Sensory Play: Kinetic Sand Treasure Hunt

I bought a big package of kinetic sand several years ago to use for a World History class activity on cuneiform.  This was before kinetic sand was cool, so it was the cheap, recyclable alternative to the modeling clay I had initially used.  (Prices have gone up significantly since then, so if you don’t already own some, you may want to try a DIY alternative.)

Now that I’m not teaching full-time, my kids get the benefit of all the weird stuff I ever bought for my classroom.  Thus, sand sensory bins!

I typically set my boys up with one big sensory bin to share, but in this case, I decided they would be happier with their own space.  If you are homeschooling multiple children, try to balance time spent together with time working on their own.  You can see from this photo that my sons had very different ideas about how one should play with sand, so we opted for a peaceful. parallel play set-up.


Straight from the experts, here are two different ways to play:

  1. (little brother) Kinetic sand can be used much like Play-Doh. Squish it.  Squash it.  Enjoy the texture.  You can use kitchen utensils, Play-Doh toys, or whatever else you have laying around.  We were working with a smallish bin, so we found that some miniature knock-off Play-Doh toys from the Dollar Tree were perfect.  We also used a medicine cup as a tiny bucket and built sand castles that were just the right scale.
  2. (big brother)  Throw a handful of rhinestones in your kinetic sand, add a little imagination, and suddenly, you have a hunt for buried treasure.  A small spoon will serve as an excellent shovel.  If you happen to have strong Type A tendencies, you can also challenge yourself to see how perfectly flat you can get the surface before you dig it all up and start over.

I think tomorrow we’ll add some dinosaurs.

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