Tots Sand play at Rai­l­yard Park

Kids Summer - - Front Page -

Par­ents in Santa Fe ob­vi­ously can’t take their tod­dlers down to the beach, but this sum­mer Rai­l­yard Park of­fers kids time to frolic in the sand and sun and also de­velop their cog­ni­tive and so­cial skills.

“Na­ture can be a play­ground,” said Christy Lee Downs, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Rai­l­yard Park Con­ser­vancy. That’s what tod­dlers 4 and younger will learn dur­ing the park’s third an­nual Sand Day Satur­days pro­gram. The fun in the sand be­gins May 26 and con­tin­ues each Satur­day through Aug. 11. There is no charge, and kids can show up any­time be­tween 10 a.m. and noon. The park’s two sand­pits are lo­cated near the Com­mu­nity Room, not far from the in­ter­sec­tion of Guadalupe Street and Cer­ril­los Road.

“It’s one of the very few such pro­grams for that age group,” Downs said, although sib­lings and par­ents are en­cour­aged to join in the fun.

Us­ing only small, com­monly avail­able kitchen and gar­den tools, such as spoons, scoops, buck­ets and pans, kids will play with sand and wa­ter. Child­hood ed­u­ca­tion ex­perts will be on hand each Satur­day to help set up the event and an­swer ques­tions about the ben­e­fits of sand play. Downs said that par­ents are some­times sur­prised by how much a child can de­velop cog­ni­tively and so­cially through such a sim­ple ac­tiv­ity.

“This pro­gram is . . . a ma­jor as­set to our com­mu­nity, and we see many par­ents re­turn each week, grate­ful for this op­por­tu­nity,” Downs said. “We set it up and just let it hap­pen.”

Downs said that an early child­hood train­ing work­shop on sand play is planned for late sum­mer or early fall. Also held at the Rai­l­yard, the class is for par­ents, ed­u­ca­tors, child care staff and others who work with young chil­dren.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit rai­l­yard­park.org or call 505-316-3596. No reg­is­tra­tion is re­quired. Just show up.

KITTY LEAKEN

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