It’s all around us. At home, in the park, on the beach and sometimes, sand is even in your lounge. Here’s how to have some fun with it.
Build a sandcastle
Whether your children are at the beach or in the back garden sandpit, building a sandcastle is a fun, creative activity. The sand will need to be a little wet for it to hold together. Then children can get stuck in with sand buckets, plastic cups or anything else that will work as a mould.
Children can make their own coloured sand with food colouring. Ask at your local craft shop about where to find fine sand. Children can place a bit of sand in a few paper cups and add a few drops of different coloured food colouring to each. If the colour is too light, add a few more drops at a time. Spread the sand out on a paper towel and leave to dry.
Dig for treasure
Make a sand box for younger children to dig through and discover treasure or dig for fossils. If you don’t have a sandpit use a biggish box, add plastic dinosaurs or pirate treasure and cover with sand. Give your little one a small plastic spade and let them uncover their find.
Mini Zen garden
Find a small wooden box, and fill with fine sand. Children can also add a few smooth pebbles or a small cactus. Find or get children to make a small wooden rake.
Paint with sand
Creating masterpieces with beach or coloured sand and glue will appeal to pre-schoolers and older children. On a piece of cardboard or paper, children can draw a picture with glue, then sprinkle on the sand. Wait for the glue to dry and let them brush off the excess sand. If they’re using different colours, wait for each colour to dry before working with the next.
To make a candle with a sandy exterior, children need a deep bowl and some wet sand. Get them to make a hole in the sand in the shape they want for the candle, such as a triangle or circle. Tie a piece of string around a small pebble and place in the bottom of the shape. Wind the top of the string around a stick and balance this across the bowl, so that the string is straight in the hole. Help children melt some wax in an old pot, on the stove. Pour the wax into the shape and leave to dry. When it has dried completely, children can dig out the candle and brush off excess sand.
Sand in a bottle
Use your different coloured sands to create layers of sand in a decorative bottle. Children will need to twist a piece of paper to make a funnel with a small end. Place this end in the bottle and gently pour in sand, using one colour at a time. Children can move the end of the funnel to direct the sand, and create waves of colour in their bottle.
Make a foot or hand mould with a sandy coating. Damp beach sand would work best for this. Children need a tub (preferably in the shape that they want their mould), filled with sand. Get your child to push their hand or foot into the sand, gently but with enough pressure to make a deep impression. Mix up a batch of plaster of Paris and pour this gently into the mould. Wait for it to dry, then let children remove the mould and brush off excess sand.
Use coloured sand to add some colour and texture to old Christmas baubles. Children can draw dots, stripes or zigzags of glue onto ornaments, then sprinkle sand over the glue and leave to dry. Continue adding glue and sand, one colour at a time, until children have covered their tree decorations.