On March 11 in 2011, a massive earthquake hit Japan, leading to the tragic nuclear accident at the nuclear facilities and causing soil contamination in Fukushima. Children in Fukushima had lost their safe places to engage in outdoor play. They were unable to feel the joy of touching the soil of their land. This led many people in Fukushima to recognize the significance of safe outdoor environments for children to play in their healthy development and wellbeing.
Since that tragedy, ten years have passed. As a non-profit organization started by the members who hoped to bring the joy of freely playing outside back to the children in Fukushima, Fukushima Sand-Story has created a great initiative to restore safe environments by setting up a variety of indoor sand-play facilities and outdoor sandboxes. They have also organized many Fukushima-based sand -play and -art events for their children to touch and play with the sand, soil, and water of Fukushima, leading many children and adults alike to feel the pleasure of reconnecting with their beautiful natural environment.
Studies show that sand-play is essential for the development of healthy minds and bodies in children. People in Fukushima, who are fully aware of the significance of outdoor play, are now ready to share their stories of restoring the places for children to play.
This is why this story starts from Fukushima. Fukushima Sand-Story will pass down this story to acknowledge the potential of sand as an inevitable and powerful resource towards the healthy development of children. Moreover, the story of Fukushima Sand-Story will continue on through its creation of safe environments for children, while aiming to develop a model case of community development centring around children's sand-play.
Through the power of sand play and art, we aim to create a healthy environment for children to grow, and develop a community where children and adults alike can feel playful.
Hiroyuki Kasama is a professor at the Department of Contemporary Children's Studies, Faculty of Contemporary Social Studies, Doshisha Women's University. He has studied the history of sandboxes and sand play for over 30 years, and has given workshops and lectures on sand play across Japan. After the Great East Japan Earthquake, he has engaged with the restoration and creation of sandboxes and new sand play environments in Fukushima. As the president of Fukushima Sand-Story, he hopes to utilize his expertise and experiences by offering more places for children to safely engage in sand play and feel the pleasure of touching and creating with sand.
History of sand play - sand-play as a part of the playground movement in the 1800's in Boston.
Research on the effectiveness of sand-play on the development in children
The NPO Fukushima SAND-STORY offers advice and support on sand play for educators. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further questions, such as:
Different types of sand and equipments (white sand, antibacterial sand, sandbox, sandbox cover)
New sandpit setup in a garden
Hygiene of sandpits
Sand play and art in childcare and educational activities
Partnerships among preschool and primary school, etc for sand-play
Parents, children, and community recreation and event organization
The team "Fukushima SAND-STORY" was formed on 15 November 2013 at the Fukushima Indoor Sandbox Summit by members who shared the idea of starting the recovery process in Fukushima by restoring safe sand-play environments for children. Based on their diverse and rich experiences in welfare, education, and community development, the members work towards a brighter and hopeful future for children in Fukushima using the power of sand play and art.
Want to support the NPO Fukushima SAND-STORY?
Please share this website to your friends and participate in our sand-play events to have fun! The events information can be found here.
Please feel free to send us information and events related to sand.
→ Please contact us via the CONTACT page.
translate by Yukie Ueda, edited by James Proulx