Homemade Kinetic Sand for Toddlers

Homemade Kinetic Sand for Toddlers

Homemade kinetic sand is so soothing and fun for kids to explore! It is moldable like wet beach sand, but unlike wet sand, it is light, fluffy, and delightfully soft. And it is incredibly easy to make!

This homemade kinetic sand recipe has 3 simple ingredients; baby oil, cornstarch and play sand. So with very little effort, you can make a big batch of your own kinetic sand and let your little ones explore and create to their hearts’ content! 

Homemade Kinetic Sand Ingredients
Ways to Play with Kinetic Sand
Developmental Benefits of Kinetic Sand Play for Toddlers

Homemade Kinetic Sand Ingredients

This homemade kinetic sand recipe calls for 3 inexpensive ingredients that are pretty easy to come by; play sand, baby oil, and cornstarch.

1. Play Sand

I bought a 50lb bag of regular play sand from the hardware store for about $7. Places like Home Depot, Lowes and Ace Hardware usually have bags of play sand in stock.
Play sand is the best option for diy kinetic sand because it has gone through a washing and screening process, so it is soft and suitable for little hands.

2. Baby Oil

Different recipes online suggest using canola oil or vegetable oil, but I opted for baby oil since it is composed of mineral oil (which means it won’t go rancid. This is important if you want to keep your kinetic sand around for awhile!).

I bought a big bottle at the grocery store for a couple of bucks. 

3. Cornstarch

Cornstarch is another easy-to-find item at the grocery store for about $3. Many people already have some in their cupboards. 

Large Bowl or Bin and Airtight Container for Storage

You will also need a big mixing bowl or a large bin, and an airtight container to keep your kinetic sand fresh while not in use.

play sand for homemade kinetic sand

Homemade Kinetic Sand Recipe

When mixing up your play sand, cornstarch and baby oil, you don’t need to worry about being super precise with your measurements. I roughly followed Eating Richly’s recommendation of a 5:3:1 ratio (play sand to cornstarch to oil), but I ended up adding more cornstarch and baby oil at the end to make the sand extra soft. 

For a general guideline, follow a 5:3:1 ratio such as;

  • 5 cups of sand
  • 3 cups of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of oil

Add more of any one of the ingredients to get your desired consistency. Add more cornstarch and oil to get a smoother silkier texture, or more play sand for a rougher texture. Just watch out for adding too much oil so that it doesn’t leave an oily residue on your hands. 

My toddler loved helping put this recipe together. Scooping and mixing is a great skill-building activity and kids get so excited about the result!

toddler making homemade kinetic sand

Ways to Play with Homemade Kinetic Sand

Offering kinetic sand is a great activity for indoor or outdoor play! It can make a bit of a mess inside, but I have found that even young toddlers are pretty good about keeping the sand contained to a specified area. 

To enhance the kinetic sand play experience, you can offer everyday items like measuring cups, spoons, cookie cutters, and cups to use in the sand.

Kids can explore kinetic sand in so many different ways;

  • Stamping and building (using cookie cutters and sandcastle molds or cups)
  • Hammering/Flattening/Smoothing (using the bottom of a measuring cup or drinking cup to flatten and smooth sand)
  • Molding (forming balls, mounds, holes)
  • Transferring sand (using a spoon or measuring cup to move sand to different containers)
  • Pretend play (incorporating other toys into sand play, like small cars or figurines)

toddler playing with homemade kinetic sand

Benefits of Homemade Kinetic Sand Play for Toddlers

This moldable play sand offers an amazing open-ended and sensory play opportunity. Open-ended play helps little minds exercise imagination, creativity, problem solving, and flexible thinking skills. Additionally, playing with kinetic sand is a great way for little hands to develop fine motor skills.

Sensory Play

The feel of kinetic sand can be very soothing for kids. The sensory experience also helps keep their minds and bodies engaged in exploration and play. 

Pretend Play

Kinetic sand offers a great opportunity for small children to engage in open-ended pretend play. They use their imagination and creativity to turn mounds of sand into magical castles or construction sites! They also learn new ways to use tools and everyday items with the sand. 

Parallel Play

For young toddlers who are developing their social skills, offering a large bowl of kinetic sand and some tools to share is a great way to encourage parallel play. Young toddlers are usually not yet engaging in direct play with each other, but rather are getting to know one another through this kind of side-by-side play. 

Independent Play 

Offering some homemade kinetic sand is also a great activity to encourage independent play

toddler parallel play with homemade kinetic sand

More art and DIY activities for kids!
Homemade Playdough
Cardboard Toys for Tots
Free Painting on Wooden Shapes

How did you like this kinetic sand recipe? Say hi and let me know in the comments below!

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