Little kids (ages 2-4):
Start by scooping sand until you cover your kid’s feet, legs, hands and arms with sand. Marvel at their disappearance, then cheer as they burst back out from under the sand.
Older kids (whenever patient enough)
Try to scoop enough to cover their entire body with sand. Take a photo so the immobile child can appreciate what he/she looks like covered in sand.
Add some math (kids 5+)
Dig a hole big enough to fit your child (shoulders to toes), lay your child in it, then fill in the hole (It will appear as if his/her body has actually disappeared). To get started, ask, “How big should the hole be if your body (shoulders down) will fit in it?” See how they approach that problem and follow their lead.
Some solutions: Lie down and be traced; Use a stick, flip flop or other long, thin object to approximate their length and width (at shoulders), then make a hole with those dimensions; Use a dollar bill (6” and usually readily available) to measure their actual dimensions and make a more exact hole.
It turns out that the weight, texture, dampness and varying temperature of sand resting upon your skin makes this a super charged sensory experience for kids, amplifying the learning potential. Further, kids ages 1 through 5 or 6 practice universal behavior patterns which include the habit of enclosing oneself. There is no better way to hide out than to be covered with sand.
For most kids (especially those ages 3-5), this is a challenging lesson in self control to hold still long enough to actually get to buried. Finally, it can be a great springboard for learning some fundamentals of math, giving the perfect context for teaching about volume, as well as measurement and problem solving skills.
We think all families should be learning outside. Try this activity with your child and begin to see the power in outdoor, play-based learning. Have fun!Email it to me