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Nothing but Sand

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Learn Every Day About Our Green Earth

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Learn Every Day About Our Green Earth


  • sand table
  • shovels
  • strainers
  • pails
  • litter (clean bottle caps, scraps of paper, aluminum foil, gum wrappers, plastic rings from a six-pack of soda, and so on)

Learning Objectives

The children will:

  1. Learn the importance of keeping our beaches clean.
  2. Use tools to clean the sand in the sand table.
  3. Develop small and large motor skills.


  • Bury the litter in the sand table.

What to Do

  1. Ask the children if they have ever been to the beach. Did they see litter in the sand?  Tell the children that litter makes our beaches and oceans dirty. It can hurt fish, birds, and other sea animals. Explain that animals sometimes eat litter because they mistake it for food, and it can make them very sick. It is important to keep our beaches clean so that our planet can be healthy.
  2. Have the children pretend that the sand table is a beach. Ask the children to use the shovels and strainers to clean up the litter in the sand. They can collect the litter in the pails. Have the children continue until the only thing left in the table is the sand.

Teacher-to-Teacher Tip

  • The third Saturday of September is Coastal Cleanup Day. More than 60 nations participate in this annual event to clean up the shores along oceans, lakes, and rivers. Encourage the children and their families to take part in the largest volunteer day on the planet.


Consider the following:

  • Ask the children why we should keep our beaches clean.
  • Can the children use tools to remove litter from the sand in the sand table?

Children's Books

  • Beaches by Emma Bernay
  • Beaches by JoAnn Early Macken
  • Blue Bug's Beach Party by Virginia Poulet


Submitted by Laura Wynkoop, San Dimas, CA.

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