acepuppets

Posts Tagged ‘sandpit


 

castle_in_the_sand_by_qqbin

The sand castle we all attempt to make but fail miserably

Since we have been blessed this year with Mediterranean weather my son has chomped his way through lots of orange ice lollies and built castles in his sandpit. We decided to buy Alistair a sand pit because every time I picked him up from after school club he would be knee-deep in the sand pit.  In fact whenever there was an opportunity to dig or water play equipment was available Alistair would be covered in sand and soaking wet.  My Mum informs me that I used to shovel mud into the kitchen when I was small, so this predisposition to digging  was probably inherited from me.

We decided that the day could be rearranged so that Alistair would be able to come home at normal school time, which meant that he could relax more after school and I would be more organised to listen to him read.  This meant that he would miss playing in the sandpit so I decided to get him a smallish sandpit that is big enough for him to enjoy getting covered in sand and dig to his heart’s content.

The sandpit is under a garden tap so I encouraged Alistair to be sparing when adding water to the sand.  This was a piece of advice he chose to ignore and he turned the tap on so high that he couldn’t turn it off.  After following the screams I found him standing in a sandpit that resembled the beach when the tide came in.  We got as much water out as we could but it was still like sinking sand.  Of course sand this wet was not very good for building with so Alistair’s first play with the new sandpit lasted about ten minutes and it took two weeks for it to dry sufficiently for Alistair to play with it again.

At last the sandpit is dry enough for construction purposes and frantic digging has resumed, everything is covered in sand and my son has learnt how to use the vacuum cleaner.   If you ask a child why they love playing in sand and water they just tell you that it is, ‘fun’.  Sand and water play is actually classified in both the heuristic and imaginative play categories and probably many others too.

Heuristic play is essentially having the ability to play with everyday objects you find around you.  Little children are encouraged to play with pots, pans and wooden spoons while slightly older children can make tents with sheets.  Heuristic and imaginative play tends to merge into one when children are left to their own devices, this is particularly noticeable when playing in a sandpit.  As long as your child is not likely to eat the sand you can step back a little and let them get absorbed into their own adventure.

I suspect that this heat wave will dry the sand out again and the whole water episode will be repeated.

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Life-the-Universe-and-Everything-470x260

I have most of my deep and meaningful conversations with my son in the confides of our yellow car.  The rest of the time our conversations are pretty mundane and ordinary.  On the way to my parent’s house Alistair explained to me that when people died their soul went into new babies and everyone goes to Heaven even if they were naughty.  When asked about how this sharing of souls is affected by a population increase he responded by saying that new souls were made.  This was an explanation as to why some people seemed to understand life quicker than others – their soul was older and more experienced.  My son does go to a church school so some of his theories may have evolved during shared worship.  However when I have taught in non denominational schools, children still have a fascination about the creation of the earth.

According to Alistair without a doubt God or some other godly entity exists who created everything – this of course leaves one question remaining – Who made God and who made the person who made God and so on … ? Maybe this interstellar insight is the reason why elderly people flock around newborn babies as if they are the Ark of the Covenant.  They all want a little piece of Heaven – of course by the time your baby is a screaming toddler who will not get up off the floor they scuttle past with stealth.  For children a belief in an omniscient one is simple, while being an adult your thoughts are tainted by everything negative related to religion.

At the moment religion seems to be causing more problems than it is solving because people are doing awful things in the name of their god.  If the Almighty is displeased why can’t he/she/it be left to vent his/her/their own wrath on the world.  The Christian Church is heading towards its most famous celebration in the whole of its calender – we do have to remember that many toddlers were sacrificed to enable one child to have safe passage.  Poets like Wordsworth and Coleridge tended to acknowledge that the countryside and all of its wonder were proof enough of a higher entity.

I read an article called, ‘How Sand And Water Play Can Unlock The Secrets Of The Universe‘, and in it is says that the Universe means everything around us and that we are all made of stardust.  It demonstrates the simple fact that children who are very young believe in a god in the way they did before science, writing and religious leaders tweaked the word of god to suit their own purposes.  Maybe we will all find god in the sandpit or water fountain or at least appreciate the wonders of our universe – however it was created.


sand-pit-with-toys

When I ask my son what he has done at school each day I feel really sorry for the teachers because all he remembers is everything he has done at playtime and who he has fallen out with.  What he doesn’t say is that he enjoyed the English lesson that the teacher spent hours planning last week or that he felt fulfilled by the fact that he finally understood a mathematical concept that had been difficult to grasp.  At the moment the most exciting thing about school is the new sand pit and swing that has been fitted in the playground.  I am actually delighted that my son gets excited about such simple pleasures because it just goes to show that however enthralling a computer game is there is nothing like swinging in the air or sculpturing a fantasy land in a sandpit.

My son is a very cautious child who didn’t fall over very much when he was a toddler, however he seems to be collecting a lot of grazes and bruises on his legs at the moment indicating that he is getting more adventurous and daring.  I asked him if he could swing by himself and apparently he can swing three times by himself, which is fantastic.  If you look at the science of swinging it is amazing how much the body benefits from such a pleasurable activity.  Children also learn how to take turns and how to encourage each other to swing higher. If you also add the feeling of flying into the mix you can see why swings are still such popular pieces of playground equipment.

My son is also raving about the sandpit, which is pretty big and covered when not in use so that the local cats don’t contaminate it.  If there was a sandpit club after school my son would be first to put his name on the list, he totally loves constructing fantasy worlds, digging and covering himself with the little particles.  When my son started school the thing that made him very happy was the fact that the reception class could still play in sand during the day and on a visit he told the teacher that they needed to put more sand in the sand box.  He is in year one and sand play is not part of his curriculum so the sand pit in the playground is like a dream come true for him.

My son loves school and is always excited to arrive in the morning and reluctant to leave at the end of the day.  I only hope that he finds learning fun for the whole of his life.