Make Your Own…. Kinetic Sand!

This DIY recipe for Kinetic Sand only takes 3 ingredients, and costs about a third of what commercial brands of Kinetic Sand retails for.  Kids love sensory play like this, and will occupy them for hours.  See how to make your own Kinetic Sand here!  LivingIthaca.com:

*UPDATE and TIPS*

We just pulled our box out today, January 12th, 2015, and it’s been roughly three months since we first made our batch.  It was only a little bit dry, so I decided to add a bit more water and cornstarch, and it’s back to new.  A few tips I have based on feedback and personal experience are as follows:

  • We used about 6 cups water over all, for the 50 lb batch.
  • Try mixing the cornstarch with the water *first* – you will want the mixture to be like “Ooblek” – a non-Newtonian fluid that feels like a solid when you touch it, but turns to liquid when you try to pick it up
  • Add tea tree essential oil to the water, or use a 10% bleach solution or 10% vinegar solution – this will prevent any “smell” or mold
  • If yours feels like wet sand, add more cornstarch
  • IF YOU WANT THE *REAL* (COMMERCIAL-STYLE) KINETIC SAND: One reader found out that the binding agent used for the commercial brands is Dimethicone (a substance commonly found in beauty products – I’m not sure how safe it is) and extra fine play sand.  However, I do not know the proportions used or whether or not it is safe, and therefore do not hold myself responsible.  It will also be about as expensive as buying the commercial brand from the store.

I’ve been eyeing Kinetic Sand at Michael’s for months now, and just can’t bring myself to buy it.  It’s an excellent activity for sensory play, and overall a great activity to build fine and gross motor skills to move and build with the sand.

But the amount you get in the box at the store just doesn’t seem like enough – especially when you take into account that some would spill on to the floor and have to be thrown away.  It would be such a waste in my house (especially when I think of how quickly we go through playdough).

I’ve seen recipes for your own kinetic sand online, but most call for flour (which can add up in price), and oil or glue(which personally grosses me out).

So I thought about what you need to make “Ooblek” – cornstarch and water – and that adding sand would add the texture needed for the ability to form and mold it.  I decided to give it a try on Halloween, to occupy my two year old for a long stretch of time that I needed to finish their Halloween costumes.

I already had the large BJ’s size tub of cornstarch at home.  I went to Home Depot for the sand and a container large enough to hold it in, that also had a lid so it wont dry out.

This recipe is enough for the 50 lb. bags of sand they sell at Home Depot, but you can scale it down if needed.  Plus, if you already have a container, you don’t have to spend anymore than the cost of the sand and cornstarch (both run $3 – $4 each).

I also needed a container with a lid.  You can use any type of bin, storage accessory, etc.  I just didn’t have any extras.  So I bought a 28 Qt. Sterilite bin, which were thankfully on sale at Home Depot:

20141030_102340

The 28 Qt. size here fits an entire 50 lb. bag of sand and then some, but can not be lifted very easily.  The 50 lb. bag of sand I used was $3.69.  And then I used about 6 cups of corn starch, and a tablespoon of dish soap.  Plus water – I started with about 6 cups, since you need 50/50 mix of water and cornstarch to make Ooblek, and kept adding until it was the right consistency.

20141030_110850

What you Need to Make 50 lbs. of Kinetic Sand:

  • 50 lb. bag of sand:  $3.69
  • 6 cups Cornstarch – about half the container you see above comes out to less than $2.00 per recipe
  • Dishsoap – I only needed a few tablespoons, and you can usually get this free/cheap with coupons
  • Water

First, leave the bag in whatever bin/container you are using.  It will be much easier to slit the bottom and empty it:

20141030_111020

 

Add the cornstarch, and you can either use your hands or a trowel to mix.  I like to make my kids do all the work :) :

20141030_111203

Once the cornstarch is completely mixed with the sand – no clumps or visible patches of white, mix the water with the dish soap and add to the sand:

20141030_111529

We eventually gave up on using the shovel and went right to playing mixing the sand with our hands.  We added a bunch of toys, and my 2 year old literally played in it for about two hours straight.

20141030_114104

I added cups, spoons, cup measures, and cars.

20141030_114115

The sand held shape really well, and went on to build a castle:

20141030_114117

 

The perfect tools for open-ended sensory play that television can’t provide or hold his attention for nearly as long.

