Fun and games: Playing in the sandbox

It’s no secret that toddlers are walking (kind of), talking (almost there) sand-magnets. If your little one makes a mad dash toward the sandbox as soon as you get to the park, you’re not alone. If Baby hasn’t fallen for the wonders of the sandbox yet, she may just need a little tutorial on how fun it can be.

Playing with sand is a great way for toddlers to learn about cause and effect. You may notice Baby watching carefully as she scoops then dumps the sand, or lets it run through a funnel. Watching the way containers fill and empty can be an important part of the development of spatial awareness – the skill that lets you look down at Baby’s teeny little socks and know that they’ll probably only just fit over your big toes.

Digging in the sandbox is a great way to get Baby to play with other children. Working together with other children, whether that means sharing a shovel or helping to build a castle, can help her build social skills and make connections. On the other hand, if Baby is shy in public, or it’s winter in your part of the world, you can make an indoor “sandbox” by coating the bottom of a large plastic bin with dried beans, lentils, or rice, and giving your little one the freedom to dig, stack, and fill buckets to her heart’s content.

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