My son loves to play with kinetic sand. This entire last summer he was obsessed with his outdoor sandbox. And we made a trip to the beach for the first time and he LOVED playing in the wet sand. So, not surprisingly, he loves the sensory play of kinetic sand.
As a parent, I love kinetic sand as it offers hours of sensory play that my son can enjoy indoors, as the weather outside has cooled off for the season where we live. I also love to make my own DIY kinetic sand with this easy recipe as you can customize it to better fit your kids’ needs or color preferences.
Related: Find more projects in our Sensory Activities archive.
- Play sand
- Glue – like Elmer’s
- Baking soda
- Contact solution – needs to contain boric acid. I use ReNu Brand but others will work as well.
- Food dye – if you want to color the kinetic sand
Note: Kinetic sand is essentially play sand + homemade slime. As noted in the printable how-to card at the end of this post, depending how much contact solution you add to the slime before combining with the play sand will determine how “solid” your kinetic sand will be.
I tend to make mine more on the solid side, so it’s thicker and more whole than store-bought kinetic sand. I do this because it’s less messy and works well for my 2.5-year-old. But, if you want your kinetic sand to be more like the kind you can buy at stores, I’ve noted how to adjust this in the card below. You do you! That’s what’s so great about making your own.
- First, make the slime. Stir together the food coloring (if using) and contact solution.
- In a mixing bowl, add the glue.
- Stir in the baking soda.
- Then, stir in the colored contact solution.
- Now combine the slime with the play sand, in a large mixing bowl.
- Mix together until you have your kinetic sand.
Ways to play with Kinetic Sand
We play with kinetic sand in many of the same ways we do playdough! Here are some ideas.
- Use cookie cutters to create shapes.
- Mold onto popsicle sticks for pretend popsicles.
- Use kid-safe knives and mixing spoons to cut and measure sand for pretend cooking.
- Drive cars or trucks over the kinetic sand to create indentations.
- Press hands or bare feet into the sand to create impressions.
- Use sandbox toys to create kinetic sand castles or other shapes.
How to Store & Cleaning Tips
- Kinetic sand should be stored in an airtight container. Just like slime, keeping it sealed when not being played with will help it last longer.
- If stored well, it can be used for at least a week, although some of our batches have lasted longer. It in part depends how long of periods you play with it, as it will dry out some while in use.
- If you add food color to your recipe, it can temporarily stain hands or solid countertops. It could also stain clothing. We’ve never had issues with this, but we don’t tend to add much when we do add food dye.
More Sensory Projects
- Fluffy Slime – sometimes called Cloud Slime
- Butter Slime
- Puffy Paint
- Moon Sand
- Fake Snow
- How to Make Oobleck
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- 2 cups play sand
- ¾ cup Elmer's glue
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ tablespoons contact solution
- 2-3 drops food coloring