20141030_114133

This gave me time to fold the laundry, and finish up the details on our Halloween costumes, which the boys loved:

Halloween 2014 - we were Lego Ninjago characters :)

The nice thing about Kinetic Sand, is that it doesn’t fly everywhere, and get in eyes.  However, I do recommend that if you use a shallow container like I did, that you keep a dust pan, broom or dust buster near by to catch any spills.  You can also keep it outside (in warm weather) or in a garage/basement, where clean up isn’t as much a necessity :).

The boys have gotten it out a few times to play with, and it’s been fairly easy to clean up.  There is something about sand and sensory play that captures their attention for hours at a time, and I think it’s totally worth the mess for that independent play time.

What do you think?

Let us know what you think!

    • Exactly! There are so many products that are unsafe to a lot of people/kids, and I wanted something that would be universally safe. Hope you enjoy :)

          • And to be more specific, celiac disease is not an allergy. The gluten reacts with your small intestine lining, nothing else.

          • A large number of Celiac’s, my daughter included, cannot TOUCH gluten. She gets a skin rash that erupts into blisters. This includes shampoos, lotions, my make up (that might come into contact with her) and so much more. So it is nice to see a sand recipe that is gluten free we can make for her.

          • Thank you so much for sharing this information. A lot of people are unaware that just like allergies, there are varying degrees of Celiac’s Disease – myself included. I remember hearing that there are certain types that can not be around gluten, and so toys like Playdough are off limits.

          • Dear Wendy,

            You shoud read your own link … that says this dermatits is triggered by eating gluten, not touching it.
            Again, celiac disease is not an allergy, but related to your intestine. If gluten is not in contact with your intestine, there will be NO reaction.

            There are a lot of myth and rumors spreading since the “gluten free” became mainstream.

          • The thing is though, if you watch kids closely, rarely do they get a chance to wash their hands before contact with their mouths. You can never be too careful with any type of food sensitivity.

          • My brother has severe Celiac disease. If he touches anything with gluten, even with just his fingers, he gets sick and breaks out in hives. It does not have to be ingested to cause a reaction.

          • We were given one of those small bags of kinetic sand and my 2 and 4 year olds LOVE it. I wanted to get more and the cost just astounded me! Also, just my two cents on being gluten free. My husband has celiac disease, and yes it is eating gluten that really causes him problems, but we don’t ever have flour in our home because even a very small amount (10 parts per million) can cause him an immune response if eaten. So, to not have any flour in my home for playdough or anything that might leave some residue somewhere and get into his food is our rule. I know that not all people with celiac disease need to go to these lengths, but for us, having recipes for play that are gluten free is a great asset! So thank you for this recipe. We will be making this for the kiddos. I am sure that they will LOVE it.

  1. I owe my kids a fun activity and kinetic sand has already been a huge draw…I was almost ready to bite the bullet and buy some this week until I saw this! I bought the supplies tonight and we’ll make it tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

  2. Hi, This looks great and I am looking forward to making this using your recipe. I just have a question, does this have the stringy feel like the kinetic sand sorda feels it has? and does this start to smell bad after a bit the way the “magic goop” (cornstarch and water) does?

    • Hi Julie,

      No it doesn’t feel stringy – more squishy and moldable. I think if you used extra fine sand (which I’m not sure where to get off the top of my head) and more cornstarch, you can probably alter the texture to be more stringy.

      As for the smell, mine smelled like wet sand when I just opened it. As a precautionary, you can probably keep a spray bottle with diluted (10%) bleach or vinegar with essential oils near by to prevent any possible bacteria/mold. That is a great question! I hadn’t even thought of that before. You can also replace the water with mineral oil to keep it from drying out; I just personally don’t like the feeling of oil on my hands.

        • I have not yet but it sounds like a fun activity! I might try it this week since we’ve been stuck inside with the cold weather. I may do small batches to do with food coloring – I imagine it would take a lot of coloring to do 50 lbs worth!

        • I bought colored sand at Canadian tire. its so fine, its awful to play with because it sticks to your hands. I will try this and see if it make the sand less sticky. The sand i bought was pink and purple (two separate bags and they were huge bags for $10) I already bought 3 bags of kinect sand at $16 a piece. Its still not enough for more then one kids at a time… so expensive.

      • You could use pool sand the stuff for your filter not the stuff for under the liner, its a bit more pricey than play sand usually found at Walmart but its much finer and its also white not brown/cream.

