kinetic sand how to

Kinetic sand is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It’s so much fun to play with! But if you’re like me, you don’t always want to spend money on something you can make yourself. So today I’m going to show you how to make kinetic sand.

If you haven’t seen kinetic sand in action, here’s a quick video showing what it look like:

You can buy kinetic sand in stores, but it’s more fun making it yourself. It’s a great sensory experience for kids, and they learn a little bit of science too. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to create an afternoon of sand fun using everyday ingredients; kinetic sand is basically sand with added ingredients. We guide you step-by-step through a few different kinetic sand recipes; you’ll learn how to make kinetic sand in different ways.

What Do You Need to Make Basic Kinetic Sand?

All the ingredients needed for making kinetic sand are everyday household items. These are the essential ingredients and tools you need depending on the kinetic sand recipe.  

Equipment

  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Measuring spoons
  • Cookie Cutters, sand-castle molds, etc.
  • Spatula
kinetic sand supplies & equipment

Materials

  • Fine white sand or regular play sand (the finer, the better)
  • Corn starch
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Food coloring (for colored sand)
  • Water

How To Make Kinetic Sand At Home

With these cool kinetic sand recipes, it’s easy to make kinetic sand at home. If you want to save a little time instead, check out our picks for the best kinetic sand kits.

Homemade Kinetic Sand Recipe For Kids

  • Keep the sand dry and pour it into a mixing bowl. Three to four cups of regular sand should be sufficient; use as much sand as the kids need for sensory play activities. 
  • Add 2 Tbs of corn starch to 3-4 cups of sand. It is the perfect time to teach kids to measure with measuring spoons.
  • Use the spatula to mix the cornstarch and sand until thoroughly blended. Set aside and prepare the colored water. 
  • In a separate container, make a soapy water solution with 1 Tsp dish soap to a cup of water. Mix until bubbles appear on the surface.
  • Add 6 drops of food coloring to the soapy water solution. You can combine red and blue to make purple or blue and yellow to make green kinetic sand. 
  • Add the soapy-colored solution to your cornstarch-sand mixture. Slowly pour the colored fluid into the sand. The kinetic sand will be runny if you add too much, and you won’t have moldable sand. 
  • Kinetic sand is ideal for sensory activities. Kids love to mix the coloring with their hands.

Your kinetic sand is ready for some creative molding. Use cookie cutters, molds, bowls, plastic knives for slicing, and anything else you want to create masterpieces. 

Basic Kinetic Sand Recipe

Leave out the food coloring and create kinetic sand that looks like beach sand. 

Edible DIY Kinetic Sand Recipe for Kids

The kinetic sand recipe ingredients are food ingredients but aren’t the best snack. However, it is amazing for toddlers to play with, and if your little one puts some in their mouth, you know it’s safely-“edible.” 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of cornmeal
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 Tbsp corn syrup

Equipment

  • Medium glass bowl or any container
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon measurer

Method

  • Add the flour to a bowl.
  • Add the cornmeal.
  • Mix the flour and cornmeal. 
  • Add the oil and corn syrup. 
  • Mix everything well. If dry, add more oil. 

DIY Kinetic Sand Recipe With Liquid Starch

Unlike other recipes, the only dry ingredient is the play sand. 

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup sand, traditional sand, or colored sand
  • 1/4 Tsp dish soap
  • 1 Tbs clear school glue (You can use white glue, but it will make stripes.)
  • 1/2 Tsp liquid starch

Equipment

  • Large or medium bowl
  • Spoon

Method

  • Mix the glue, liquid starch, and dish soap in a  bowl using a spoon. Don’t fret; the sticky slime will stick to the bowl.
  • Add 1/4 cup sand and mix with the slime mixture. 
  • Continue adding a little bit of sand and blending it with the mixture. 
  • You will need to use your hands, the best sensory tool, at some point.
  • Stretch the slime and add sand wherever the glue is visible. 
  • Continue until the entire sand mixture is blended, absorbed, and ready for sensory playtime. 

Recipe for Homemade Kinetic Sand Using Cornstarch And Oil

Ingredients

This recipe is super easy; it requires only three ingredients in a 5:3:1 ratio. Use the measuring cup or measuring spoon for accurate ratio measuring. 

  • Five parts sand – any play sand, store-bought kind, or beach sand
  • Three parts cornstarch – flour is a good alternative
  • One part oil – cooking oil, mineral oil, or baby oil

For example, for 2 1/2 cups sand, you need 1 1/2 cups corn starch and 1/2 cup of oil. 

