The Benefits of Sand & Water Play

sensory playground equipment - sand box

Sand and water play encourages hands-on learning and can be easily linked into the school curriculum


You don’t have to be on the beach to reap the benefits of playing with sand and water. It’s not unusual to see Sand Boxes, paddling pools and sometimes even waterways in local parks and school playgrounds. These playground resources provide great opportunities for sensory play, which is essential for healthy child development. Keep reading to find out further benefits of playing with sand and water.

Sand, Water and Science


Sand and water play has a major role in early science learning. When it comes to sand and water, children naturally want to explore and experiment. Combining sand and water will help children to understand changes in texture and consistency. If you have a water way, constructing this to keep the water flowing will boost problem-solving skills. Try adding sand and watch as the grains flow along with the water. Allow children to add more sand and observe as it blocks the waterway. Experiment with adding rocks of different sizes to the water too. Learners will be able to apply these same concepts to other areas of the the natural world.

water wall for schools

Sand, Water and Maths


Sand and water play can also be easily linked into the mathematics curriculum. Children can use measuring spoons and cups, containers of different sizes and measuring scales to gain an understanding of measurement, weight and counting. Challenging children to estimate and then count how many scoops of sand it takes to fill a container can be great fun, or even having a competition to guess how many scoops of sand are already in the container!

Physical Development


All that digging, scooping, sifting, pouring, building and cleaning up sure takes a lot of energy. Sand and water play is a fun way to develop children’s larger muscles and gross motor skills. Adding play accessories such as spoons, rakes or toy boats will also promote children’s hand-eye coordination and allow them to practise their fine motor skills.

sand box early years

Imaginative and Creative Play


Building extravagant sand castles, making sand mountains and islands and using fishing rods to hook magnetic fish are excellent ideas for engaging children in pretend play. Creative play improves children’s ability to understand new concepts and enables them to connect with their environment. During role play with their friends, they will develop social skills and emotional understanding.

Promoting Calmness


Sand and water play can be very calming, meaning that it is an excellent activity for children who are a little hyperactive, those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and those with other disabilities. When it comes to sand play, add water and let children enjoy moulding shapes. For water, try using warm water as this is soothing, letting children run their hands through it. Add coloured food dye or glitter then mix in a large, clear container.

outdoor water table early years

If you feel that learners in your school would benefit from sand and water play, we would be more than happy to discuss playground options with you, just simply contact us through the website. To look at options for your outdoor learning environment, visit our dedicated Sand and Water Play Page for more information.

You May Also Like:


Why Pretend Play is essential for Independent Learning

5 Brilliant Playground Resources For Early Years

How Outdoor Play Supports the Early Years Curriculum