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1. Sandy bakingIf you are lucky enough to have a small kitchen for outdoor play, set it next to your sandbox. Sort your plastic dishes and use older items to fill a container that can be used outdoors to prepare sand-filled recipes.
2. Sandcastle contestProvide buckets and shovels of all sizes. Encourage children to work in teams of two to build a sandcastle. Take pictures of children's sandcastles and display them on wall within your daycare.
3. Treasure huntOrganize a treasure hunt in your backyard. Hide several different clues within your yard, all leading children to your sandbox where they will find a special surprise buried in the sand. Invite them to dig it out and share the treat (stickers, tattoos, etc.).
4. Roads galoreTransform your sandbox to represent a unique road circuit. Dig roads and tunnels that children can explore with toy cars and trucks. Encourage them to use your sandbox accessories to build obstacles.
5. RiversWhen children start to lose interest in your road circuit, use your hose to wet the sand and flood the roads to create rivers. Provide boats children can play with.
6. BakeryChildren love to create cakes when playing in the sandbox. Transform your sandbox to make it look like a bakery. Add colourful Popsicle sticks to represent candles. Try the recipe for sand paint provided at the end of this text to create icing for their baked goods.
7. Mud everywhereSurprise children and use your hose to wet the sand in your sandbox before they arrive in the morning. They will be excited to discover the mud...and even more surprised that you are letting them play in it! This is a great way to attract children to your sandbox! Ideally, this activity should be done on a Friday. At the end of the day, you can disinfect your sandbox and it will have time to dry before children return on Monday.
8. A volcanoBuild a giant volcano in your sandbox. Ask children to make a large hill to represent a volcano. You will need white vinegar and baking soda (quantities will vary according to the size of your volcano). Fill the volcano with vinegar and pour the baking soda inside to create a spectacular effect.
9. Gold seekersWe all have sieves that often go unused in our sandboxes. Dig them out and explain how they are important tools for gold seekers. Hide gold pieces (plastic coins or painted rocks) in your sandbox and invite children to find them by filling the sieves with sand and shaking them to see if they found gold.
10. The gardenGardening tools can be used in your sandbox. Children will enjoy pretending to plant flowers and pull weeds. They can dig holes, plant invisible seeds (or rocks), and rake the sand to create a magnificent imaginary garden.
11. Construction siteIt's time to get all your large construction trucks, tractors, and cranes out and start building huge sand piles.
12. The beachA beach is really a giant sandbox! Set an umbrella in one corner of your sandbox. Provide shovels and buckets. Add a few seashells and plastic marine animals and spend the day at your own private beach.
13. Searching for fossilsYoung archaeologists will love searching for dinosaur fossils in your sandbox. Simply hide plastic dinosaurs in the sand and let children dig them out!
14. Precious stonesInvite children to pretend they are miners searching for precious stones in a mine (sandbox). Hide decorative stones (for vases) in your sandbox. They will represent true treasures for young children.
15. Letter huntGive foam alphabet puzzles a second life. Use the square foam pieces as stencils in your sandbox or hide the foam letters in the sand.
16. Magnetic findsTransform your sandbox into a scientific experiment. Just below the surface, hide tiny metallic objects or coins. Using magnets (like the ones used for bingo games), have children gently brush the sand to discover the metallic items. Of course, this activity requires close supervision if young children are present.
17. WormsMost children love worms. Hide plastic worms (available in the fishing department of big-box stores) in your sandbox. If you wish, you can also use real worms...
18. Tracks in the sandCompress the sand in your sandbox to make the surface as smooth as possible. Experiment with a variety of different items to make tracks: feet, fingers, sticks, toys, dinosaurs, etc.
19. Ice and sandA few days ahead of time, fill containers with water and set them in the freezer. Empty the ice blocks in your sandbox and let children manipulate them. The sand will stick to the ice blocks and prevent them from melting away too quickly. Make note of children's observations and take pictures.
20. Sand paintHere is a simple recipe that can be fun to use in your sandbox.Sand paint
Ingredients for one spray bottle:2-3 tablespoons of cornstarch1 cup of waterFood coloring
Mix the ingredients very well. The sand paint can be used to add color to children's sandbox creations.
Take advantage of the summer months to rediscover your sandbox with your group!
Caroline AllardEarly childhood educator
Educatall.com is not responsible for the content of this article. The information mentioned in this article is the responsibility of the author. Educatall.com shall not be held responsible for any litigation or issues resulting from this article.
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Pre-K program including educational games and activity planning with printable documents.
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