Kinetic sand is one of those things you will come across sooner or later as a parent. It is so much fun to play with, and as a form of sensory play, it is also good for your child’s development. Unfortunately, kinetic sand is rather pricy. Therefore it is great to know how to make homemade kinetic sand. It saves you a bunch of money and is fun to make at the same time. You can even make it together with your kids.
There are many different recipes for homemade kinetic sand out there, some more sand-like (like this one), others more stretchy. And just as with playdough for example, everyone seems to have their own favorite recipe. In this blog post, I will share my favorite recipe with you.
What is Kinetic Sand?
Kinetic sand is sand that sticks to itself like wet sand does, like the darker kind of sand on the beach that you can build sandcastles with. But with wet sand, over time, the water vaporizes, and the sand becomes very dry, almost powder-like, and it becomes impossible to build anything with it. This happens in our sandbox all the time. One warm day and all the sand in the sandbox becomes powder with which we cannot build anything.
The cool thing about kinetic sand is that it stays ‘wet’ because what makes it wet isn’t water but oil. So you can always build sandcastles with it. It is wet enough to sticks to itself but not so wet that it sticks to your hands or the table. It is a very satisfying kind of feeling to play with, like the perfect sand.
Why is sensory play so important
Kinetic sand is a great form of sensory play. Sensory play helps build nerve connections in the brain and encourages language and motor skills development. It also aids the development of abilities to focus and block out distractions. (Source: only about children).
Playing with kinetic sand can also have a calming and relaxing effect on both kids and adults. It provides a range of sensory experiences. You can squeeze it, mold it, smash it, run your fingers through it, etc.
My favorite recipe for homemade kinetic sand
So here comes the recipe:
- 2,5 cups of play sand (colored sand if you like)
- 1,5 cups of cornstarch
- 1/5 cup of baby oil (as vegetable oil would eventually get rancid and smell bad)
- 1 tbsp of dish soap
- Optional: liquid food coloring.
Mix the sand and the cornstarch with a spoon or with your hands. Make sure the sand is completely dry before using it. I used normal sand-colored sand from our sandbox, but you could use colored play sand if you like.
When mixed well, add the oil to the mixture.
Now add about a tablespoon of dish soap to the sand. You could add a little more if you like. Just see how it feels.
Now for the food coloring. Sand actually doesn’t take on the color of the food coloring so well. I put about 40 drops into the mixture before I stopped. It turned sort of purple, although you can’t see it so well in the pictures. I actually like the color, but I think it wastes too much of my food coloring, and also, since it doesn’t stick so well to sand, it colors your hands instead. So actually, I think it best to stick with the color of the sand. Of course, if you want your kinetic sand to be colorful, you could use colored play sand.
We play with the sand indoors. It gets a bit messy while playing, but it is easy to clean it up. Since the sand sticks together, you can simply scoop it all to a ball and pick it up. I would advise you to clean the floor before playing, because then when you pick it up from the floor, it won’t all mixed with dust, etc., and can be used again.
You can use sandbox toys or playdough tools to play with the kinetic sand, or add small cars ect. for even more fun.
Obviously, this kinetic sand, although non-toxic, isn’t edible. So make sure you always supervise kids under 3 years of age when playing with it.