HOME PLAYS FOR LITTLE PEOPLE 19
needs a little guidance. Alas, no plaything is a perfect self-starter.
A sand sieve, made by punching holes with a nail in a tin box-cover, seems to add an entirely new aspect to the situation. A sand-mill may be bought for 35 cents, which has a wheel that may be eternally turned by the action of falling sand. Hollow tin figures of houses, trees, etc., with which to make miniature villages, may be purchased for a dollar a dozen. There is a box of wooden letters and figures, each about four inches square, for $2 a set.
The homely things are just as good. It does not hurt the cooky mold to use it in the sand-pile, and the nursery blocks and the kindergarten beads are already at hand.
The first modeling experiments of children with sand are simplicity itself. They just dig holes and build smooth mounds, accompanying the same with a peaceful back-and-forth motion and a crooning sound suggestive of incantation. The holes are probably to find the water in, and the mounds are what the hollow of the hand shapes when it moves lovingly over the material. The second stage is tunnels, especially under the mound or between two neighborly ones, called "houses." Bridges, precarious indeed in duration, are about as far as childish sculpture would naturally go.
My best memory of sand play is the gravity railroads we used to make along the edge of a gravel bank, sending marbles and spools shooting down winding grooves from the top. We had to leave a sentinel to guard our handiwork while the rest of us went home to dinner.
They are even using sand in Sunday school. I know some boys ten years old who, one day when their teacher was absent, pleaded, "Can't we go back into the primary room to-day? We never had such work when we were kids." The "work" was the construction of the hilltop of Bethlehem, with stable and manger complete. It is a pretty, fascinating prospect that will send big boys back to be companions of the babies.
So here perhaps is your resource for a home vacation.