7 Sand Activities for Kids | Sand is the ultimate sensory activity for kids, am I right? Whether you're playing with actual sand at the beach, have a water and sand table in your backyard or preschool classroom, or like to setup a kinetic sand bin for your kids to enjoy indoors, sand will keep your little ones busy for hours! In this post, we've curated the best sensory play ideas using sand to keep your children and students happy while also helping them work on their sensory skills!

Summertime is finally here! For many of us, this time of year brings back memories of sunny days spent playing in the sand on the beach or at the park. There is just something soothing about scooping up sand and letting it sift through your fingers. Playing with sand is a big part of childhood, and we’ve put together a list of our favorite ways to sift, dig, draw, and create with this summertime ingredient. There’s no beach required for these 7 sand activities for kids!

4 Benefits of Sand Play

Sand play is beneficial for kids at any age and can help younger children build physical and social skills including:

  1. Socialization – Kids have the opportunity to build on their social skills when they play together, and sand play offers the chance to work on skills such as sharing and problem solving.
  2. Language development – Kids can strengthen their language skills when they take part in sand play. Parents can encourage this by asking their child to describe what they’re doing, how the sand feels, etc.
  3. Boosts creativity – Sand play is a catalyst for creativity. It’s the perfect medium for building, molding, creating patterns, and drawing designs.
  4. Sensory stimulation – Playing in the sand is a super-tactile experience. Kids can develop their sense of touch by playing with different textures of sand – dry, damp, and wet. Activities like burying things in the sand or molding it into shapes also helps to stimulate their sense of touch.

6 Sand Activity Essentials to Invest In

Grab these 6 sand activity essentials and you’re ready to play!

  1. Plastic tub – A large plastic tub or container is the perfect place to not only mix up your sand creations, but also a great place to play. Look for a tub that has a lid to allow for easy clean up and storage.
  2. Rimmed baking sheet – A rimmed baking sheet or even a plastic tray can provide an even surface for building and molding, while keeping it all contained and easy to clean up.
  3. Play sand – If you’re not near a beach, the next best thing is to purchase a bag of play sand. You can use it on its own or as an ingredient in different sand-based activities (see below!).
  4. Sand molds – You can purchase a set of molds online or at your local dollar store. Or you can get creative and find things around your house that can be used to help shape the sand, like cupcake tins and small bowls.
  5. Plastic buckets – Having a large plastic bucket on hand is great for mixing up a batch of sand foam or moon sand. Smaller buckets are perfect for molding damp or wet sand.
  6. Sand toys – You can find sand toys just about anywhere. Look for toys that will inspire creativity such as rakes, shovels, sifters, small molds, and even plastic construction vehicles. This set is a great all-in-one option!

7 Sand Activities for Kids

  1. Dig for dinosaur bones! – Your little paleontologist will love digging for dinosaurs. For this activity you’ll need some plastic dinosaur bones and some Kinetic Sand. Fill a plastic tub with the sand and bury the bones inside it, packing the sand around them. Have your child use a paint brush or toothbrush to slowly excavate the buried fossils. When they’re done, you simply rebury the bones and start again!
  2. Make scented sand paint – Create some sweet-smelling artwork by making a batch of scented sand paint. The recipe is so simple, your child can do it themselves! Mix one cup of flour with a packet of Kool Aid, then slowly add water until you have the consistency you want. You can use different packets of Kool Aid to create different paint colors. Use the mixture as finger paint or even sidewalk paint.
  3. Draw outside with sand – For this activity you’ll need some clear squeeze bottles and colored sand – that’s it! Fill each bottle with a different color of sand, using a small funnel to avoid a mess, then just head outside. A driveway or patio is the perfect spot to create some colorful drawings. Have your child tip a bottle of sand over or gently squeeze it, letting the sand flow out as they create a colorful picture or design.
  4. Make your own sand dough – Did you know that you can make your own sensory sand dough at home with just three ingredients? You need 3 cups of play sand, 3 cups of flour, and one cup of either cooking oil or baby oil. Start by grabbing a large bowl and adding the ingredients one by one, then mix it all together with your hands. A great way to play with it is to have your child roll it out and use cookie cutters to create different shapes.
  5. Create an indoor beach – Surprise your kids by creating a beach inside! You’ll need a large plastic tub, along with 8 cups of whole wheat flour and 1 cup of cooking oil. Have your child help you mix it all together using a whisk until there are no clumps. Then it’s time to play and explore. Add some beach toys and seashells to make it feel like a real beach!
  6. Make some sand foam – Sand foam sensory sand is made with just two ingredients, shaving cream and sand. Start by filling up a bucket or plastic bin with some play sand. Next, add a large amount of shaving cream and mix until you have a light, fluffy mixture. Pour out onto a large, rimmed baking sheet then let your child play and create using plastic construction vehicles, kitchen tools, or just their hands!
  7. Make your own moon sand – Your kids will love creating their own squishy, soft, moldable sand. Start by grabbing a large plastic tub or bucket and add your “dry ingredients” – 6 cups of play sand and 3 cups of corn flour. Now add your “wet ingredients” – 1 cup each of vegetable oil and water along with 2 tsp of glycerin. Mix it all together with your hands or a large spoon. It’s fun to squish into different-shaped molds.

With these 7 sand activities for kids, it can feel like summer any time of year!


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