It is no secret that I hate sand. No, hate is not too strong a word in this case; in fact it might not be strong enough. I would choose the countryside over the sea side any day and the thought of discovering beach sand in amongst my bags etc… months after a beach holiday is enough to put me off for life. As we all know parenthood is full of curve-balls and so it is not surprising then that both of my children love sand.
Please note that despite my loathing of all things sand, my children do spend a great deal of time in the garden and flowerbeds, the sand pit (yes we even have one of those) and in all things sand related. I suppose one of our jobs as a parent is to suck it up for the good of our little ones.
You see, playing with sand is one form of sensory play which is exceptionally important in early childhood development. We all know that our five senses are sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing and by engaging children in activities that stimulate these senses, we help them to retain the lessons that they have learnt while at the same time further developing the senses.
Not following me? Think about your favourite song, now, when you hear that song in your head what other memories does it evoke? When I hear a certain Bon Jovi song (no judgements) it reminds me of an overseas trip I went on when I was in school. I immediately then think of the smell of a new body lotion that I had bought specifically for that trip and although this might seem completely random, it illustrates how our senses (in this case sight, smell and hearing) evoke emotions, lessons and memories that we have learnt.
Children are no different and although their lessons and memories associated with sensory play are slightly different, the theory is the same.
So in the spirit of this I decided to try a new kind of ‘sand’ that I came across on Pinterest one day: Snow Sand. Now, one of the things I liked about this is that it isn’t at all like regular sand in terms of texture; however the little ones are able to play with it in the same way.
For the snow sand you need
• 2 boxes of corn flour
• 1 can of shaving cream (not the gel). My daughters of course chose the pink one
• Food colouring of choice (optional)
• A large plastic bucket or tub
• Wooden spoons for mixing (although we mainly used our hands)
• Shape cutters and other toys to play with in the snow sand
1. Empty your two boxes of corn flour into the large tub
2. Spray over the entire tub of shaving foam
3. Mix the two together
4. Add in your food colour. It doesn’t integrate that well with just stirring so you have to work it in with your fingers.
Crumbly and wet like snow but dry like sand… and PINK!
My children loved the snow sand and actually so did I. It was very soft and the shaving foam made it smell lovely. The texture was very strange and it could be very crumbly but you could also compact it to make shapes or build little snow sand sculptures. It felt wet and dry at the same time too, very odd. What I loved about it the most though is that it wasn’t at all grainy like regular sand and although it went EVERYWHERE (you might want to put down an old sheet if you are indoors) you could just dust it off like you would flour and pop the clothes into the washing machine and it was gone without a trace.
I wasn’t joking when I said it went everywhere.
Imprints using playdough cutters.
Along with sensory development this activity also engages your children’s fine and gross motor skills, a real winner in my book.