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Benefits of Sand & Water Play

Posted By:

Early Learning Furniture


16 June 2017

Sand and water play encourages sensory development and provides the ideal opportunity for children to explore the benefits of messy play.

It helps to improve their co-ordination skills by developing arm and hand muscles, gross motor and cognitive skills as well as mathematics and the art of balancing and weighing.

Playing in water and sand can be very soothing for children as well as entertaining. Sand and water play is encouraged from the early stages of nursery and pre-school right though primary and sometimes secondary school.

All children enjoy exploring sand and water as it's usually in the form of self-directed explorative play. It allows them to work independently or with other children. Sand and water play enhances their social skills and ability to share and play with others. 


Sand and water is used widely in early education. As this type of play is so fun most children don’t consider it to be educational.

It can have a huge impact on the development of children's mathematical concepts. Exploring sand and water teaches children to try out different mathematical ideas, it helps develop problem solving skills and challenge themselves and others.

It helps children to understand different movements such as tipping, splashing and pouring as well as different concepts like ‘more than’, ‘less than’ and ‘equal to’.

There is a lot to be learnt from sand and water play, and children can develop a clear understanding of colour, size, capacity, measurements, weight and time.

It gives children the opportunity to test out ideas and predict outcomes of certain situations and engage in deep thinking and learning.

It teaches children about the physical properties of sand by playing with it and helps them to compare the differences of wet and dry sand. They can also learn the theory of pouring sand from one container into another and compare the amount of sand that fits in each.

It is also great for promoting creativity and imagination through role play and developing stories. You can add toys to the sand or water which allow children to act out different scenes.

Great for sensory development and improving vocabulary as children can discuss how the materials feel and engage in conversation about their sensory experiences.  


Not only is sand and water play educational, and helps with the development of cognitive skills, it’s just so much fun.

Children love the opportunity to express and explore and even more so when it gives them the chance to get dirty. Messy play is great for children and touching things is how children learn the most. 

Mixing water and sand allows children to explore what happens to solids and liquids when they are mixed.

Add buckets and spades so children can make sand castles, or add figurines so children can play and create stories by using their imagination.

Children can spend hours of fun exploring sand and water and they can learn so much in the process.


Playing with sand and water encourages childrens to use their upper bodies and arms in ways that other toys do not. Pouring, digging, lifting, sifting, scooping and splashing are all physical activities that require a degree of muscle strength.

Legs and lower bodies also get worked on as children often squat in the sand or water, as well as lifting and carrying buckets or bowls from one place to another.

In addition, children develop their hand eye coordination and small muscle control with the small movements that is required in this type of play.

Playing together encourages team work, communication and socialising skills too. When children play together in a shared sandbox or at a sand and water table, they are often faced with problems involving sharing tools, negotiating for play space, and compromising on what to build in the sand.

These are all skills that children will need for the rest of their lives. 

What ELF Can Offer

Our sand and water play station is perfect for indoor or outdoor use. Manufactured from a hard-wearing birch-plywood which is coated with a protective layer making it durable and long lasting.

Choose from 3 heights to suit children of all ages – 29cm suitable for 12 months+, 44cm for 2 years+ or 59cm for 4 years+. 

Supplied with a clear polycarbonate plastic tub which can hold either sand or water. The optional canopy and accessory kit is a great addition to the sand and water play station. It features funnels and plastic tubing with an adjustable activity shelf, great for holding these items.  It gives children the opportunity to see how water acts when it is poured through the play tubes and funnels.

Our freestanding sand pit and freestanding water table have been designed for outdoor use. Manufactured from tanalised pine timber with a natural finish, these play tables have been built to last.

Supplied with a wooden cover which allows you to cover the contents when play is over. 

The outdoor wooden sand pit is a versatile play solution which can double up as a planter for young children to learn about flowers. The high-quality frame of this sand pit makes it durable, sturdy and boasts enough room for outdoor group play. 

The wide surrounding ledge of the sand pit is designed so that children can be seated during sand play, or can be used to tend to plants and vegetables.

The Seaweenies water tray complete with toy pack is designed with early education in mind. It teaches children mathematics, weights and balance, and also helps them to develop their motor skills in a fun way.

Manufactured from durable ABS plastic in a blue or clear finish, and includes an inset lid for covering over the contents when play is over. The fully welded yellow steel frame includes two castors on one end for easy transport and storage.

For more information on our school play equipment, or any of our other products please contact us or call us on 01733 511121.

At Early Learning Furniture we are experts in school classroom furnitureclassroom storage and school library furniture for primary schools, pre-schools and nurseries.

We understand the importance of education within early years and provide the equipment you need to create an exciting and stimulating learning environment.



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