Although play in a kids sandbox is generally fun and entertaining, some more lasting and important child development and learning benefits can result. One benefit from sandbox play is the development of motor skills that will enhance the childs ability and success in the future. Specifically, these skills are (1) large and (2) fine motor skills.
Large Motor Skills
Large motor skills refer to physical development of the larger muscles such as the arms and legs and the control of those muscles. Development and control of these muscles are important as they are used in other sports and activities such as basketball, soccer, golf, dancing, and tennis that can be enjoyed throughout a lifetime. The movement and control of these large muscles and the whole body can have a lasting impact on future movements.
Sandbox play helps develop these large motor skills as the child moves buckets of sand from one place to another or moves to the other side of the sandbox. Also, jumping in the sandbox and riding sand toys helps develop these skills.
Fine Motor Skills
Fine motor skills refer to physical development and control of the smaller muscles like those in fingers and toes. Development and control of these muscles are important as they are used in writing, painting, tying a shoelace, and other small movements. Eye-hand coordination can help make learning to hold a pencil and control its movement much easier. This can assist in the development of early educational skills.
Sandbox play helps develop these fine motor skills through the childs building of castles or fine structures in the sandbox. The use of the thumb and fingers in carefully molding and moving sand to develop towers, mountains or other imaginary structures helps develop these skills.
In conclusion, while sandbox play may appear just to be entertainment, the play experiences definitely can have lasting benefits for the child. The development of large and fine motor skills can promote easier educational learning such as printing and writing and also lead to greater coordination in physical education such as sports and fine art activities. So from what appears to be simple sandbox play is actually enhancing the childs future.