At my playground the sandbox was probably the coolest activity of all. It was the great equalizer for boys and girls alike–cool or awkward, creative or not, social or solo. This was the place where anything was possible.
You got to play in the ground in something that by all means would make you dirty, but you didn’t get dirty.
You could create buildings, bridges, roadways, tunnels, caves, “bottomless” pits, and just about anything that your imagination could think of.
You could work with just the sand, or you could bring in your own shovels, molds and other implements of building. And you could always bring your toys (cars, action figures, and even an occasional “buried treasure”)
You could work with friends, but it was also where you met and interacted with other kids you didn’t know. And you were all tied to that same activity. You were all working together for the same goal.
You could make up games
You didn’t even have to DO anything specific. Many a child enjoyed the sensation of running their fingers through the grains, watching them pour through the cracks and cascade to the ground like some sort of solid water. Other kids would enjoy the feeling of digging their hands into the flexible earth, sifting their fingers (and occasional toes) deeper and deeper.
And at the end of the day, when it’s time to go home, you always (somehow, no matter how hard you try) manage to take a little bit of the sandbox home with you.
But the greatest thing about the sandbox was that there was no “wrong” way.
Wouldn’t it be great if we all had sandboxes now?
We could create anything that our imagination could dream. We could connect and collaborate with old colleagues and new friends. We would all be equal, regardless of where we came from and who we were. We could all focus on a single purpose, and make up a new purpose in a moment’s notice. We could experience great satisfaction on our own or in a group. We could simply while the time feeling the texture and simple BEing in the experience. And when it was time to leave, there was always a few grains that stayed with you. (You know? Come to think of it, maybe we DO have a sandbox. Hm. I wonder. Anyone have any ideas?)