive sense, or the sense of their body relative to space. Writing words in the sand offers a chance to develop language skills. Parents can ask questions to capitalize on the language play that can occur in the sand.
One of the benefits of a contained space like a sandbox is that depending on the age of their child, caregivers can supervise children from a short distance and create an independent play experience. This type of natural and casual separation between parent and child can build trust and confidence. As long as children continue to feel safe and are not under the impression they’ve been left behind, brief independent play opportunities can lessen separation anxiety and promote healthy parent-child attachment.
Sand play is particularly beneficial for developing a sense of textures. Not only is sand a new and different texture for children to feel on their skin, but the contrast it creates with concrete, grass, dirt, and wood will emphasize the sensation of each surface.