Sand and water, particularly together, fascinate and engage children and are unrivalled as play materials. While they’re fairly standard in early years settings (albeit often indoors and constrained in trays and bowls) their equal fascination and value for older children is overlooked.
Sand, when it has some of the qualities of a beach and can be dug deep and combined with water, can inspire feats of engineering and construction, can be the scene of fantasy worlds, can be played in alone or with others, can be a space for experiment, discovery and meditation.
So why does the idea of sand and water fill many play providers with fear and loathing and why is there such resistance to it? Go to sandstorms and waterspats (link)to disentangle fact from fiction and give you the arguments and information to provide it.
It’s certainly easier to think of providing sand and water in staffed settings like schools, children’s centres and adventure playgrounds, but it can and often is successful in public play areas too. To find out more, see