  3. To keep it clean in the house, put the sand bin inside a clean kiddie swimming pool- eau tho keep the sand (or other toys) contained :-)

    • That’s exactly what we use. The pool cost me 4.00 at tge dollar store. I keep it on our covered front oiech. I’m going g to get some cornstarch today and try this. I also use a plastic tarp I got at home Depot for .99 to cover it.

    • Hi Joana,

      I used equal parts water and cornstarch. I kept mixing it in until it was the consistency I was looking for. I think it ended up being around 6 cups.

      • just made a batch…the bag of sand was 45 lbs….I used 2 boxes of cornstarch (4C) and 4C water plus the TBSP of dish soap. My batch is VERY wet…I can mold in into a snowball shape but it wants to squish back down. Should I add the other box of cornstarch?

  4. I am so inspired by this idea that I’m heading to Home Depot first thing in the morning!
    How long will this sand keep? How should I store it? You commented to keep a bleach solution handy. Were you suggesting mixing a tiny bit of bleach solution in the mixture or spraying the top layer everytime you open the bin or something else? Can you please elaborate?

    Thanks so much!

  5. Sorry-I had another question. What does the soap do and can I skip it? Could I substitue a cup of white vinegar to the mixture to keep the bacteria from growing?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Vickie,

      The soap makes it a bit squishier and adds a pretty smell. Vinegar or bleach works fine if worried about bacteria. You can keep a spray bottle near by, mixed with water to keep it wet since I don’t use oil in my recipe.

      I do recommend keeping it in a container with a lid just to make sure it doesn’t dry out – so far we haven’t had any issues with mold or bacteria and it is still wet almost two months later :)

    • Nope! The texture isn’t sticky – it’s more like clay. However, just like playing with sand on the beach, it may leave some residue or get under your fingernails. We usually just sweep it up and rinse off after we’re done playing.

      • It looks to me like it’s all over your son’s hands, I would say that’s more than just ‘residue’ personally. Is that what his hands usually look after playing with it, or was that time an exception for some reason? We live in a really small apartment and I don’t have room for a pool or anything for my kids to play in, so I need it to be like 99.9% mess free haha

  6. Although this did make moldable sand… It was nothing even similar to the texture of kinetic sand. I was able to find out what the 2% advertised polymer was in the kinetic sand… It’s dimethicone, which is used in beauty creams and hair products. I mixed a fine white play sand, 25lbs, with 500 ml of dimethicone and it makes real kinetic sand. Thanks for the play sand in a pinch though. It got us by until the ingredients came in from amazon.

  7. Thanks for the great idea. I really want to have an indoor “clean” sandbox now that it is cold and wet outside,We tried to make it yesterday, but something went wrong. At first it was too runny, more like sand-mud than sand-clay. So we added a lot more sand and some cornstarch. It is not as wet, but still sticks to our fingers and arms and makes quite a mess. It just feels like wet sand, I am not giving up yet. What should I add, more sand or more cornstarch?
    Thanks!
    Brigitte

    • Hi Brigitte,

      Are you making 50 lbs? I think if it’s too sticky, I would add more sand. I know I added about 6 cups of cornstarch for the 50 lb bag, and mixed it all together before adding the water. It’s easy to over do the water, which is why I added it last. Let me know.

      Thanks,
      Teresa

      • I used two bags of sand which were about 108 lbs together, so I added 12 cups of cornstarch, then when it was mixed well the 12 cups of soapy water. It is not runny anymore, now that we added more sand it is just like wet sand. What should I do to make it “clean” and stay together instead of sticking to me, like kinetic sand. I know that water is not the answer, but what is?
        Thanks,
        brigitte

        • I know some recipes call for mineral oil to keep it from drying out and to give it a smoother texture – I personally didn’t like the feel. I found the cornstarch gave it more of the moldability to I was looking for, and the dish soap made it squishy. You could try adding more sand to absorb some of the water if you have it available.

  8. This looks awesome but I’m wondering if this sand has Crystalline Silica in it? I’ve tried to find play sand at Home Depot and Lowes and every bag I can find has a warning that it contains silica and quartz which I know is unsafe to breathe in. No way do I want my kids playing in that! I would love to find a safe sand, it’s crazy that they even sell it if it’s bad to breathe in!

