Playgroup at the Park: Play ideas for the sandpit

We know many of our school groups have been impacted by COVID regulations preventing groups from meeting at school.

But this does not have to stop you from seeing one another – meeting at your local park or playground is a great way to continue to meet up and connect.

Many playgrounds have sandpits available, these provide an opportunity to further enhance the play experience.

As well as shovels, buckets and specific sand toys, there are many low/no cost items you could bring along for your group to play with in the sand.

Some of these items you may already have at home. Otherwise you could ask extended family or put a callout on your local Buy Nothing group on Facebook.

Have a look at our favourite items you can bring along for some fun sandpit play!
    • Plastic bowls
    • Spoons, ladles, scoops
    • Plastic cups and plates
    • Laundry scoops
    • Empty ice cream or yoghurt containers
    • Plastic salt and spice containers
    • Egg cups
    • Silicone baking moulds
    • Old muffin trays
    • Ice cube trays

All these can add to the fun and encourage an open-ended play experience.

Why we love sand play

Sand play is a great sensory experience and most kids love it! It also provides so many learning opportunities and benefits your child’s developing brain in the following ways: 

  • Playing with sand increases your baby’s comfort with different sensory experiences. 
  • Crawling through sand is a great baby work out and the uneven surface helps develop balance awareness. 
  • Playing with sand is usually a calming experience for toddlers. During sand play the enjoyment comes from the play process itself. There is less importance placed on the end product, helping families to relax and play together. 
  • Try extending your toddler’s language during play by adding an extra word or two. For example, “Look, I made a cupcake!”, “Wow! What a delicious cupcake you made!” 
  • Children learn to share equipment and ideas when they work on a joint project. 
  • Playing with sand helps expand your child’s imagination. 
  • Remember when playing outdoors to always be sun smart. 

Read more about the benefits of sensory play at playgroup or watch our video on sand play here.