School in the Sandbox

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One day last fall, the day began with getting dressed, making beds, eating breakfast…and while I was cleaning up the kitchen, the kids decided to go outside and play. I found them in the sandbox. I was in the process of figuring out how I was going to convince them to come inside for school. We needed to do my son’s next reading assignment and a Bible lesson and my daughter had letters to learn. Then I had a powerful thought.

Why can’t they have school in the sandbox?

Why not? What can 2 preschoolers possibly learn in a sandbox…for 2 hours? I’m so glad you asked. 🙂

Language: As the kids are playing in the sand, they are vocalizing stories. They even have beginnings, middles and ends! This develops creative storytelling and even oral speaking.

Social Development: Right now the kids are working together to stand up as many sticks in the sand as they possibly can. Team work! The sharing of ideas. Executing a plan. Seeing a plan to fruition. Discussing ways to make the project better. Recognizing that there are things that 2 people can do that 1 person cannot. And all of this wouldn’t work if they were fighting with each other. So they are learning how to treat each other with respect as they work together on a project.

Science: Not only are the kids outside in the beautiful sunshine, feeling the wind, hearing the trees and animals around them, but they are experiencing the science objectives of force through the pushing and pulling of sand and sand toys. They are learning to ask questions (how deep must I push this stick for it to stand upright in the sand?). They are experimenting. They are observing. Ants are being watched, tree bark is being pealed off of sticks. Wet sand is being manipulated and dry sand is being patted down. Knowing how to stop and take the time to observe is a powerful skill.

Mathematics: The kids are noticing the lengths of sticks, the weight of sand as it is moved around, and the numerical objective of more and less. They are experimenting with geometry as the sticks are stuck in the sand at different angles and determining if a certain position of the stick will cause it to stand upright or at an angle.

Bible: God created the sand, sunshine, trees, wind, everything in nature that is surrounding the kids at this moment. And they are able to enjoy God’s creation as He enjoys His created ones. The kids are learning how to be a brother and sister to each other as they spend time building a relationship. My older son is helping my younger daughter and teaching her how to play and experience life. She is learning how to rely on someone and to listen to instruction. Growing in love and making memories is so important.

So much learning takes place naturally if we allow our children to have the gift of time. Time to experiment. Time to fail. Time to learn from each other. Time to be proud of hard work completed successfully.

I was called to come out and look at the sand forest. Supposedly it was made to scare away the yellow jackets. Wow. The children needed a bath. Hmmm…how about school in the bathtub??? Yes, I think so. 🙂


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