The Sand and Water Center in Child Care

Child playing at water table

Sand and Water Play Supports Children’s Development

Sensory play – including play with sand, water, Styrofoam peanuts, bubbles, beans, dirt, and other materials – can be an important part of the child care classroom or family child care home. Children exploring in the sensory center are learning some important skills.

  • Math and science skills: Sand and water play introduces scientific concepts such as sinking, floating, and changes of state (e.g., dry to wet). Exploring sand, water, and other sensory

Planning a Successful Sand and Water Center

Girl playing at water table

The sand and water center, sometimes known as the sensory center, is a great place for young children to explore, experiment, and practice fine motor skills. Playing with sand, water, and other sensory materials helps promote development and teach math and science skills. This center provides the opportunity for children to explore with all their senses.

Setting Up a Sand and Water Center in Your Classroom

  • Location: The sand and water center, or sensory center, can be set up

Using Sensory Activities to Teach Wonder, Investigation, and Discovery

Girl playing in mud puddle

Beginning in infancy, children in child care build their knowledge of the world around them through scientific exploration. “Wonder, investigation and discovery” are three words to describe science in young children. Child care providers can encourage and aid developing science knowledge in many simple ways.

In order to promote sensory awareness in children, child care providers may have to overcome the tendency to think about the world instead of experiencing it. We need to become toddlers again and discover wonder …

Teaching Science through Exploring Smells, Sounds, and Tastes

Sound containers

Young children learn so much by exploring the world using all of their senses. Child care providers can encourage children to explore the world using sensory information. Sensory exploration is also a good way to practice skills of scientific exploration, such as asking questions, testing hypotheses, and evaluating answers. Here are a few activities that encourage children to use senses other than vision to explore the world around them.

Simple Ideas for Exploring Smells, Sounds and Tastes

One of the …