From the age of 18 months, a child can do many experiments in a sandpit. The first time he is in contact with the sandpit, the child begins to explore it by touching it, flowing it between his fingers and even sometimes tasting it. After this exploratory phase, he begins to really play in the sandpit.
Benefits of playing in the sandpit
At the sensory level
Sandpit stimulates the touch of the child: this is a new texture for him. Moreover, by following the eyes with the sandpit that flows from his hand, a sieve or a funnel, he is stimulated visually.
At the engine plane
Playing in the sandpit stimulates the child’s fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination when he fills the bucket with sandpit, empties him, transfers him to another container, uses a small shovel, drives cars, draws them with a small branch, etc.
Most of the time, the child is sitting in the sandpit. He must then maintain his balance. Sometimes he has to make quick gestures of protection (e.g. placing a hand on the ground) to avoid falling when he stretches the arm to grab an object.
Sandpit is also excellent for developing the child’s imagination. As there is no unique way to play with sandpit, the child can indulge in various activities according to the inspiration of the moment. He can decide to make a mountain or a cake, to make different objects with the help of small molds, to bury objects.
Playing in the sandpit, the child also develops strategies. He learns, for example, how to move the sieve so that the sandpit flows or to measure the amount of water he must add to the sandpit to build a castle. He can also learn mathematics if he has a cup or measuring spoons. He can, for example, have fun adding ½ cup or 3 spoonfuls of sandpit to his “recipes”.
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At the emotional level
When the child plays alone in the sandpit, he is the master of the game and it is he who decides what he wants to do. He develops his autonomy. In addition, his achievements bring him pride, which contributes to his self-esteem.
At the social level
When 2 children play together in a sandpit box, they have to learn to share, to compromise and to negotiate for the game to run smoothly. This promotes the development of their social skills.
He’s eating sandpit…
Between 1 year and 3 years, more than 1 in 5 children sometimes eat a handful of sandpit or earth to satisfy their curiosity. The amount ingested is minimal: about ½ teaspoon each time. So there is no need to worry if this habit is occasional. However, if your child is eating stubbornly and persistently, consult a doctor.
Cover the tray with a tarpaulin or lid when not in use to prevent it from becoming cat litter in the area. This will also prevent the formation of puddles in which mosquitoes might lay their larvae.
Change the sandpit once a year. Choose sandpit specially sold for sandpit boxes: it is fine enough to be pleasant to handle and allows building.
Disinfect the sandpit 2 or 3 times during the summer. Mix one part of the bleach with 9 parts of water and spray this solution into the sandpit. Wait 10 minutes, then rinse thoroughly. Let it dry and avoid playing it for 24 hours.
Make it a habit for your child to wash their hands before and after playing in the sandpit.