☆Promote children’s holistic development through child-initiated play with sand☆

We encourage child- initiated play through sandpits #no.1

☛☛ Encourage child-initiated play!


 (2nd Apr 2019)

We consider that it is important for children to play actively by themselves, thinking what to do on their own and interacting with peers and facilitators. 
Based on this premise, we have been encouraging children to play with sand. Sand play can be enjoyed by children actively according to their interests and development. Through sand play, it is considered that children can develop their creativity, social and emotional skills, physical skills, as well as scientific and mathematical interests.
Sand play is recommended in the Quality Standards of the Egyptian nurseries, operated by the Ministry of Social Solidarity too.

see my handling of tools and sand.


we cooperate to put sand in a container.

It's fun to play with sand with friends!

I am still little, but love sand play!

Sand Play Article No.2

  (4th Apr 2019)

☛☛ Installation of sandpits

Many of the project target nurseries have already finished installing sandpits and have started to allow children to play in them. The cost of installation of sandpits are being discussed by the Ministry of Social Solidarity which we cooperate with. The facilitators and persons responsible for the nurseries also cooperate with the project team, so that they are fully aware of the educational purpose of the sandpits.
Given the situation, we are pleased to report to you that the JICA ECD-Project has completed the construction of 12 sandpits in 12 target nurseries in 4 governorates (Suez - Qalyubia - Kafr El Sheikh - Port Said), based on the agreement with the Ministry. (The Ministry will follow up with the remaining nurseries until they build the sandpits.) Some guidelines and instructions for safety, hygiene and enhancement of children’s play have also been provided to the nurseries. 
We look forward to seeing more and more children play with sand and hope their further development.

We think and play by self and with friends.

We are happy to have a sandpit

The texture of sand is so nice!

Congratulations on completion of sandpit construction!


Sand Play Article No.3: The nature of sand can stimulate children's creativity and imagination

(9th Apr 2019)      


☛☛  Activity Day in El Noor Nursery in Qaliubya

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes.


Children in the nursery enjoyed making a sand mountain, making it harder with hands, and even decorating it with round marks and pudding-like shapes of sand made with cups. In addition, they enjoyed stamping and drawing on sand on a tray.

The nature of sand being easily made into various shapes allows children to do these activities. Such a nature of sand stimulates children’s imagination and creativity, and encourages them to try various things with sand. These activities are considered to promote children’s skills, including fine motor skills with the use of hands and fingers, sociability by sharing pleasure with peers, and language skills by talking with peers.

Make a sand mountain harder by tapping

Decorate the mountain with round marks

Draw and stamp on a sand tray

Shake sieves!

Sand Play Article No.4: Sand play can be enjoyed by children at various ages in different numbers of groups (alone, with a few peers or in a big group)                      

(11 Apr 2019)


☛☛  Fun event for children and parents in Ganet el Atfaal Nursery in Qaliubya

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes.


Children at various ages in the nursery played together with sand. In this setting, younger ones can learn from older ones while older ones get to know how to take care of younger ones. Sandpits can be enjoyed by children according to their development levels, and provide them with interactive learning opportunities. 

In addition, children in the nursery played with sand alone, with a few friends or in a big group according to their interests and preferences. In each case, children can learn something different.

Such receptiveness of sandpits is also worthy of note.

  Many children get together!            

Concentrating on putting sand in a bowl alone

Two boys making a high mountain. 

 Children at various ages play together!

Sand Play Article No.5: Using water can enhance sand play  

(18th Apr 2019)

☛☛Activity Day in El Ghad El Gedeed Nursery in Suez
Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes.
Children in the nursery play with sand using water; As with water, sand play becomes even more enjoyable and educational.
Here are some reasons for it:
First, children feel the difference of dry sand and wet sand, which have different heaviness, colors and textures. In this way, children can recognize the nature of sand and water and enhance their sensibility.
Second, children can shape sand much more easily with water. This helps younger ones notice the results of what they have done for sand, while helping older ones boost their creativity and imagination and create their images.
Third, children’s scientific interests can be stimulated through using water with sand. They may try to make the best balance of the quantity of sand and water to create a good shape of sand pudding or a sand ball. They naturally compare various ways, think about reasons for success and errors, and use the experiences for the next time.
Lastly, children’s ideas about mathematical concepts, such as numbers, quantity and shapes, can be further developed when using water with sand. This is because as mentioned above water can allow children to deal with sand in more various ways. In various kinds of sand play, children can have more opportunities related to math concepts.
Let’s enhance sand play with water!

 Sand feels different when mixed with water!


Trying various ways by self

Sand Play Article No.6: Parents' understanding, MOSS cooperation, infants' play with sand

(5 May 2019)

☛☛Activity Day in Panda Garden Nursery in Qaliubya

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes.


The manager and facilitators of Panda Garden put significant importance on parents’ understanding of educational purposes of sand play. On this premise, they held a fun sand play event for parents and children. The coordinator of Ministry of Social Solidarity also deeply agrees with the idea and attended this event. 

