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Six Undeniable Benefits of Sandbox Play

In the early 2,000’s when my husband and I started looking at preschools to purchase, we visited a school that was immaculately clean. As we were touring the school, I kept looking for the sandbox. When I could not find it, I asked the owner and his answer shocked me! He said, “We don’t have one” and he proceeded to explain that it was because “sand was very messy, got all over the place and had to be constantly replaced. If the parents wanted their kids to play with sand, they could take them to the park or the beach.” After 15 years of preschool teaching, and now as an administrator, I do understand the high maintenance that sand requires; however, I could never ignore the amazing benefits of sand play for children’s development (No, we did not buy that school!).  We are very proud that our two childcare centers, Edgewater Preschool in Long Beach and Children’s Village Preschool of Orange, both have multiple sandboxes and we love to see the children use it.

These undeniable benefits are:

 1 – Sensory Exploration

2 – Opportunity for Pretend Play

3 – Absence of Restricting Boundaries with Freedom for Exploration,

4 – Positive Self-esteem Builder

5 – Social Skills Development

6 – Language, Social, Emotional, Motor Development, Math and Science are all integrated during a sandbox play. It is in the sand box where all the domains have the opportunity to come together and develop both hemispheres of the brain.

Children as young as toddlers have the exposure to physical science concepts that will create a strong base for scientific exploration and learning.

sandbox scientific exploration at long beach area childcare center
sandbox scientific exploration at orange, ca childcare center

Not to mention the invaluable sensory development that sand provides for this age group.

preschool toddler sensory development

For the older children, sand play challenges their ability to apply scientific concepts such as exploration,

preschool scientific concepts

observation and application, especially when the appropriate materials are incorporated.

Mathematical concepts and language development


Mathematical concepts such as measurement of volume and scientific concepts such as density and mixing of matters are also easily explored in the sand box. Last, but absolutely not least, children of all ages are able to work social emotional issues by emulating adult actions that they experience at home like cooking and sharing responsibilities.  These social encounters allow for language development and turn taking. –Cristiane