The Britannica Kid’s Encyclopedia describes the universe as being made up of ‘everything that exists’, it is amazing to think that every single one of us is made from stardust. We often forget that the simplicity of the world around us can teach our own little stars an awful lot about the world around them. To a young child their house, garden, streets, fields and the nursery are the whole universe. Children naturally observe and touch the world around them to learn, just like the Ancient Greek philosophers, who discussed life, the universe and everything in it.
Playing is an integral part of learning and in a child’s formative years learning manifests itself in very practical activities. Heuristic play is based on the natural curiosity children have about the world around them. Encouraging children to play with everyday objects and treasures they find in the garden often guarantees that children can find something to play with wherever they go.
Nurseries and Infant Schools
Nurseries and infant schools can encourage heuristic play by providing equipment that allows children to explore the world in safety. Heuristic play encourages social interaction while teachers and helpers observe the new skills a child has learned. There is nothing more sociable than sand and water play because children have to cooperate with each other, giving them the chance to play with different buckets and toys.
Sand play encourages imagination, such as digging a hole to the other side of the Earth, saving the world by causing a landslide to stop angry dinosaurs in their tracks, or simply the sand pit could become the most interesting landscape you have ever seen. This type of imaginative play can also encourage children to take the first steps towards storytelling and answering questions about their little world. Sand play also develops scientific and mathematical skills as well as allowing children to enjoy sprinkling sand through their fingers. One of the most useful skills children will learn is that sand sticks together when damp – a very important piece of information for when they are building sandcastles on the beach.
Water play is so exciting that children need very close supervision when they are participating in it. Children instinctively want to splash because the water sparkles in the sun and it makes their faces wet. Once they have got this out of their system they can learn so many wonderful scientific facts about how water works in the world around them. They can try to explain why one boat sinks and another floats, recognise that containers get heavier when there is more water added and that the level of water rises when you put something heavy in the water tray. Water play is also a wonderful way to learn about volume and capacity and counting how many times you have to put water into a little pot in order to fill a big pot.
Playdale Sand and Water Play
At Playdale we are so interested in the concept of play being a fantastic learning experience that we have designed a variety of sand and water play equipment. We have the option of a traditional sandbox with a canvas cover or a sand and water basin. There is also the option of purchasing one water wheel per basin or Seesaw, scales or Archimedes Screw when you order two sand and water basins.
If you would like to know more about our sand and water play equipment please contact us and we would be happy to help.
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