Importance of sensory play
Children are natural explorers, investigating and experimenting with the materials found in their environment. Sensory play refers to any activities that allow children to explore and engage with materials that stimulate their senses. This type of play can help children develop their fine motor skills, learn about cause and effect, and explore new textures and colours. One type of sensory play that has become increasingly popular in early years learning is sand and water play.
A fantastic resource for physical activity and relaxation, playing in sand and water can help develop hand-eye coordination and enhance understanding of colours and shapes. For children who use mobility aids or wheelchairs, it can be difficult to participate with their peers as most ground level sandpits are inaccessible.
Accessible sand and water play for early years
Introducing Inclusive Play’s Dune, an elevated sand table designed with different access points and a belly seat for children who require more support. The belly seat creates an alternative play position, accessing the sand on their front whilst being supported by the support peg, knee platform and side wings.
A space to access the sand from within, stepped access and space for 2 wheelchairs creates opportunity for cooperative play. The multiple play positions created by the design results in children of all abilities accessing the sand at the same level, playing side by side.
- Various access points
- Supportive belly seat
- Two spaces for wheelchair access
- Two areas for stepped access
- One central play space
- Circular design results in side by side play
- Compact tray for affordable sand maintenance
- Moveable and easily stored for seasonal use
- Customisable side panels
- Suitable for sand and water play
Peer play ability and mental health
Research by the University of Cambridge states children who learn to play well with their peers by the age of three are likely to enjoy better mental health later in childhood. For disabled children, barriers like inaccessible play equipment can prevent peer play participation. When play involves collaboration or sharing, it contributes to developing important social skills for the future.
Sand and water play for all abilities
Sand and water play are tactile activities that can develop fine motor skills, learn about cause and effect, and explore new textures and colours. With Dunes elevated, circular design and multiple access points, children can play in a position to suits their needs. Now, all early years children can enjoy the benefits of sand and water play, side by side.