Method

  • Pour sand into the container.
  • Add the cornstarch. 
  • Mix sand and cornstarch well until entirely integrated. 
  • Pour oil into the cornstarch mixture. 
  • Mix until the kinetic sand has an even texture without dry or oily spots.

The kinetic sand is ready for play. 

DIY Kinetic Sand Recipe With Slime

You can buy ready-made slime or make it yourself; the slime to sand ratio is 1:2. Coarser or finer sand can change the ratio. Start with some slime and add more slime as needed for the perfect consistency.  

Ingredients

  • Slime
  • Play sand
  • Disposable containers
  • Disposable spoons
  • Kitchen sifter for coarser sand

Method

  • Use a disposable container and utensils because the slime sticks like glue. 
  • Use the kitchen sifter to create finer sand from coarse sand.
  • Add the sand to the container. 
  • Pour slime into the sand and mix with the spoon. 
  • When the slime-sand mixture mounds, you can use your hands to finish mixing until it’s no longer sticky. 
  • Mix until the mixture creates a DIY kinetic sand ball. 

DIY Kinetic Sand Recipe With Baby Oil

Moon sand is a mixture of sand and baby oil. This kinetic sand recipe adds another ingredient to transform the dry sand into kinetic sand. 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups finest sand
  • 1/2 cup baby oil
  • 1 cup corn starch

Method

  • Pour the sand into a mixing bowl. 
  • Add the cornstarch. 
  • Instead of utensils, use hands for a sensory experience to mix the sand and cornstarch.
  • Pour in the baby oil. Mix well

The recipe is so easy kids can make it themselves, and it’s a great sensory activity. Measuring the ingredients develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. 

DIY Unicorn Kinetic Sand Recipe Instructions

In making unicorn kinetic sand, the recipe requires coloring the sand or using colored sand. 

Ingredients For Dry Mixture

  • 1 Cup ultra-fine sand
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp fine glitter (Gold and silver glitter pairs with any colored sand.)

Ingredients For Wet Mixture

  • 1 Tsp dish soap
  • 1/4-1/2 Tsp food coloring if not using colored sand
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • Essential oils (optional) will give the kinetic sand a pleasant fragrance

Method

  • Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet ingredients in another. 
  • Mix carefully; you don’t want too many bubbles. 
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry mix. 
  • Mix and knead until the desired consistency. 

The Science Behind DIY Kinetic Sand Recipe

Kinetic sand is regular sand coated with silicone oil, whereas wet sand is covered with water. Unlike beach sand and wet sand that sticks to your hands, kinetic sand sticks together when you apply force like squeezing it. Kinetic sand moves, just like sand, but with silicone oil, it moves slowly when not under pressure; hence perfect for molding as craft sand.  

Kinetic sand is 98% regular sand and 2% Polydimethylsiloxane PDMS) resembling the properties of wet sand that don’t dry out. PDMS is what sticks to itself. PDMS is non-toxic, non-flammable, and inert. 

Dish soap is the polymer that creates the sticky feature when making homemade kinetic sand. Cornstarch mixed with mater thickens it. 

Tips On How To Make Kinetic Sand

Drying Damp Or Wet Sand

Wet sand won’t work; it prevents the cornstarch from mixing with sand. Remove excess water before you continue. Spread the sand out and leave it to dry out. You could also bake the wet sand on a baking sheet in the oven at 120 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. Wait until it has cooled before mixing sand with other ingredients. 

How To Store Kinetic Sand

When you make your own kinetic sand, it is like a playdough that dries out. Traditional kinetic sand doesn’t dry out because the silicone oil keeps it moist. Make a large batch or various batches in different colors and keep the sand in an air-tight container for storage. It should keep for months, and you have a fun activity for children within a moment’s notice.

Various Shapes

The way kids play with kinetic sand is endless. It’s fun with cookie cutters, different molds (like sandcastle molds, candy molds, animal molds), beach tools, or simply building sandcastles and stuff with their hands. Holiday-themed cookie cutters and letter cookie cutters are perfect for holiday fun, birthdays, and special events. Older kids may prefer a tray to a sandbox; you could use a dollar store cookie sheet. 

Too Dry Or Wet Mixture

If the mixture is too dry, add a few drops of water, oil, or fluid used in the recipe to create the perfect consistency of sand. When building sand-castles results in the sandcastles not holding their shape, the kinetic sand is too wet; add more cornstarch.

Which is your perfect recipe for sensory play? 

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