Sand is a play activity that entrances children of all ages and abilities. Sand is a playable medium as well as a natural safer surface around play equipment. It also has an established ancillary educational function, and can be used to demonstrate the science of weights, pulleys and chutes.
At Theories Landscapes we design innovative sandpits, and comprehensive sandscapes to serve a multitude of landscape play functions. We believe that sand play need not be confined to a little sand box and where possible sand can cover the whole area of the playground and incorporate a myriad of other activities or equipment, or natural features such as rocks and trees.
Sandscapes are used for imaginative play activities, whereby an open area is filled with sand with supporting play structures and activities placed on or around it. The play environment blends seamlessly with the landscaping and vice versa. The child can gain unsupervised access and play opportunities, independently of teachers or staff.
Sandscapes can also incorporate shade structures, covers and other devices, to help keep the sand area clean and more easily controlled. In some instances, the need to cover a sand play area can be turned into a sliding deck that offers play opportunities even when closed. In others, fabricated tent-like covers are made, under which children can continue to play even in the rain or protected from the sun.
Best ‘play’ experiences often incorporate activities that a child engages with on their own volition and without adult supervision. We also know that the type of play that can most effectively engage a child’s imagination for the longest time involves ‘loose parts’ that the child can manipulate, mould. It demands imagination far beyond the mundane reality. Conversely a fixed piece of play equipment that looks like a pirate ship is what it is and can be nothing other.