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Finger gym – Exploring shapes and patterns with sand

Finger gym - sand
Finger gym - sand

What you need

  • A little bit of sand/soil
  • For this activity, your child could simply use their finger to make marks, or they could use a stick, a spoon or a lolly stick


This activity leaves lots of room for boosting your child’s communication skills as they explore lots of describing words while they create their own image. It also helps to build the foundation of their early mark-making, working towards the first stages of handwriting.

The experience

Use a flat surface; it could be a tray, a chopping board or even just your table (if you are not worried about getting too messy).

Lay out the sand (or other resource of your choosing) on the surface, then begin to model making shapes and patterns with your finger, encouraging your child to join in.

Follow their lead on what marks they want to make and comment on what marks you are making. For example, ‘My picture looks spikey; it has 3 bumps. This part is wiggly.’