“Children have a full time occupation. It’s called PLAY! Let them be occupied by it from their early years until their twilight years.”

Sensory play – including play with sand and water – can be an important part of the child care classroom or family child care home. Children exploring in the sensory center are learning some important skills.

  • Math and science skills: Sand and water play introduces scientific concepts such as sinking, floating, and changes of state (e.g., dry to wet). Exploring sand, water, and other sensory materials gives children opportunities to practice measuring and explore other math concepts such as more, less, bigger, smaller, and equal.
  • Physical development: Children playing with sand and water are practicing eye-hand coordination and using fine motor skills to scoop, sift, funnel, and pour.
  • Social and emotional skills: The sand and water center provides important opportunities for children to practice cooperative play and sharing. It also helps children explore and enjoy the sensory experience of manipulating fluid materials. Digging in sand or splashing water can also reduce the energy level of overexcited children and provide an acceptable way for them to vent anger or frustration.