In the event, after enjoying a puppet show and singing, children, even infants, had fun by playing with sand. Some enjoyed colouring sand and making colourful sand cakes, while others had pleasure in making sand mountains or making special fine sand by sieving.


Please pay attention to the infants playing with sand in a photo and a video attached. While doing so, they are discovering what sand is like and improving fine motor skills by trying to handle the spoons. Through feeling pleasure in interaction with the older ones, they can also improve social skills too. 

To scoop sand & put it in a plate can enhance the infant’s fine motor skills 

 44 parents and a MOSS coordinator joined the event!

Coloring sand is fun

Sand Play Article No.7: Play with sand barefoot & walk on sand                 

(10 May 2019)


☛☛Activity Day in Zohoor El Maamal Nursery in Suez

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes.


Children in the nursery played with sand barefoot. They enjoyed walking on sand, and feeling its texture with hands and soles of the feet dynamically. It is considered that being barefoot allows children to exercise muscles in their feet and helps the feet develop without restriction of socks or shoes. (This activity was possible as the nursery maintains the sandpit clean without anything that may cause injury, and the children’s parents are very supportive!)

Additionally, it is considered that walking on sand can improve children’s balance skills and strength in feet as it needs more of them than walking on a solid place.

Moreover, it is regarded that feeling texture of sand with hands and soles of the feet allows children to enhance their sensibility.


Children also played with sand with the use of various tools, trying their ideas as they like. They are learning through play!

This is like walking on the beach.

Sand feels very good!

Enjoy the texture of sand with friends.

Try own ideas with tools. 

Sand Play Article No.8: Parents' understanding; Sharing experience with other nurseries 

(12 May 2019)   


☛☛Activity Day in El Hady El Nabawy Nursery in Port Said

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes; share experiences with other nurseries


The nursery organised a fun event of sand play and other activities for children, parents and facilitators of other nurseries. The nursery’s efforts in getting parents’ understanding on sand play paid off, and it received so lovely messages from the parents. Here are some examples: 

“I would like to thank the nursery for organising this day and bringing joy to our children through some activities such as playing with sand.”

 “Sandpit helps children know new shapes and discover new ways o playing.”

“I would like to thank the nursery for having the sandpit.The children felt that they are sitting on the beach!”

This event must have been informative for the facilitators from other nurseries too!


The project appreciates the nursery’s efforts and would like to continue providing it with any technical support on sand play

Parents and other nurseries’ facilitators had fun with children. 

Look, our puddings! It needed concentration to make such beautiful shapes.  


Sand Play Article No.9:  Sand play among children at around the same age; Some tips for enhancing sand play   


(16 Jun 2019)   


Activity Day in Asafeer Altadamon Nursery in Qaliubya

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes


Children at around the same age in the nursery played with sand together in a circle. They enjoyed feeling texture of sand and putting sand in and out of plates, bowls and moulds.

Children can play with sand with peers at around the same age or with those at different ages. As written in one of the previous articles, both have advantages. The advantages of the former for older children, like in this nursery, include the followings: Children can challenge activities  which are suitable for their development; Children can easily find those who are interested in the same activities; Children do not have to be so considerate, compared with the cases for them to play with little ones.   

Here are some tips for further enhancing this activity, when children get used to sand:

Use water to allow children to make shapes with sand Make the most of the plasticity of sand to enhance children’s imagination and creativity.

Encourage children to choose what they will do with sand, including tools, places, and peers, and let them play as they like Children will have more chances to think, try and experience errors and successes alone or with friends. In doing so, children can learn how to communicate with others and how to express their feelings and thoughts by language.  

1.Enjoying playing and talking with peers.

2. We are cooking something tasty!

Prepare recycled items as many as possible Children are “artisans”. They will come up with the ideas of how to use the items, which make their play more and more enjoyable. 


Enjoying playing and talking with peers.

We are cooking something tasty!

Sand Play Article No.10: Various experiences with sand (drawing with coloured sand; seeking treasures; making a coloured mountain)


 (18 Jun 2019)   


Activity Day in Mostakbal Nursery in Kafr el Sheikh

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes

Children in the nursery experienced various sand activities with peers and facilitators.

1 Look at my water melon decorated with coloured sand.

First, children coloured their drawings on paper with coloured sand, using glue. The experience of seeing and dealing with coloured sand may enhance children’s sensibility and stimulate their creativity. In addition, the fact that they can stick sand on paper with glue must be interesting to them and will be useful for them.


Second, older children hid paper-made carrots in sand with only their leaves shown on sand, and younger children sought the carrots. Younger children love seeking and finding something hidden. This interaction between older and younger children can further develop their bonds and improve their sociability.

2. Where are the carrots?

3. We made the word and the mountain!

Last, children made a word and a mountain with sand with facilitators. They used recycled boxes and plastic cups in various sizes. Through this activity, they learn that they can express themselves with sand in various ways, making the most of every day tools available around them. Moreover, the idea of making steps of sand by using different-sized items may stimulate their basic mathematics interests.     


