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The Sand Tray


Guest Sezbina
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Guest Sezbina

Has anyone got any unusual ideas for working with sand? We have all the usual equipment but are lacking inspiration at the moment.

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Hi Sezbina

Welcome to the FSF site and thank you for posting.

What do you mean by the usual equipment, buckets, spades etc? We have both a wet and a dry sand tray. We use the dry for small world play sometimes so any of the small stuff goes in, dinosaurs, farm and zoo animals etc. We sometimes put them in the wet sand too. We have a small tea set that we put in the dry sand with a little cooker along side. Last term I coloured cheap bags of rice with food colouring-a few drops goes a long way! Just put the rice in a bowl add a few drops of colour, mix it round and there it is! I did all the colours of the rainbow and put them into the dry sand tray in the correct order, it looked wonderful. It didn't stay like that for long!! The children loved it. We put all sorts of stuff in with it, small world play, Chinese dishes, spoons and a wok.

We play games in the wet sand such as hiding a number of animals and the children have to find them. That is a favourite with our children.

The list is endless. If I think of any more I wil put them on for you but I'm sure there will be lots of ideas from other people.

Linda

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My children always seem to enjoy making the dry sand wet!

They particularly like it when there's so much water the sand is wet and sludgey and there's a good puddle on the top!

 

Although the surplus water can be drained off, it can take ages for the sand to dry out enough not to be like mud and it can SMELL if you don't keep it aired as it dries.

 

you can make patterns in sand of course. I have trays of sand for letter formation and handwriting patterns.

and some children just love running it through their fingers!

 

Susan

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Not tried this one myself but a friend of mine gives them pop socks and spades, in wet sand. She said that once they filled one with half the sand-and they thought it was hilarious!!! She said it was enormous and impossible to pick up. We're going to have a go next week!

We also give them different sized containers and digging implements. So we give them everything from normal spades to tiny measuring spoons, quarter teaspoon size.

Linda

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You really must give that a go Linda, the children will love it.

 

We have done it before, but not with pop socks, we used normal socks.

 

We put different sized socks ( babies - childrens - adult ones), into the sand tray with spades and spoons. It was wonderful to watch the children, they were amazed at how much the sock grew.

 

We have also used some of our water equipment in the sand, the children particularly like using the water wheel with the sand.

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Good idea to use different socks Catherine. That means I don't have to go out and buy pop socks!!!! No seriously, it will be good for comparisons. Thanks for that.

Linda

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I had a good chuckle at the socks! Will definitely give it a go. Sieves are also great. We put in some buttons or other small object and let them find treasure! We are about to create Bobs building site! :o Chris

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Guest bevbenyon

Wow! Some really useful tips for enhancing sand play. Have you tried adding things like glitter / sequins etc to wet or dry sand? We use our sand tray asa good base for adding natural materials ie acorns, conkers, pebbles etc. Also the children love the addition of small wooden bricks....the sand (if wet) provides a good foundation for their building work! Adding food essence to sand is also a good stimulus and really gets the children talking and using all their senses (pepperminit essence is quite strong and works well

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  • 1 month later...

My favourite is t add junk boxes to the sand, kitchen roll tubes, egg boxes and cereal packets, yoghurt pots the list is endless, you can also add string and bottle tops and other bits and pieces. The children really enjoy filing up the boxes. You do have to check the junk and change as it gets tatty quickly. But at least junk is free ! :)

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Hi! Just a few more ideas to add to the melting pot! When I was in the garden centre this week (looking for florists gel granules to put in the water table!!! apparently the water turns into a safe gel-like consistency - NEEEEED to try that soon but the garden centre didn't have any....) oops back to what I was saying - at the garden centre I saw bags of coloured play sand, red, yellow, green, purple, blue. At £10 for a small bag its definitely not cheap but still worth a try, for a treat! Will let you know how it goes down with the children but the grown-ups are keen!

 

We've found that varying the actual tray and location of the tray rekindles children's interest. From time to time I take in my clam-shell garden sandpit for working at floor level. Off come the socks and shoes, in go the cars, feet, bums, the lot (quite a lot of sand comes out admittedly) and we were particularly pleased to see the more reluctant children get really engrossed. Large boxes were called for and very soon a network of roads, tunnels and bridges emerged. The play developed over several days too.

 

Lastly, my friend has a fab thing at her school - I'm green with envy. In the playground there is a sand shed. Just inside the door is a boarded floor, doormat and a crate of wellies. Then there is a retaining board beyond which the remaining two thirds has been lined with thick plastic membrane and that's the giant sandpit area. It can be used winter or summer, during PDR or playtimes and guess what? I want one too!

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Hi

Some thoughts for the sand tray I have used when working in a Nursery School -

 

Road workers - playmobil people, with small tools, dumper trucks, wooden bricks

 

Bricklayers - brick moulds, 'flat' trowels, spirit level

 

various types of animals, creatures i.e.

woodland animals - hedgehog, squirrel, mole, fox with plastic trees and shrubs

mini-beasts - ladybirds, beetles, spiders, flowerpots, bricks or stones

 

with dry sand (only!) funnels, tubing and containers

 

This has started me thinking about what I could add in my present setting!

Regards

Jean

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Guest rhodessj

We put dry pasta shapes in our sand last week - kids loved it, but it took ages to sift all the broken bits out once we'd finished.

 

We'd started the week with a plastic trough filled with dry pasta and had a table with various containers, scales, scoops etc. They spent ages digging, containing and transporting the pasta. Loads of it ended up on the floor and got trodden in, but they REALLY loved it.

 

Although its a departure from sand - we also recently had containers filled with salt - initally, I put the polar animals in it. Once again they loved this. We had it on a table top in two large flat containers (cat litter trays); but have decided next time to extend it and use a variety of containers - tall & thin, round, clear, opaque and "bury" different things in it to use it as a "feely bag".

 

Hope that helps.

Sandra :o

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I just love this site. All these super ideas.

I have two smallish trays side by side, one for wet and one for dry, or that's the theory! I sometimes use a large peice of card, cut shaped spaces in the top and fasten it to the sand trays legs. I then paint a scene of some sort, for example grass and roads for an excavation site,leading to a point where they can use a piece of wood for a slope into the sand. They then have diiggers, tractors, playmobile people with spades etc. You can adapt this idea to your theme. We are changing our role-play to a Castle next week and will change the sand to the same theme, with a grassy surround and track, and we will provide small horses, knights etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just wanted to make you all jealous - we have an indoor sandpit and we have underfloor heating so if the sand gets too wet it will dry out - no cat mess either.

I have collected some short lengths of gass/water pipe which the children love, they make tunnels/ rockets and use them as giant rolling pins.

We also offer sand in small trays on the table, with small pots/scoops.

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