Kinetic Sand is one of the hottest toys on the market amongst kids and parents alike. It can be molded it many different shapes and it only sticks to itself. However, to get a sufficient amount of sand to play with it can become quite pricey because it generally comes in smaller quantities. So why not make it yourself for cheaper!
Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
1 Large Mixing bowl
1 Large Baking Pan
1 Measuring cup
1 Measuring Table Spoon (Pictured)
1 Measuring Teaspoon (not pictured)
o Does not have to be Dawn dish soap. Any brand will be fine.
1 Cup of water
Powdered Corn Starch
o Liquid cornstarch will not work as well for this project
o Any sand will work for this project. You can get it from the beach, the park, or any local store (Walmart, Home Depot, Pet Store).
Let’s Do it!!
Step 2: Baking the Sand
For this step we will need our Play Sand and our large baking pan. Spread your sand out in the pan so that it creates a thin layer covering the entire bottom. Your sand should be no more than 1-2 inches deep. We want as much surface area possible when we put it in the oven so most of the water will evaporate out. Once it is in the pan bake your sand for approximately 30 minutes at 120◦ F. Leave the oven door cracked open as shown so air can circulate while it bakes. Next, take your sand out of the oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes. *Optional: Stir your sand every so often while baking in case your sand sticks to your pan or becomes hard.
Step 3: Measuring Sand
After the sand has been baked and cooled take your measuring cup and fill it to the brim. Then add your sand into the large mixing bowl. If you want to make more than 1 cup of kinetic sand at a time simply double or triple the amount of sand and all ingredients from here on out to keep consistent ratios.
Step 4: Measure Cornstarch
Using your table spoon, measure out your powdered corn starch and add it to the baked sand in the large mixing bowl. Corn starch can be very messy and hard to scoop accurately so do not worry if it is not exactly a table spoon. After you add the cornstarch to the sand, stir it together until you get a consistent mixture. To save time washing another spoon I used my measuring spoon to mix! Set aside this bowl for later (step 5).
Step 5: Colored Soapy Water
For this step we will need a couple ingredients! Using the measuring cup we used earlier for our sand, measure out 1 cup of water and add it to a glass cup. Then, grab your Dawn dish soap (or whatever great brand you decided on) and measure out a teaspoon and pour it into the glass of water. Mix your solution together using the same teaspoon to get all of the soap off the spoon. Next, add a few drops of your favorite food coloring to the soap and water solution. The darker the color water the more dyed your sand will be! You may also want to make sure you get a food coloring that easily dissolves in water. Again, grab your ole’ soapy spoon and mix your solution so there are no clumps of dye left floating in the water.
Step 6: Puttin' It All Together
For this step we are now going to add all of our ingredients together. Grab your bowl of sand and starch from all the way back in step 3 and your soapy colored water solution we made in step 4. You will also need ole’ soapy once again for mixing. Begin to mix your sand and corn starch together as you slowly pour the soapy colored water solution into the bowl. You want to add a little at a time so your sand does not become a wet soppy mess. This means you may or may not use all of the water. Continue to add the water and mix your sand until all the sand has been coated and is slightly damp. Break apart any large clumps that begin to form using ole’ soapy spoon. By the end of this step your sand should be a fine mixture, slightly damp, and completely colored.
Notes: As you can see my sand is a pale green and not as bright as I would like it to be. To not make the same mistake I did add more food coloring to your soap and water until it forms a really dark solution. This will increase the chances of you getting a more attractive color than I did!
Step 7: Get Your Hands in There!
For this step all you will need is your hands. After all of your ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, knead your sand with your hands as if you were kneading bread dough. Really get in there! You want to knead it until the sand does not stick all over your hands. If it does you may have added too much of the soapy colored water solution in step 5. To fix this problem you can just add a little more sand and corn starch!
Note: If you added too much of the soapy colored water solution in step 5 instead of adding more sand and starch to the mixture you can add All-purpose white flour to thicken it up. Flour may also make your sand softer to the touch and give it a less grainy feeling.
Step 8: Testing It Out!
Congratulations for making it this far! Our last step is to test our sand out. This can be done multiple ways but I tested my sand out for its ability to hold its shape and its ability to only stick strongly to itself. For this I used an everyday cup (but any shapely object will do! ex. bucket, pail, etc...) packed the sand inside tightly, turned the cup over and removed it slowly to for the dome shape you see below. I then proceeded to cut the sand with a knife to so see if it continued to stand on its own. As you can see it help up nicely!