Zhuhai is a coastal city. We have the sea on one side and the mountains on the other. Having the sea so close by has so many benefits: while we can’t really swim there for the pollution reasons (we have a large cargo port here), there are few beaches with nice sand and lots of seashells laying around. One of our favorite summer time passes is a quest for seashells. Once our daughter became older we started taking her to the local beach area to play with the sand and she’s been obsessed with seashells once she found out that “you could listen to the sound of the sea”!
Once at the beach, we go on a seashell quest: our daughter and my husband walk around and look for seashells that could be added to the collection and played with at the beach. Seashells are great natural toys to compliment playing with the sand!
So what can you do with all those seashells your child brings home? You can paint them! It is so much fun and we enjoyed this activity using regular tempura paints. Acrylic paint will do too. And depending on how smooth the shells are, you can also use regular paint.
Here are some tips on painting shells:
1. Wash them and dry well first. If you wish, you can polish them with sand paper as well if the surface if too rough (we actully enjoyed painting over the rough surface).
2. Mixing colours will only add to the fun!
3. Add some glitter into the paint or use glitter glue after the paint dries – they will have a lovely glow!
4. Painted shells are not suitable for fish tanks!
If you don’t have an easy access to shells, you can do the same with rocks! Our daughter is also obsessed with collecting rocks – they are easy to handle and can be painted on as well!
Have you noticed how fascinated most of the children are with sand and mud? Has it ever crossed your mind how magical the sand play can be for a child? Even adults enjoy sand play and there is a whole science of creating sand images. It’s one of the most adorable sights – to see a child exploring the texture of the sand with his/her little hands and feet.
A couple years ago I came across a method in psychology called “sandplay”. This method is used to correspond with a person’s inner state of mind by allowing him/her to draw and build images out of sand. A friend of mine took her boys to this therapy for a few years and she said it helped them really improve in many ways, and especially to formulate unresolved emotions children often have due to not being able to express what they feel.
My older daughter LOVES playing with sand. She is a very spirited child and once she masters the game more or less, she seeks for more challenging things to occupy her. Sometimes she easily gets bored so she jumps from an activity to activity. But playing with sand can last a while. We don’t have sand boxes where we live but we have a lovely beach nearby where the local authorities created a special area for children to play, under the trees, protected from the sun by their shade.
I notice that she feels more relaxed after playing with the sand and less agitated. I can either sit right next to her and play with her together or let her play on her own (under my supervision).
Few things however you should remember when allowing your child playing with the sand:
1. Some children like to taste everything. If you have a tasty-tasterson, choose the sand that is clean.
2. Playing at the beach or in the park with sand, make a “sweep” of the area for trash, pieces of glass and plastic. It could be a fun activity with an older child.
3. Don’t hesitate to let your child barefoot in the sand – it is extremely healthy and it helps especially those children and adults who have a flat foot syndrome.
4. While playing in the sand with bare hands is fun, spend a few bucks on buckets and shovels. At home you can collect all sorts of plastic containers and bottles (cut the top) to use in your sand play.
5. Enjoy it. And let your child enjoy!
Happy sand play and thank you for reading my blog!