We don’t have a “real” built-in-the-ground sandbox in my outdoor play environment so I try to provide different opportunities for outdoor sand play in whatever way I can.
My grandson always enjoys the simple exploration and play that one-inch sandbox play invites.
Now before I continue on, please note that I am not suggesting that one-inch sandbox play is a good substitute for a large sandbox. The kinds of playful interactions, collaboration, communication, and imagination that take place in a large sandbox cannot be replaced by a one-inch sandbox. And as an FYI, we have a large area of nothing but dirt right now (due to some new landscaping going on) to simulate the kinds of play that happen in a sandbox even though this is still somewhat different.
Getting Set Up
One-inch sandbox play is low maintenance and can be set up in a jiffy when you’re looking for something fun for your child to do. I simply pour a little play sand out of the bag onto a tray and set it up outdoors where ever my grandson would like it to go.
My grandson adds a variety of loose parts to his one-inch sandbox like cars or rocks or other items he enjoys.
He experiments with the sand like rubbing his hands through the sand, sprinkling sand in the air.
And leaving a footprint in the sand. I think because the tray of sand is such a small space, the kind of play that it invites seems to focus more on the little things you can do with sand rather than the larger types of play.
As I have observed my grandson playing with the sand on a tray, I have been thinking of also introducing the idea to my preschool class this year as a way to take sand tray writing, printing, and play outdoors too. I think my students would enjoy this experience as an additional type of sand play experience this year.
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