    • I bought mine at Home Depot. Although I understand there are risks with the above mentioned, we did not encounter much dust to be inhaled, especially after adding a liquid. Also, the other thing I think that helped was placing the bag in the container first, and then emptying the contents. We weren’t stirring up much dust.

      However, that being said, after researching the subject, it seems that risks from crystalline silica is mostly due to occupational hazard of working in construction, where there is aggressive agitation of the rock, etc.

    • Sand is a mix of silica & quartz – they are just fancier names for the particles that make up sand, and crystalline just indicates the natural process that the quartz crystals exhibit. So unfortunately you are never going to be able to find a play sand which does not contain either of these ingredients.

      That being said, kids have been playing in sand for centuries…

      If you are concerned about them breathing the fine particles in, just dampen the sand with water or make a mixture like this one from Teresa, which contains a liquid of some sort, & that will prevent the fine particles from flying around so much…

  9. My only problem with this is the mess. My boyfriend and I bought some Kinetic sand and compared it with this. No offense, but I think the quality within the one we bought is much better and mess free. I would suggest not buying the big brand kinetic sand but possibly buying the cheaper ones, especially the ones in Michaels that are usually on sale. Of course, for kids who like science and mess, this would be one good project…. but for us two, I think the store sand is okay enough.

    • I have found that my youngest does tend to spill over the edge quite a bit. However, because it sticks together, I have found that it sweeps up clean. Therefore I would recommend keeping a dollar store dustpan and brush nearby.

      As for the feel, I guess what I was looking for was the sensory experience of having moldable sand that would build a more concrete structure than simply wet sand. The branded Kinetic sand is also made with a chemical compound used in cosmetics which may or may not be toxic, but I didn’t want to risk that since I have found my little one to sneak bites of play dough, etc. They aren’t as concerned with brand names or quality at this age too – it’s more about the experience.

    • As soon as I saw your son’s hands I knew this was no where even close to being as clean as the real stuff. The kinetic sand in the store does not stick like that. Also, the abrasiveness of the homemade sand in our house would cost more in the long run due to the damage to furniture and hardwood floors. The store-bought sand has almost no abrasiveness.

      • Sorry to hear you wont be giving this a shot! He loved the experience of playing with the sand, and we have yet to experience any damage to our floors. It’s fairly soft and cleans up well. Read through the comments though, and you will find out how to make the *real* stuff, though mine contains no harsh chemicals.

  10. Pingback: 30+ Toddler Indoor Activities - Teaching 2 and 3 year olds

  11. I have made this before and yes it is a great play activity however, it is nothing like real kinetic sand. Also you mention having to throw out kinetic sand if it gets on the floor and that being expensive, that is not true. You don’t have to throw it out. Nothing sticks to real kinetic sand except the sand itself. Even if it gets on carpet, you just get a handful of the kinetic sand and touch it to what fell on your carpet and it picks it up. Dirt and debris also won’t stick to the kinetic sand so no need to throw any of it away. I have had ours for over a year and have a 2 yr old. We have lost very very little in that time.

    I’m in no way trying to downplay your idea here, as I said I tried this before I bought the real stuff too. But there is no way to recreate kinetic sand at home. It is truly amazing and CLEAN.

  12. I like your idea and may try a little for my 3yo. My 9yo twins have been lovers of kinetic sand for awhile. I would like to know if your concoction did dry out? Kinetic sand is awesome because it does not. It also vacuums up like a dream.

  13. From what age would you recommend this? My son is 15 months and I keep eyeing the kinetic sand in the shops too. Just afraid it’ll be a waste for him.

    • I recommend this for preschool ages and up, about 2 years. However, if your son is 15 months, I would just keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t put it in his mouth.

  14. Last year trying to keep m grandson occupied, I mixed flour a little sugar and cinnamon. I put it on a large cookie sheet he loves it for his tractors, combines, trailers, loaders.

  15. This doesn’t resemble kinetic sand. It looks like wet sand. The thing that makes kinetic sand what it is, is the way it falls through the hands.

    • We still have ours. As long as you keep it covered so it doesn’t dry out it should be fine. Also spritz in it with either a 10% bleach or vinegar solution should help too.

  16. I made this today in my preschool classroom sensory table. I added too much water, but I was able to get some of it back off with paper towels because it pooled on top of the mixture. I am leaving it uncovered tonight so additional water can evaporate. My two-year-old class starts back tomorrow and I can’t wait to see what they think. I enjoyed playing with it and I’m 51 years old! :)

    • Hi Annie, you could try mixing the arrow root or tapioca starch with water to see if it turns into a substance similar to ooblek (cornstarch/water). I imagine it will work the same.

