Lessons from the Sandbox

As a teacher, I’ve seen extraordinary things happen in the sandbox.  From friendships being formed to brilliant dreams explored, the sandbox was the place where we created, shared ideas, and learned to love, trust, and depend on one another.

Somewhere between grade school and grad school, we have moved away from the sandbox and through our world, forgetting the lessons that have potential to serve us best.

As past “Sandboxers”, we knew the value of play and the value of the people we have had the opportunity to play with.  We understood the sandbox was more than just fun and games; it was a privilege as it was the space that brought extraordinary individuals in our lives together.

And we certainly learned that everybody had a lot more fun when you played fair and played nicely in the sandbox.

As we embark on our conversations at this weeks K12 Online Conference to consider the role of purposeful play in our learning and lives, there is no one that can guide us more in these lessons than children.

Children play with purpose and passion; play is their work. And there is much to be learned by watching them do what they do best!

Take a few minutes and check out these “master sandboxers” in action. Consider what we could take away and bring to our conversations this week during the conference strands.  Please share your thoughts and comments here or on your blog, and I’ll be sure to work them into the conversations.

The success of our students, community, and organization could be waiting at the edge of the sandbox:

I’ll see you there soon!

Video Courtesy of Chad Lilly

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  • Charliejg

    Great article. Allowing children unsupervised/unstructured playtime together without adults solving all of their conflicts results in real problem solving lessons. It is also very interesting when it is a multi-age group. This is how we once learned to play games and learn social roles at the playground without adults stepping in to “fix” everything that goes wrong. 

  • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

    Teach, TEACH! You forgot all the other surprises that can be found in the sandbox?! You know, when they do “their thing” !? lol…

    Seriously, “Play” is sooo important for kids…especially physical play – outside. With all the tech at their disposal getting outside and exploring is disappearing, sadly!

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    And play is seriously important for grown ups too! Kids do it with ease, confidence, and competence we “educate” it right out of them. Hoping the conference will bring attention to the skills, strategies, and joy play can bring to our lives and work! 

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Thank you Charlie! 

    Free play is often thought of as “leisure” because it is unstructured. Yet, as you put so wisely it is during those times kids learn to solve problems, self monitor, and build the muscles of independent learning. 

    We have to let them play and learn to step out of the way when they do! Thanks so much for your comment and perspective. 

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Thank you for sharing the link here; I will be sure to check out your site. I appreciate you stopping by to share it with us. 

  • Lois Creamer

    Thanks for this thoughtful post Angela!

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Thank you Lois. There is much to be learned from students! 

  • http://remarkableleaders.com Paris

    Wow, This is really extraordinary. I totally connect with the sandbox. I sure do remember learning lots of lessons and not even realizing it. May be coincidence but this is the second time this week i have found something telling me to connect with my younger self. I began reading a book by Dr. Keith Merron from remarkableleaders.com and he provoked the same positive thoughts in my mind. Thank you. 

  • http://twitter.com/AngelaMaiers Angela Maiers

    Thank you Paris! So glad you connected with the concept. I love Dr. Merrons work and had not connected it to the Manifesto but will be checking it out now! Thank you for sharing!

  • http://remarkableleaders.com Paris

    Glad to hear you know Of Dr. Merron’s work. I connected it to a piece in which he has not published yet 😉 I’m excited for this new work to be released. Keep an eye out for it :)

  • Holly Gordon

    I love the sandbox! I love the beach! I love costumes and playhouses! I love mud and pie tins! I love cardboard boxes and wrapping paper! I love and thrive on imagination of children. When children are allowed to combine their imaginations, powerful things start to happen! God wants us all to believe like little children do. This is a powerful messege that would do all adults good to follow!

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