Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Ins and Outs of the Sandbox

All kids need a sandbox. There is something so "earthy" about dirt. (haha) While I was watching my boys "play" in the sandbox, I was wondering, just what are they thinking? Do they have a rationale for this behavior? Is it merely fun? Do they have a goal in mind at the end of this play? Maybe they aren't thinking at all, just moving. All I know is there is more sand outside of the sandbox than in it. And I, being a neat and orderly person do not get it.
It amazes me how long the boys will play in the sand. I suspect I could leave the backyard go on a walk and come back an hour later and they would still be at it. By then though, the baby would have about a pound of sand inside his tummy (he's an eater) and the oldest would have piles of sand all around the yard. I often wonder if I should just save my breath instead of saying at least a dozen times per fifteen minutes, the sand goes in the box, where does the sand go, once it's gone it's gone--over and over and over.
I once heard my children's daycare director say, "yes, our one year olds are the fillers and dumpers." It was so spot on. Have you ever noticed that your toddler is intent on emptying out everything--Kleenexes, Lego's, blocks, cars, groceries, milk, cheerios--just to attempt to put it all back in the box again. Obviously they have yet to hear of Pandora. Maybe it's all about gravity. Maybe it's the sensory input of dry soft stuff on their little hands.
I don't know but I love to watch them. I could watch the boys play in the sand for a long long time. I love to take them to the beach. The oldest will dig holes for hours and the youngest will just grab handful after handful and look at it as if seeing it for the first time every single time. I love to watch them get in the sand box and then get out and squat down and stand up and walk around and come back and start the process over again. I mean, what on earth could require so much concentration? Every action is very deliberate.
There are some things you learn in the sand. Don't throw things (sand or shovels) you could hurt somebody. Don't take someone else's shovel unless they aren't using it. It takes more than one person to make a sandcastle, one to dig the moat, one to mold the sand. You have to take turns because nobody likes to dig ditches and everybody wants a castle. Be careful where you put your toys they could get buried in the sand and then you can't find them. Always put your things away and cover your sandbox--that way the dogs don't run off with your toys and the cats don't pee in your sand.
I reckon we should all go play in the sandbox for a while, we might learn something again for the very first time.

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