Standing at the sand/water table facilitates the use of fingers, hands, arms, and trunk while maintaining overall balance and coordination of the body. Playing and digging with shovels, funnels, and scoops in sand or water provides resistive activity, which supplies the muscles and joints in the hands and arms with information that is sent to the vestibular and proprioceptive sections of the brain. This increases body awareness and allows practice of grading of muscle use for different daily activities. Eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills such as shoulder stability, forearm rotation, wrist control, and hand grasp-skills needed for future writing are facilitated bysand/water table play.
Sorting items and problem solving are cognitively based skills. The sand/water table allows cognitive skills to be integrated with physical play, which creates a dynamic and engaging learning environment that supports cognitive development.
Playing in a variety of media possessing different textures offers opportunities for children to experience and discriminate a multitude of sensory information through the skin. Stereognosis skills are worked when children feel and identify items (e.g. toys in sand) that they cannot see.
Interactive and pretend play is how children learn and develop social skills such as verbal communication, sharing, helping, compromising, requesting, offering, and friendship building. The sand/water table can be considered a smaller version of the beach!
Speech and Language:
The gathering of children around an emotionally engaging activity promotes the use of spontaneous speech and language.