Problem-solving skills soar as children create sensational sand spaces!
- Grades: PreK–K
- variety of building materials, including small wooden and plastic blocks, small cardboard boxes, small pieces of cardboard, tubing, egg cartons, craft sticks, medium to large pieces of Styrofoam, sticks, and rocks
- plant cuttings or plastic leaves
- variety of plastic containers
- shovels, scoops, and plastic spoons
- small plastic people, animals, insects, and vehicles
- plastic spray bottles (for water)
- camera and film
Using a variety of materials in the sand area to create imaginary environments, children will develop creative-thinking, language, and cooperation skills.
1. Collect the suggested materials and separate them into containers. Show children the materials and explain that they will use them in the sand area to construct a "sand land." Create a schedule with the class so that each day a different group of children will have a turn. Post the schedule and review it with the group during morning meeting.
2. Encourage each group to look over the materials before they build. Ask children to think about different types of places that could be built. Will it be a city with a lot of cars and people or a place where animals or insects live? Will they make tunnels and bridges? Which types of materials will they use for their buildings? Offer assistance to make sure that each child has an opportunity to participate.
3. Provide children with a few spray bottles filled with water so they can moisten the sand for building. Give them sufficient time to work on their constructions.
4. Take photographs of children to document the stages of the project. Invite the class to view their finished work. Ask the group to tell their classmates all about their sand land.
5. Keep the materials accessible to the class so they can continue to develop their creative-thinking, math, and problem-solving skills in the sand area.
Curriculum Connection: Literacy
Writing About Our Sand Land. Provide each group photographs of their sand environment. Ask children to recall how they worked together to make their environment and have them arrange the photographs in sequential order. Glue the photographs onto sheets of paper and record their descriptions of the photographs. Use their dictations and photographs to make a class book or wall display in the sand area.