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Toddling Through the Silicon Valley

By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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A community in the sand

Uploaded: Jun 15, 2018
As a kid I spent a lot of time playing with friends in our sandbox. My parents hid pennies in the sand for us to dig up at birthday parties. My neighbors and I made countless sand castles, rivers, and construction sites over the years.

When our son was a toddler, he spent a lot of time playing in the sand with his friends at the park. Sometimes these outings were quite frustrating for all of us. Older kids took excavators out of toddlers' hands, castles were stepped on, and toys were frequently scattered across the park or lost.

After one exceptionally frustrating park outing, I remember driving our son to Half Moon Bay so he could enjoy the sand in peace and quite. And I asked around for sandy park recommendations and discovered Scott park, a small and surprisingly empty park in Palo Alto with sand. He could happily play in the sand undisturbed.

This week our son and his friend spent two mornings digging in the sand. And as the mornings progressed, the boys were thrilled to be covered in sand and water. It was a great reminder about how important it is for kids to have time to work together and create with sand, water and other natural materials.

Looking back at our son's toddler years, I wish I would have known how enjoyable it would be to watch him collaborating in the sand just a few years down the road. Of course there are still disagreements, but when everyone works together, it's wonderful to see what the kids can create with sand, water, teamwork and imagination.
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Posted by True Story, a resident of Palo Verde,
on Jun 15, 2018 at 5:22 pm

This reminds me of my son's memories of kindergarten. The teacher asked the parents to boil up some chicken bones until they were clean and white so that they could be buried in the kindergarten sandbox for the kinders to dig up as fossils. Many, many years later the family were watching a documentary about archaeologists on a dig for fossils. My son mentioned that there were a lot of fossils under his elementary school because they kept digging them up in kindergarten.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 16, 2018 at 9:55 am

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

True Story- What a wonderful memory. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by Life lessons, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 20, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Thanks for this reminder. Good collaboration is a life skill that can start in the sand box. And disagreements between toddlers are ok too. Helping them figure out a way to work out differences or decide to move on to something else to play with is ok too. Making good choices like steadily reminding our children that throwing sand at another child is never okay. Grabbing another child's toy and making them cry can be remedied not with more toys or different friends but with positive reinforcement, imaginative distraction. Allowing a safe way for kids to explore the sand box is uncomfortable sometimes for parents. This uncortableness includes seeing our children accidentally stepping on another's child's stick creation or another's child coming over and taking my child's shovel. Yet in the scheme of larger things in life it all “sand under the bridge". We as adults must model good sand box behavior and etiquette. My children spent 100's hours in the sand box learning many valuable social skills and sharing rules. When my children see sand at the beach they revert to happy giggly toddlers once again. They learned how to work together in a sand box. Sand boxes as metaphor can be a life lesson worth the time to understand for all of us children and yes adults.

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