      • On Youtube there is a recipe for making what you call ooblek from potatoes. Annie could try that, although perhaps one of the other starch powders will work as well, and would be easier. The potato starch seems to be pretty much the same as the cornstarch.

  17. This is not going to be kinetic sand when you are done. Kinetic sand does not leave a grain of sand on your hands when you are manipulating it and the stuff in the pictures looks like a total mess (stocking all over hands and toys)

  18. I’m sorry but considering your post was the first hit for “home kinetic sand” this post was just click bait. The whole point of kinetic sand is the way it’s almost liquid like but holds it shape as well as the fact it sticks to nothing else but the sand itself.

    You mixed wet sand and that’s it.

    That’s horrible – this article is pretty much a lot of lies.

    • I’m sorry you felt that way. I state in several or more of the comments that my goal was for moldable sand, which is what my interpretation of the toy was, and to have it cheap, easy and safe. I did not realize so many moms were against mess and willing to use harsh chemicals instead. You do not have to use this recipe.

      • Since there are so many harsh comments from people you may want to change the title to moldable-sand similiar to kinetic sand. Still won’t quite down the harshest critics. After reading the comments I would revise the directions with how much water and the bacteria spray as well as keeping it closed. Better than scrolling through to read comments on these questions.

        • Hi,

          I did think about changing the title since it did receive some confusion. At the time of making this recipe, my interpretation of the commercial kinetic sand was that it was moldable, and desired to create something similar. I guess I didn’t realize how attached people were to the exact consistency of the store-bought kind, especially since my now 3-year old doesn’t care. If it weren’t shared across so many platforms, I would consider editing the image if I could be sure it wouldn’t cause confusion or issues on other sites using my images. I will consider this weekend editing the recipe and putting a notification at the top.

          Thanks!

          • I think if people read your story before the recipe they might understand that you were trying to make something safe and inexpensive for your child to have a quality playtime. I didn’t get that you were trying to copy exactly the formula or feel of the commercial stuff. People complaining should relax and take in the whole idea -making something safe and interesting for children to play with inside. So what if some sand sticks to hands, look at the fun and experience your child has. The bit of cleanup is insignificant. Thanks for providing the recipe for fun times.

          • I’m sorry but idk what most these moms problem is! I say ignore their comments because pretty sure if I didn’t like the recipe then I would just leave the web page and find a new one, or go shop at the store… I think its common sense that homemade things are never the SAME as store bought, and I LOVE that you kept the title as kinetic sand because to me this is pretty close! I love the recipe, thank you for sharing something non toxic, since as a mother I dint like buying store bought items with all the harsh and dangerous chemicals.

          • Thank you – what works for some, doesn’t for others. I can’t tell you how many things I’ve tried from recipes that belong on the Pinterest fail-blog… I appreciate the positive feed back! And amen to more toys without chemicals!

  19. Watch for crayola colored sand at the end of the season – you can get it really cheap and then it will be an additional few colors for kids to play with.

  20. My kids received 3 of that kinetic sand box kit things for Christmas and it was barely even enough sand for one of them to play with it. I was just going to add plain sand to it and calling good enough. That kinetic stuff is so expensive. I think now I’m going to try to make my own. Thank you for the recipe.

  21. I used the exact sand shown in your photo. I halved the recipe and it didn’t seem to turn out. Just seems like wet sand but not enough to make it moldable. Any suggestions?

  22. I entered Micheals one day to find it 5 bucks off. So 11$. I didn’t like the coloured sand because they only have you a pound but if you go the regular color sand you got a pound and a half. Enough to fill a large rectangle margarine container and make lots of things. I went to Good Will and for a buck got a huge bag full of cookie cutters to play in the sand with. The best part of kinetic sand is that when it falls to the carpet, in the bed or on the tile ground – you can pick it up! The way it works makes it so you can pick it up with your fingers without missing any!! And since its so awesome, your hands don’t get dirty or have sand particles left on them or under the nails when you’re done. Anyway I love that you found a way to make an absolute ton!!!! Had I found this 2 months ago I would have followed your idea instead of buying it. My only thing is – try picking it up when it spills! :) it will certainly last longer

