In this article, we will explore what kinetic sand is, what it is made of, and what it is used for. And then, I have a super easy kinetic sand recipe so you can DIY it at home or school.

1. Kinetic Sand

Kinetic sand has become a popular toy among children and adults alike in recent years. It is a type of sand that is made to move and flow like a liquid, while also being moldable and able to hold its shape like a solid.

a bin of kinetic sand

2. What is Kinetic Sand?

Kinetic sand is a type of play sand that is made to have a unique texture and behavior. Unlike traditional play sand, kinetic sand has a more compact and moldable consistency, making it easier to shape and build.

Additionally, kinetic sand is designed to be fluid and moveable, allowing it to flow like a liquid when it is manipulated.

The key feature that sets kinetic sand apart from other types of sand is its ability to “stick” to itself. This is achieved through the use of a special polymer that coats the sand grains, allowing them to bond together and hold their shape without the need for water or any other binder.

This gives kinetic sand a unique tactile experience that is both satisfying and fun to play with.

kinetic sand sensory bin
You can use kinetic sand in sensory bins. I have another post about sensory bins.

3. What is Kinetic Sand Made Of?

Many store-bought varieties of kinetic sand are made from a combination of regular sand and a polymer called polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). PDMS is a type of silicone that is used in a wide range of applications, including cosmetics, medical devices, and electronics.

The PDMS is added to the sand in a liquid form, where it coats each grain and creates a thin layer around it. This layer of the polymer allows the sand to bond together and hold its shape, while also giving it a slightly damp feel that makes it easier to mold and manipulate. PDMS is found in food and cosmetics.

In addition to the sand and polymer, kinetic sand may also contain other ingredients to give it color or other special properties. For example, some types of kinetic sand may contain glitter or other additives to sparkle or glow in the dark.

For these reasons, I prefer to make my own DIY kinetic sand. For many reasons, kids may end up with the kinetic sand in their mouths, eyes, or who knows where. A dog may find it and eat it.

While I don’t want my kids or my dogs to eat baby oil (one of the ingredients in my kinetic sand recipe), I feel better about the toxicity of baby oil as compared to other chemicals.

child playing with kinetic sand

This kinetic sand recipe is so easy to use, it makes no sense to buy a kinetic sand kit. Chances are you have everything besides the colored sand already in your home.

If not, your local big box or craft store carries these items.

4. What is Kinetic Sand Used For?

Kinetic sand is primarily used as a toy for children, although it has also gained popularity among adults as a stress-relieving sensory activity.

Because of its unique texture and behavior, kinetic sand can be used in a variety of ways to stimulate creativity, encourage imaginative play, and provide a sensory experience that is both relaxing and stimulating.

One of the most popular ways to play with kinetic sand is to simply mold and shape it with your hands. Because the sand is so moldable and fluid, it can be shaped into a wide variety of forms, including castles, animals, and other sculptures.

Children may enjoy using cookie cutters or other tools to create more intricate shapes or designs.

Another fun way to play with kinetic sand is to use it as a base for small toys or figurines in a sensory bin. By burying small toys or objects in the sand, children can create their own treasure hunts or excavation sites.

They can also create scenes and scenarios using toys, such as a miniature beach or a dinosaur habitat. It’s a great way to introduce vocabulary and encourage language development, in addition to the sensory benefits.

Kinetic sand can also be used in a variety of sensory play activities. For example, children may enjoy burying their hands or feet in the sand and feeling the texture and movement. They may also enjoy pouring the sand through their fingers or using it as a base for small sensory bins, such as those filled with water, beads, or other materials.

In addition to its use as a toy, kinetic sand may also have therapeutic benefits for adults. Because of its unique tactile properties, kinetic sand can be used as a stress-relieving tool or a way to improve focus and concentration.

Kinetic sand is an activity that isn’t always thought of as “babyish” since all ages enjoy it. It’s a great sensory activity for older kids.

Some people may find that playing with kinetic sand helps them relax and unwind after a long day, or that it helps them stay focused and engaged during work or study. If kinetic sand isn’t your thing, I have an amazingly easy slime recipe.

5. Kinetic Sand FAQ

What is kinetic sand made of?

That depends on where you buy it. If you’re going to buy it at the store, already made, make sure you bring your phone with you to research the ingredients.

Does kinetic sand dry out?

That’s what makes this DIY kinetic sand so great. Because it has a baby oil or mineral oil in the kinetic sand recipe, it lasts longer than commercial stuff.

What is in kinetic sand?

A plastic container holding blue kinetic sand on a white surface.

Is this kinetic sand recipe–sand, oil, and corn starch. That’s it!

How do you make kinetic sand?

Just follow the recipe and instructions below, easy peasy!

How to store kinetic sand

Use an airtight container. Keep away from little ones or pets who may want to try eating it.

A person's hand holding a piece of blue soap, resembling kinetic sand.

DIY Kinetic Sand Recipe

15 Minutes 15 minutes

In a medium-sized bowl or tub, combine the sand and flour.

Step 1 in how to make kinetic sand

Mix with your hands to combine well.

Add the baby oil (or other oil) and work together with your hands.

Mix in the baby oil in this DIY kinetic sand.

Mineral Oil also works well.

Dig in and play!

A child is playing with kinetic sand in a plastic container.

Now it’s time for fun. Use washed-out yogurt cups, cookie cutters, or spoons to make all kinds of shapes.

Supply:

  • 1 ⅔ cups Fine Blue Art Sand
  • 1 cup Flour (or cornstarch)
  • ⅓ cup Baby Oil (or other oil like mineral oil)

Tools:

  • Medium-Sized Bowl or Tub
  • ⅓ cup Measuring Device
  • Storage bin with airtight lid for storage

Materials: Recommended activity for kitchen table, outside or playroom. Not recommended for carpet or upholstery areas.

6. Oil in Kinetic Sand?

I’ve had a few people ask if the oil in the kinetic sand makes a mess.

Not really. I don’t want it on my couch or my carpet, but for this sensory activity, I’d have the kids at the kitchen table or outside anyway.

If you play with store-bought kinetic sand, you will still have to wash your hands off afterward. While it may be less greasy, it’s not necessarily less messy.

And there are moisturizing benefits to be had from using baby oil or mineral oil in your kinetic sand recipe.

enjoy playing with your blue kinetic sand