The emergency exit to outdoor learning...
Seriously - if those are parents comments about sandpits it is no wonder kids have nature deficit disorder. Staining? COld? Hot? You are kidding! I am pretty sure the majority of Australian kids have sandpits in their back yards when they are young, some are just temporary, and I don't think any of the kids get stained clothes from it! Thanks for debunking some of the myths!
Great post Juliet! As for it being too hot in Australia for sandpits - we have a giant shade cloth over ours, problem solved. And on those incredibly hot days, we might "close" the sandpit for those dangerous midday hours. Actually, if you wet the sand the sandpit is the coolest place to be on hot days (if it is protected from the sun)
ROAR on, sister!We went many years without an outdoor sandpit, but having added one earlier this year, I'm seeing such amazing play and confidence developing among the kids. I'm lucky to have a community of parents who expect their kids to come home dirty, cold, sweating, and with every pocket filled with sand.We've also become an indoor-outdoor school this year, which means there is sand all over the classroom floor every day, and since we're a co-op those same parents are responsible for cleaning it up. Instead of complaining, they're working to come up with solutions WITHOUT EVEN INVOLVING ME!! It's fantastic! Just last week one mom brought in a variety of mats to try out by the doors to help kids knock the sand off their shoes. We've had to send our vacuum to be repaired 3 times since we started this and no one has complained. I'm very lucky.And by the way, that burlap bag sandbox cover was sewn largely by the children themselves with the help of one of our parents with sewing skills!
The timing of your post couldn't be better - I just posted about our backyard beach (http://goexplorenature.blogspot.com/2010/07/fun-friday-backyard-beach.html). Ours is mobile & kept in the shadiest part of the backyard. And the kids love it. Boo hoo to those who knock it! :o)
Thanks for all your thoughts. It's been a funny sort of week. I've been interviewed for two different research projects about various outdoor learning matters. In both, the subject of barriers to getting children came up. Now I could go down the line of blaming heath and safety bureaucracy, or parents, or lack of resources and money, etc., etc., etc. But the biggest barrier is our mindsets. Indeed I'd argue it's our only barrier. Where there is a will there's a way. Where people aren't willing, there is no way or a harder way.We're in the business of changing minds and hearts as well as children's lives.
Nice one Juliet! Here's a post of mine about setting up our backyard sand area:http://squigglemum.com/kids/backyard-sand-play/And here's another too, on a bit of a tangent, about my son tossing sand around and the lesson he taught me!http://squigglemum.com/faith/with-joy/
Thanks for the mention Juliet. In the last few weeks we have been approached by several local authorities who have received grants to build play facilities including sandpits, so we are reformulating a concentrate to give periodic treatment of large areas.Our best advice is to rake out all debris before you use the sand pit and regularly give toys a clean. For those worried about animals we recommend putting a net or wire mesh over the area (dependent on size). This allows the wind, rain and sun in which will keep inhospitable for bacteria moulds and fungi and keeps out animals, twigs and large leaves. Please email me if anyone has any specific queries!
Catherine - It was your sandpit blog that caught my attention several months ago and made my heart sing with joy because a big parent blogger is espousing the simple pleasures of spending time outside with her children.Iain - As usual great advice. I just wish more people would listen to you! Iain - founded Toyguard several years ago and is not the run-of-the-mill businessman. When I first met him, he was on a rant about how it's the children that matter!!!
I can't believe people getting so worked up about sandpits! Sandpits are probably cleaner than most beaches I've been to, and I can't wait to put one in my yard (when I have one!) I have only ever encouraged my daughter to play in sand and dirt (even if the sand is the black kind and she is wearing a pretty white dress! Fun is more important than laundry!).
Thank you so much for the link back and the link to We Play. As you know, I am a big champion of sand play and this is a fantastic post putting paid to the excuses adults make!
Wooden sandpits are nice is you ask me, if you are looking to buy one check out: http://www.gardengames.co.uk/acatalog/Sandpits.html
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