In 1925, Margaret Lowenfeld (1890-1973), an English pediatrician, left orthodox pediatrics and began the psychiatric treatment of children. She wanted to create “a free and protected space” in which children could communicate their needs and fantasies. In her clinic, she had a zinc tray filled with sand, and many miniature models of people and objects. She called it a “Wonder Box.” The children themselves created “worlds,” spontaneously and seemingly inevitably; thus Lowenfeld developed what she called “The World Technique.”
Dora Kalff, a Swiss Jungian analyst, attended a conference in which Lowenfeld presented her technique of communication, and went to study with Lowenfeld in England in 1956. Kalff called the technique “sandplay,” introduced it widely and influenced therapists both in the United States and in Europe.