  23. Awesome!! Thank you,bought the kinetic sand kit,and the texture was amazing,but the amount was disspointing for sure!! Will deffinetly be making a 50lb batch of this!! I think i may buy a deeper container though 😉 Thanks again

  24. Does anyone know if they make a gluten free kinetic sand? We have a lot of allergies with grandchildren…I would pay whatever to get some…Also, this is a nice recipe…I thought maybe if you use a Gentle, Antibacterial Dish Soap…add a little extra…might keep the smell, mold, etc. under control…better than bleach or vinegar on little hands!! Also, I use silica crystals to dry real flowers, etc…just put a little mask on while pouring, mixing as not to breath any particles…I would definitely put some type of oil in this recipe to keep from drying out..could add some type of safe coloring drops??

    • Cornstarch is gluten free which is partially why I chose it. Although some may be allergic to corn. You might be able to try other starches like potato, arrowroot or tapioca starch.

      • I think that for the most part, for someone who is on a budget and has slto stretch each dollar, this is a wonderful idea.. You want the “real” stuff, then buy it..otherwise stop griping about a mother trying something new to help her budget out..and have a fun toy for her two kids.. Thank you Teresa for passing on your idea, we need more “out of big box stores” thinkers like you!!

        • Well said Rachel I totes agree with you! Teresa thank you so much for sharing, a million blessings to you, keep up the love & care and awesome ideas….. Never let anyone dull your sparkle xox

          • I agree with Rachel and Melanie, I think it’s great that you are sharing your idea and trying to help other mums to save some money, it sounds like a great idea and I will be trying it…thanks so much xxx

  25. Wow, it is remarkable to me how many people are ridiculous in their expectations and ill bred in their manners. Here is a free recipe for homemade sensory sand that you took the time and trouble to share out of your own experience, which you did not have to do and which no one has to make if they don’t want to; and instead of simply looking at your results, deciding it’s not for them, and moving on to the next recipe online, they feel that somehow the correct response is to tell you you’re a failure and a liar. As if by not creating the exact thing THEY were looking for, you somehow failed at sensory sand. If it provides a sensory experience and is fairly easy to clean, safe to play with, and fun for YOUR children (the only ones whom you were aiming to please) then you absolutely succeeded because that is what you were going for. As if by calling it “kinetic sand” you are somehow lying just because your recipe produces a different kinetic/sensory experience than store bought kinetic sand. It’s kinetic. It’s sand. If it’s not what people were looking for, they need to get a grip and move on, not put everything on hold just to type in a hateful comment about something they didn’t have to pay for and don’t have to use that was provided to them out of generosity and good will. I’m so sorry you have had to endure that treatment. Please know that those comments betray a problem on the commenters’ part with negativity, an unfounded sense of entitlement, and an equally unfounded perception of the importance of their pessimistic opinions. I admire your fortitude and grace in bearing the abuse and responding with kindness and not the least hint of retaliation in kind or even defensiveness. You are to be commended both for your generosity and for your patience. Since you have kept yourself above their attacks and not said any of these things, I’m saying them for you, in your defense. Folks, if you don’t like this recipe, don’t use it. If you have time to type up a nasty remark, use that time to go play with your kids, whom you probably criticize too much and who could most likely use some encouragement from you. Your time will be wasted here anyway because, quite frankly, nobody really cares what you think or how mistreated you feel you were to be presented with a search result that missed it’s mark.

    • Hi Sarah,

      At the time I wrote this article, I didn’t realize how attached people were the the commercial brands, and you hit the nail on the head – I just wanted to share something that my now 3-year old got so much enjoyment out of, and people can take it or leave it.

      Also, I will state that one of the reasons my son’s hands look so dirty is that he helped mix it. When all was mixed together, and we added the dish soap, it ended up being a lot cleaner than it looks.

      Thanks for reading!

