Learn how to make kinetic sand with this simple DIY kinetic sand recipe. It is a favorite sensory recipe for kids and only requires 3 ingredients.
Keep reading to find out how to make your very own homemade play sand! Don’t forget to check out our recipe on how to make Easy Confetti Moon Dough, too!
This unique play sand provides a base for some sensory activities for kids and will encourage children to explore textures and the beginning of science for little ones. Kids will love squishing and molding the sand to transform it into something that is imaginative and creative!
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What’s in this post:
Kinetic sand is a unique sensory material that was created in 2007 by Canadian company, Play Sand. Inc. It is not actually sand, but finely milled polystyrene granules that stick to each other and won’t fall apart. You can mold it into balls and shapes.
It has an unusual texture (like Oobleck and these water beads for kids) in that it’s not like regular play sand and it’s not like mud. It is moldable sand.
This play sand recipe makes a wonderful sensory activity for kids of all ages, from toddlers to upper elementary kids! (and even adults can join in on the fun!) It’s constantly in rotation on our sensory table and we often put it on a play tray for some quiet time too..
How to make Kinetic Sand
Follow along with this tutorial to find out how you can make your own kinetic sand at home. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is!
You can use this sand in place of the pricey one found in stores, and we found that we like the texture of this sand much better than the store-bought version!
What you will need to make the Kinetic Sand
These ingredients are required:
- Corn starch
- Dish Soap
- Craft Sand (you can also use fine playground sand)
It would be good to have:
- Play tray
- Small toys (we used dinosaurs)
- Assorted cookie cutters
Try this Easy Recipe
Here is how to make your first batch of Kinetic Sand. Please note that it is like your basic slime recipe, in that you need to look at your mixture, observe what it looks like, and mix things in slowly. You can adjust the ingredients according to the consistency you are seeing while you are mixing it together.
Before you begin, make sure your sand is fully dry. If it’s a bit wet then you will need to bake it for 4-5 hours at 120 degrees. If your sand is dry then feel free to skip this step.
You will mix your cornstarch and fine sand in a ratio of 1 part sand and 2 parts cornstarch. Try 1 cup of sand and 2 cups of cornstarch.
You may need to adjust these amounts based on how much water you put in and the humidity of your area.
Squeeze a few drops of dish soap into a cup of water. Add your food coloring to this mixture if you are using undyed sand.
Mix the sand and cornstarch in a container.
Slowly add water, mixing as you go, until moldable paste forms. Don’t add too much water or you will get sandy soup.
If you do get sandy soup, you can keep adding more corn starch and the mixture will stabilize.
Once the homemade kinetic sand is moldable to your liking, give it to your child to play with.
Homemade play sand is so much fun to play with!
They can form shapes, use cookie cutters, play with small plastic toys, and build fun structures using sand molds!
Helpful tip: You can add a few drops of tea tree oil for its antibacterial property to prevent mold and bacteria from forming on the sand. Tea Tree Oil has antibacterial qualities.
Alternate recipe to try
After trying the above recipe of DIY Kinetic Sand, try this recipe and see which one you prefer.
Mix 1 cup of play sand with 2 TBSP of corn starch and 2 tsp of dish soap.
Then slowly add in a 1/2 cup of school glue. Mix it up. It’s kind of like a sand slime.
Add your cups, cookie cutters, construction trucks, etc.
Don’t forget to check out our recipe on how to make Easy Confetti Moon Dough, too!
To store the sand, place the sand in an airtight little container. If you leave it out, it will start to dry out.
If the sand starts to dry out, add a few sprinkles of water to get it moist again. Since there are no chemicals in this version of kinetic sand, the sand will eventually dry out as kids play with it. Just adding a bit more water will get things working properly again!
Kinetic Sand Activities
- Ant and Anthill activity – 3Dinosaurs
- Dinosaur Excavation – Crafts On Sea
- Construction Alphabet – ABC’s of Literacy
- Fossil Sensory Bin – ABC’s Of Literacy
- Kinetic Sand Race Track – In The Playroom
- Dinosaur Dig – Rainy Day Mum
- Pretend Play Food – The Craft Train
- Sand Stamping – Picklebums
- Make pretend cupcakes – And Next Comes L
- Lego Sand – Toddler Approved
- Easter Play – Toddler Approved
- Mr Potato Head – And Next Comes L
While it is not poisonous, it can pose a choking hazard if swallowed.
It is made of 98% ultra-fine grain sand and 2% dimethicone (polydimethylsiloxane.)
More Sensory Activities for Kids:
This post was originally published on October 9, 2020. It was updated on January 11, 2022.
Print the recipe to make your own kinetic sand at home
DIY Kinetic Sand
- 1 cup fine craft sand (or play sand)
- 2 cup cornstarch
- 1 tsp dishwashing liquid
- +- 1 cup water
- Mix the dry ingredients together (cornstarch and sand)
- Mix the water and dishwashing liquid together
- Slowly add the water mixture to the dry mixture until it becomes moldable.
- Stop adding water when it gets to the right consistency.