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Innovative Teaching Methods: Interactive Sandboxes in Early Childhood Education

Reading Time ~6 minutes
April 10th, 2024
What first comes to mind when you think of interactive equipment? A table? A wall? A touch-responsive screen? But did you know there are entirely different kinds and forms?

In the second article of our series on innovative educational methods, we delve into interactive sandboxes and their role in children's developmental work.

The first article in the series was about immersive sensory rooms. It discusses how interactive sessions make learning for children and the work of educators easier, and what equipment is required for a sensory room in preschool educational institutions. Be sure to read it!

What is an Interactive Sandbox?

In simple terms, it's a sandbox equipped with sensor technology and a projector. Modern equipment can project various videos, images, and scenarios onto the sand that respond to children's actions. By interacting with the sand, kids can engage in developmental games, explore information, and learn about the world through tactile experience, gaining early team-working skills.

Why Use Interactive Sandboxes?

The main goal is learning through play. Children learn to perceive the world in three dimensions, develop fine motor skills, logic, spatial thinking, and creativity. Additionally, like traditional sandboxes, interactive ones are spaces for children's socialization, adjusted for the realities of technological progress.
Benefits include:

  • Speech development
  • Improved coordination
  • Psychological state stabilization
  • Stress relief
  • Enhanced attention and memory

And this is just a glimpse of the interactive sandboxes advantages.

Where are Interactive Sandboxes Used?

They are found in educational and rehabilitation institutions, entertainment centers, museums, libraries, and the offices of psychologists, speech therapists, and special educators.

Sandboxes are ideal for equipping play and learning areas, facilitating the comprehensive development of children of different ages.

Interactive Sandboxes in Early Childhood Education

Due to their versatility and adaptability, interactive sandboxes are gaining popularity and recognition among educators and parents worldwide. Applications vary widely.

Sandplay Therapy in Kindergarten

Using a sandbox, educators can foster positive relationships among children and lay the foundation for harmonious psychological development. Interactive sessions serve as a prevention against hypodynamia and developmental delays. Different modes allow the integration of activities into the curriculum and thematic planning.

Interactive Sandboxes in Schools

Interactive sandboxes are actively used throughout the academic year to deepen the study and reinforce learned knowledge. Sandplay therapy facilitates the social integration of students with special educational needs.

Sandplay Therapy for Developmental Correction

Sand games, accessible to every child, aid in speech correction and the development of emotional and volitional spheres.

Interactive sandboxes offer numerous game modes for exploring the world. Treasure hunts, studying animals and birds, or even building your own city cater to all ages and interests.

What is Sandplay Therapy

It might seem that Sandplay therapy is just playing with sand. Essentially, it is. Yet, it's also a psychotherapy method based on Carl Gustav Jung's analytical approach. These meaningful games provide a deeper self-exploration and connect with the unconscious. The symbolism in visual thinking reveals answers when experiences and fears are hard to articulate in words.

Conducting Sandplay Therapy in an Interactive Sandbox

Teachers often spend lessons not on therapy, but on trying to calm children. Boys throwing sand at girls, someone burying themselves in the sandbox, others happily eating educational materials — sound familiar?

Use these recommendations to make your sessions as effective as possible.

Creating a Safe and Creative Environment

Lessons should take place in a safe, creative atmosphere where students can freely express themselves. Directed, soft lighting can create the right mood.

Learning Through Play

Game rules should be presented in a form understandable to children, such as fairy tales or poems. Use a variety of games, involving the children in their creation. Our methodological guides at POGUMAX provide game descriptions in poetic form to make sessions easy for educators and interesting for children.

Open Communication with the Teacher

Students should freely share their impressions with teachers. Encourage emotional involvement and trust.

Age-Appropriate Exercises

It's important to adjust the difficulty of exercises to the age and unique characteristics of each child. Interactive sandboxes allow for the adjustment of complexity levels for children from 3 to 13 years old.

Experiencing Situations Through Play

Children learn to understand the consequences of their actions by exploring the difference between the imaginary and the real world. Use special modes designed for contemplating and evaluating actions in a playful manner.

Animating Educational Symbols

Abstract concepts, numbers, and letters are easier to grasp through visual and tactile practices. Incorporate interactive equipment in the learning of new, challenging information.
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