Open Discussion Forum

1.  Sand Play for 1 Year Olds

Posted 06-12-2017 05:07 PM
Hi Laura,

The National Health and Safety Performance Standards, Guidelines for Early Care and Education Programs entitled, "Caring for Our Children" discusses serves as a valuable guide for programs. They suggest that sensory table play for children under 18 months is not appropriate, primarily because many of the materials that could be used pose a choking hazard. Here is a direct link:

Lynn Marotz
Lawrence KS

2.  RE: Sand Play for 1 Year Olds

Posted 06-13-2017 03:54 PM
While I agree that keeping sensory play safe is the top priority, I have to take issue with the idea of withholding water play from children under 18 months. The learning opportunities, as well as emotional development opportunities, are just too great to deny these children that experience. Of course, sanitary precautions and careful supervision are mandatory, and keeping water play individual rather than shared is also important, due to the weaker immune systems and likelihood of microbe transfer during shared water play.

A small puddle of water. just an ounce or two poured on a rimmed high chair tray or other individual play surface, is a perfect start for children as young as four to five months. Allowing them to use a small cup with an ounce or so of water to pour and splash in is great when they are able to grasp a cup. Holding an infant near running water and allowing them to observe and touch the stream is very compelling for them as well. And as they get a little older, more complex materials, such as a clean sponge, funnel, or clean washcloth make for fascinating exploration for the very young child.

Safety and sanitation are necessary, but as educators, we have to apply our own critical thinking to make the judgement calls about providing optimal opportunities for infants and young toddlers. Water play is a part of this.

Hazel Osborn
Loveland CO

3.  RE: Sand Play for 1 Year Olds

Posted 06-17-2017 09:53 AM
Hello, I am Kusuma .I think one year old like playing in sand.That require close observation.If there is a special sand box available for infant and toddlers while the number of children are in the ratio one year old can play in the sand box. That is true they put every thing mouth, but since the ratio is 1:3 (Maryland), my present and previous work one year old children play in sand. Even some teachers use sand in sensory table.
May be some of you do not agree, but if we can watch them they re safe to enjoy the sand.

Kusuma Udagedera
Silver Spring MD

4.  RE: Sand Play for 1 Year Olds

Posted 06-18-2017 01:10 PM
Regarding the use of water as a medium: A small inflatable wading pool placed on top of a cushioning firm surface, such a Wondermats, makes for totally free exploration and cognitive choice-making for mobile infants as they find gleeful play using fine and gross motor skills, crawling or creeping (on all 4's) in and out of the pool. These skills have been shown by research to advance the mindset for later academic skills, thus no need to purchase any STEM programs. My 8 month-old grandchild had her beginnings of water play totally safe and secure with her family easily in charge only of setting the nurturing environment for optimal self-initiated growth, both mental and physical. Less is more, the favorite adage of my teacher, Magda Gerber!
I agree that a water table is only for pre-school stage -- I watched an almost two-year old in my parent-toddler family support class obsessively pouring and overpowering water in a cup at the edge of the inflatable pool, getting more intense in her possessiveness. Of course she has a right to choose, but her ER is way infantile. I was told she has had a water table at home for a long time - the push-down curriculum of an overly-pushy parent expressing pride who has some big boundary issues.

Elizabeth Memel, M.A.
RIE® Associate
Resources for Infant Educarers®
Los Angeles and Ojai, CA