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Sandbox Play-The dynamics of the public sandbox

Updated on July 13, 2011

Recently, for a 2-week stretch of time, my 2 year old granddaughter was able to make a daily visit to a public playground. Together, her mom, myself, and her auntie watched her play; and it was very interesting to see her begin to interact and to watch how a sandbox "society" works.

A little background, my granddaughter, an only child, lives in a rural area and doesn't have daily contact with other little ones. The public playground had an amazing circular sandbox which was recessed in the ground with a nice wide curb to sit on. A metal backhoe type scoop was mounted off one edge of the sandbox.

The First Couple of Visits

Equipped with the appropriate bucket, shovel, and scoop, she approached the busy sandbox slowly. She was unsure as to what to do. We, her family, watched from a nearby bench. She walked over where her mom, myself, and auntie were sitting and set her equipment down and then watched the other children play. We were able to convince her to go over to the sandbox. She did scoop some sand and watched the other kids all while keeping an eye on us at the same time. She made a few trips back to our bench, each time bringing her sandbox toys with her.

Sandbox Comfort Level

We made sure she had her toys and headed to the playground. This time she walked a bit more confidently to the sandbox and began to play. Other kids were there as usual and some brought their own toys too. We watched as one little guy reached for her scoop to use. She looked at us, questioning what to do, and we told her it was ok for him to use it. After he was done, she made sure to grab her toys and bring them to our bench.

Now She Loves It!

"When are we going to the playground?" was the question of the afternoon. This time she ran to the sandbox after throwing her shoes to her mom. She dropped her toys and started to play with another kid and together they played, sharing toys and sometimes crawling over to another toy that was needed. When she decided to play on the jungle gym, the sandbox toys were left behind to be retrieved on our way out.

How the Transformation Took Place

The transformation from being the shy new kid to being one of the regulars was so much fun to watch and the way all the kids got along, even though they were strangers to each other.

It was a silent understanding between the kids in the sandbox that they toys were community property as long as they were within the sandbox boundaries. You rarely heard protests if one kid grabbed another's shovel. Together these kids built a very decent sand castle, with the help of a "big" kid. They worked together, hauling water, filling buckets, and scooping sand. Even the coveted backhoe scoop was shared.


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      Patrick 6 years ago

      As "our " little one's Godfather I took great pleasure in reading this very observant and well articulated story. Given enough time I have no doubt she would have been elected "Mayor of the Sandbox" and would quickly appoint her staff based on their experience with various toys and sand manipulation. ;P I guess we're going to have to make room for a sanbox next to the jumpy house. :) Poppop.xxxxooo

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      Debbie Carey 6 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Nice hub! It is amazing how children work things out themselves! Good observations! Voted up and useful!

    • MimiKat33 profile image

      MimiKat33 6 years ago from Northeastern NY State, USA

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the article Denis. It was so interesting to watch children getting along even though they were strangers. Makes me wish adults could follow this example.

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      Denis St-Michel 6 years ago

      Beautiful article Katherine! I particularly like the way your phrase this "It was a silent understanding between the kids in the sandbox that they toys were community property as long as they were within the sandbox boundaries.".