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Home | Activities & Field Trips | Things to Do With Kids | Hand's On Play

Hand's On Play

By Jody DeRosso  

Not all children learn the same way. Some seem to sit back and observe while others like to talk and ask questions. Then there is the child that loves to jump right in and get started – they love action and exploration. This is the child that loves getting messy and experimenting with all kinds of textures and activities.

One of my boys fit into this category. His favorite thing to do was play with our sand/rice table. In the summer I would move the table outside and fill it with sand and water. During the colder months I would bring it indoors and fill it with rice or split peas (this is a LOT cleaner). You can purchase a pre-made water/sand table or make your own. Keep in mind that if space or money is an issue you can simply use a box or bin you have on hand and place it on the floor on top of a low table.

Simply provide scoops, trucks, measuring tools of all kinds and the play will last for hours. It’s a good idea to have “stackable” clear bins for easy storage. Use one bin to store the sand (or whatever you use) and a separate bin with tools and toys such as:

Keep in mind that there is no "wrong" way to play. Let your children try anything, as long as it is safe, letting them get as messy as they want. This hands-on play is often very messy and gooey, but provides your child with important skills such as:

There should be adult supervision of the children while they play, regardless of their age.  Kid’s tend to “experiment” by tasting, sticking things in their nose or ears etc.

Now it’s your turn. Most of these items can be found around your home. With few purchases and some organization you can put together a great play station. I bet that with a little encouragement you can even get that child hanging back or the one talking in the corner, playing in the sand too. You can do it, and I bet I just might find you having a little fun in the sand too!

About The Author

Jody DeRosso is a mother of 2 grown boys. She owned and operated a daycare for 12 years. Her ideas come from a love for children and experiences in teaching over the years. You can check out other ideas and tips on her web site child-resources.com.