DIY sand-play activities for kids

sand activities for kidsHow much fun can you have with an inexpensive bag of playground sand? Hours! And you can do more than put it in a sandbox and play with some shovels and buckets (although, that’s pretty fun too). Here we tell you how to make acqua sand, sticky sand and slimy sand for hours of sand-play!

Aqua sand

Kids will love watching aqua sand drop into a container of water and keep its shape.


  • Play sand
  • Fabric protector (like Scotch Guard)
  • Wax paper
  • Large clear bowl, pitcher or tub


  1. Spread out your sand on wax paper (a few cups will be enough).
  2. Spray the sand with the fabric protector, mixing it in and making sure all the sand is covered with protector. Do this in a well-ventilated area (the garage with an open door would work well).
  3. Now wait for the sand to dry — it should take about one hour.
  4. Place the sand into your clear container.
  5. Fill your clear container with water.
  6. Watch in amazement as your child pours in the sand. Pour the sand into different shapes. Spell your name. The fun is endless.

And it gets even better because the sand is reusable. When you take it out of the water, it’s dry! You can store it for use on another day by simply laying it out on wax paper and allowing any water you scooped up too to dry. Once all the water is gone, store in a sealable container.

Sticky sand

Sticky sand is like the sand you dream about playing with on the beach when you’re trying to build a sand castle, but in reality – every time you lift up the bucket, the sand just spreads everywhere. Not the case with sticky sand! Sticky sand sticks together so you can make perfect castles every time.

It sticks together, but not to everything that touches it, so you won’t be peeling sticky sand off every surface in your house.


  • 5 cups sand
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable oil


Simply combine the three ingredients together and you have sticky sand.

Use small cups (clean, empty individual-sized applesauce and fruit cups are the perfect size). If you have any fun sand mold (or candy molds) those are fun too.

Slimy sand

If you’ve ever made oobleck, you know how much fun that can be. This is sort of the sand version of oobleck.


  • 2 bottles of school glue
  • Sand (about one cup)
  • 1 cup liquid starch


  1. Combine the glue and starch into a bucket.
  2. Add the sand and mix well. Add more or less sand depending on the consistency you like. At first the mixture will be sticky, but after mixing for a minute or so, it will be more slimey.
  3. Enjoy stretching the slimy sand. See who can stretch out the slimy sand the most. Create slimy sand castles.
  4. When you’re done, store the sand in a resealable bag or container.

Photo and activity ideas courtesy of Growing a Jeweled Rose.

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