      Teresa

    • Well said, scrolling through that’s all I could think of, how rude on their behalf. Thanks for the recipe I cannot wait until my boy who is 8 months is old enough to play with it (and not try to eat it haha)

  26. Pingback: Make Your Own Kinetic Sand - Lil Moo Creations

  27. Kinetic means movement…and in this case sensory sand. It is what it is!
    ‘Seagraves’ thanks for your post, I completely agree!
    Teresa, thank you! I am a mother of two special needs high profile sensory…this sand is perfect. Thank you

    “It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.”
    ― Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

  28. I actually have a question ….I bought everything I needed to make this but when I dumped my sand out of the bag into the container its really damp…..do I need to wait and let it dry out first…

  29. Pingback: HOT: Kinetic Sand by Sand in Motion or DIY Kinetic Sand - TOT: HOT OR NOT — TOT: HOT OR NOT

  30. Pingback: Indoor Activities to Make it Through a Cold Winter

  31. Hi Do you recomend mixing the water and cornstarch first and then put in sand or sand and cornstarch first and then water?

  32. Gave this a try today and it was just damp sand that didnt hold together. Should I try more cornstarch and water? I mixed the entire large container of cornstarch (about 4cups) with 6 cups of water. I measured water first so was too late to lessen the amount. The cornstarch completely dissolved and made a milky white liquid, but was no where near the consistency of oobleck. Not sure what I did wrong, but the sand does not stick together at all.

    • If it’s too wet, use more cornstarch. Some people have said “Ooblek” is a 2:1 ratio (2 parts water, to 1 part cornstarch), but I’ve had to use closer to a 1:1 ratio depending on the brand. I feel awful that it’s a trial and error for some, because this worked so well for us. Let me know how it works if you add more cornstarch – I’d be curious to see!

  33. I’ve tried doing sand and dimethicone. It stayed oily. I think the sand may not have been fine enough. Here in Australia, a bag of sand costs $8, the dimethicone was cheap (from what I’ve read, it’s quite safe), and worked out to $1 per kg, as opposed to $25 ish per kg for the commercial sand.

    • That’s interesting that there’s such a price difference! From what I’ve read, dimethicone is relatively safe as long as you don’t ingest it or get it in your eyes. I think a lot of people are wary to use it because it’s a chemical, and have said it’s toxic. I personally don’t like oily textures which is why I avoided it for this recipe.

  34. I used baby oil instead of water because I didn’t want it to dry out outdoors. Six cups of oil to six cups of cornstarch. Now, this mixture was very liquidy and not oobleckish…but I still mixed it with 50lbs of sand. Now I have damp sand that smells like baby oil. It doesn’t really mold. Would adding more cornstarch help it hold together and hold its shape better? I don’t want to waste $$$ “testing. Any thoughts.

  35. Pingback: Fun Ways to Play with Kinetic Sand

  36. Pingback: Nieuwsbrief Januari & Februari |

  37. I love the idea for the sand! I’ve been looking for a recipe for about a year. Thanks for figuring it out! More importantly, do you have a link to instructions on making in the ninjago costumes? My son would LOVE it!

    • Thank you! We don’t have pictures of the process, but I could have my husband write up a tutorial for how he put together the bodies and I did the details and fabric hoods. It was a complete DIY project – a lot of trial and error but worth it :)

  38. I tried mixing the water and cornstarch together first like you suggested…I don’t recommend it!! I now have tons of white chunks of cornstarch. I spent a lot of time trying to break up the chunks within the sand with my hands. Still very chunky. :(

    • Oh no – I used a whisk to get the chunks out.

      A lot of this might depend on the brand you use based on reader feedback, etc. When I mixed it in the sand first, I had some chunks of cornstarch that were hard to get out which is why I suggested mixing it with the water first.

  39. Pingback: Make Your Own Kinetic Sand – Lesson Plans

    • We still play with ours. Some have mentioned it smelling after a while, but we do pretty well just spritzing with vinegar and tea tree oil. No discoloration or anything so far!

  40. I love this idea! I made it with my kids and they used it for hours this morning… it was great for a cold winter day in MN when we couldn’t be playing at the beach as we do in summer! It was moldable and it brushed right off our hands. I followed your recipe and then at the end just added a bit more water, cornstarch and dish soap till I got the consistency exactly as I wanted it. I put mine in a bin with wheels (like an under bed storage bin) so it’s easy to move and I put a plastic party store tablecloth underneath (any spills were just dumped right back in the bin). Thanks for taking the time to share this idea! I wish I could upload a picture of how it turned out for you!

  41. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate….shake it off, shake it off………people relax…. Do what makes your kids happy, either or homemade or not….why does it matter, thank you for this post it is awesome!!! kids don’t care they will play with any kind of sand, most times, it’s our reaction that change what they think!!!!!