Where are the carrots?

We made the word and the mountain!

Look at my water melon decorated with coloured sand.

facilitators helping children to color using coloured sand

Sand Play Article No.11: Great efforts for enhancing sand play


11 Jun 2019)   


Activity Day in El Koloub El Rahima Nursery in Qaliubya

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes

The report from the nursery tells the nursery’s great efforts for enhancing sand play:


1. Efforts for improving parents’ understanding:

“We made a meeting with the parents at first to answer their questions and concerns concerning sand play . We helped in raising their understanding and awareness for the importance of sand play, and the happiness the children feel when they play freely.

We invited the parents in the second meeting to play with children in sandpit and this helped them to see their children happy and understand the importance of self-initiated play on the ground.”


2. Efforts for enriching children’s play:

“The children played together, this helped them to develop their cooperation skills in groups. We made many shapes using dry sand and wet sand and knowing difference of textures, we also introduced corner play inside sandpit by introducing kitchen corner and using kitchen, cooking tools that we have received from the project-JICA. We made competition between children to see who can make a specific shape in a short time. This is to teach them importance of time.”


3. Efforts for maintaining the sandpit clean and safe:

“We followed all instructions that the project gave us for maintained of sandpit. We used cover to protect sandpit and prevent cats, dogs and animals from making it dirty . We always expose it to sun and air . All this to ensure that it is clean and safe for children before they play.”

All these great efforts pay off, and help the children’s holistic development!



Note: To further enhance the play, if parents’ allow, using bare hands is recommended. It allows children to feel the texture of sand and use hands easily, which help them develop their sensibility and fine motor skills.  

     We are so happy to play with sand!

   Concentrating on sand play…

Smile with friends in a sandpit

Sand Play Article No.12: Play with sand actively with support from various stakeholders

((Event held on 3 Jul; Article posted on 13 Jul 2019) 

Fun Event in Horras el Akeda Nursery in Qaliubya

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes


Children in the nursery enjoyed sand play while their parents and facilitators, other nurseries’ facilitators, Moderya staff, the Vice President of JICA and some other JICA staff and experts observed them. They mixed plenty of water with sand and played actively as they liked. All the attendees to this event were happy to see such children.

After the observation, the attendees made sure with the JICA expert how effective sand play can be for children’s holistic development.


Here are the voices from the nursery about sand play:



“The sandpit is very important for children to take all their energy in useful activities. Which develop some skills such as self-confidence, language skills, sociable skills through communicating with others and some academic skills such as knowing numbers. It also help children learn to be cooperative and have sense of challenge. They learn art as well by making houses, trees, pyramids and other shapes using sand. The children also learn to take others opinion and listen to each other.”



“Parents say they encourage and support the idea (of sand play) as its very useful for children to take away negative energy and bring positive energy. We would like to thank JICA for taking care of children and developing their skills.”

We all work together to promote children’s holistic development. 

Talk with the JICA Vice President

Using water with sand is fun! 

Make sure the effects of sand play together. (Picture book event was also held on the day.)



    What we can do more for those children? 

Look at my sand castle made with a bucket.

Think and try with sand as we like!  

Repeatedly experiment to make a good shape of sand pudding!

Sand Play Article No.13: Sand play activities going very well!   


(15 Jul 2019)   


Fun Event in Dar el tofola elsaeeda Nursery in Qaliubya

Purposes: encourage children to play with sand and improve parents’ understanding of its educational purposes


The nursery has reported to the project about their sand play activities very positively as follows (The photos here were taken in the Fun Event in Mar, 2019): 

 “The children were very amazed by self-initiated play in the sandpit. They made many shapes using the sand play tools and the parents were very happy to see creativity of their children.”

In addition, the Moderya coordinator reported as follows that the nursery has been doing necessary activities for promoting sand play:

“The nursery has made an introductory meeting with the parents to raise their awareness and understanding for the importance of sand play for their children. The nursery facilitators made sure that children understand what sand play is before getting into the sandpit. The facilitators also were concerned about the cleanliness of the sandpit and using the cover while not using.”

The project members are very pleased to see the reports and hope that sand play activities will be more and more promoted in the nursery and beyond.   

Parents with children at the sandpit

     Even the edges can be good spaces for play

 Infants and older children together

Make the most of recycled materials.

Got lots of sand to my place!

إخلاء مسؤولية: المنشورات علي هذه الصفحة لا تعبر عن آراء او اتجاهات وزارة التضامن الاجتماعي او هيئة التعاون الدولي اليابانية (جايكا) وموظفيها وشركائها

This site is established with assistance from Min. of Social Solidarity of Egypt,  ECD-JICA Project, and PEPerson Kids and Youth.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) nor the Ministry of Social Solidarity of Egypt (MOSS) and its affiliates or employees.