Kinetic Sand

"Green kinetic sand and a sea horse figurine. Toy for children" by wuestenigel is marked with CC BY 2.0.
Green kinetic sand and a sea horse figurine. Toy for children” by wuestenigel is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Want to work on fine motor skills to develop finger isolation and grasp? Kinetic sand is a great material for doing that.  You can purchase kinetic sand from or you can make other types of “sand” for your child to play with using hands or feet. Of course, there is always beach sand, sand boxes, and sand that you find in your yard that works very well, too!

Make some homemade “sand” or “snow” for your child to play with in a tub or bin. Include a variety of objects (various shapes, weights, textures, sizes, and colors) for your child to “unearth” by digging or scratching with fingers. If you child is beginning to develop a grasp, add metal, plastic and wooden spoons and forks to the mix. Put light weight chains and lengths of rope into the sand. 

You can also let your child play in the sand with his or her feet. Again, add various objects for the child to discover and explore with feet. You can do this while the child is sitting or lying on his back with knees bent or in prone over a bench. If you child can stand with support or independently, try it in standing. Contrast the sand with a tub of dry beans or rice or water.

Make Your Own

Here are some recipes for making “sand”, as well as instant “snow”.

Homemade Sand with Coffee Grounds (shared by Kathie Preece)

  • 3-4 cups coffee grounds (used and dried)
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups cornmeal
  • 1 cup salt

Mix together well and use just like sand!

Moon Sand (shared by Lynne McAllister)

  • 8 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of oil (we used baby oil)

Mix it up really well until all of the oil is incorporated into the flour. It will still look like flour (albeit full of teeny tiny lumps from the bits of oil), but it is moldable just like Moon Sand!

Instant Snow (shared by Stacey Richart)

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 3 TBSP hair conditioner

You can also add some glitter to make it sparkle!