  42. I work with intellectually disabled adults. I was determined to find something to pique the interest of one client in particular. I bought some kinetic sand, he absolutely loves it, will sit playing with it for hours on end, not only this, but it has brought him out of his shell somewhat, he will sit in the living room with others and watch the interactions between his flatmates and the support workers. Now that I have this recipe, I can make more as the need arises, it’s cheaper than buying the stuff – not that I begrudge him 1 cent of what it cost me – honestly, it was worth it to see the pleasure he gets from playing with it. Of course, we support workers enjoy playing with it too 😉

    • That is amazing! I’m so glad to hear you were able to help him, and that this recipe will be of use to you. I love stories like this. Thank you so much for sharing :)

  43. I want to try to use this as a preschool project that the kids can help make in class and then take some home with them at the end of the day. I have about 20 minutes to make it and there should be around 9 kids there. Will that be enough time and is a 50 lb bag enough to split between 10 kids?

    • Hi Kiya, we made ours pretty quickly – I don’t think it took 20 minutes at all. If you have the kids helping you, it would definitely work – have them taking turns adding 1 cup of each ingredient at a time. A 50 lb. bag would give each kid about 5 lbs each if you wanted to split it evenly. Good luck!

  44. i’ve been so anxious to make this stuff for my kids. and in the waiting, i broke down and bought a 2lb. box of real Kinetic Sand. sitting here trying to search where i can find Extra Fine Play Sand, since my last trip to Home Depot was a bust – i looked thru the recipe and pictures again…. the sand on your kiddo’s hands looks to be stuck like regular wet beach sand would be. And the Kinetic Sand we purchased FEELS like it should stick, but doesn’t. AND won’t dry out. just curious if i’m seeing it right by the pictures. any tips? thank you <3

    • Hi Toni, you can find extra fine play sand on Amazon, such as this play sand here: Sandtastik 25 Lb Box – White Play Sand. It’s not as sticky as it looks – my son helped me mix it, and I think that’s why it looks that way in the pictures. We haven’t had too much mess when we take it out – baby wipes or a quick rinse in the sink should do the trick.

  45. I wonder if this would work well with the very fine chinchilla sand.
    I am also happy to find a wheat free tactile play material. My daughter has severe food allergies. Anaphlactic to ingesting dairy egg wheat sesame and contact causes hives, swelling then eczema. As well as the hand to mouth risk. Food allergies make everyday life and challenge. It’s not just about eating.

  46. Does this batch make enough for an average size sand table?

    Also, how much tea tree oil? Sorry if you mentioned it.. I can’t seem to see an amount.

    Thanks! This looks like a lot of fun!

    • Yes, it will be plenty for a sand table (I’m assuming the type that are used in most preschools).

      I have good luck with Aura Cacia brand tea tree oil, which costs around $6.00 in grocery stores, and you only use a few drops – it’s pretty strong.

  47. I went with the updated tips and mixed the corn starch and water first. Then when I opened our bag of sand I discovered it was quite damp and came out too wet once mixed. But a few days left open dried out the mixture to what I assume it should be and the kids love it.

    • That’s great to hear! Our sand was dry when we bought it but a lot of people have had similar issues. We just took ours out yesterday and today – my now three year old loves it.

    • Hi,

      I could not find any information regarding the ingredients for polymeric sand or whether or not it’s safe to let kids play with it. I would not recommend letting kids play with polymeric sand.

  48. I am going to try out this recipe soon. I’m very excited and I think my daughter will love it! I just had one question regarding the dish soap. I use a non toxic brand of dish soap that contains multiple oils and extracts. Will this work in the recipe? I’m not sure what ingredient of the dish soap was essential to the process. My dish soap works well for cleaning dishes, so I’m hoping it will work in this too. But just checking.
    Thanks

    • Hi Jennifer,

      I use Earth Friendly brand, which is probably similar to the one you use. You don’t need much, and it smells amazing. Hope that helps! Also, consider following me on my new blog, Pseudomom.com.

      Thanks so much! I hope your daughter enjoys this :)

  49. I tried making this with the ooblec mixture first. I don’t recommend it. The sand is pretty much wet sand with lots of balls of corn starch coated with sand. I guess the wet ooblec was coated with sand and was never fully intragrated throughout. I’ll have to add more cornstarch make up for it all being balled up. Just a suggestion :-)

  50. Pingback: Kinetic Sand = Happy Kids | My Pins in a Nutshell