During the summer, you probably try to get to the beach as often as possible. Or maybe you live far from the beach and wish you could get your hands on some sand. In either case, when you’re stuck indoors, why not try out some sand play dough? You can make it yourself with a few cups of sand (snag some from the playground or buy some play sand), flour, salt, water, and cream of tartar. This sand dough dries out just like play dough, so keep it in a covered container or wrapped in plastic wrap when you’re not using it.
And what do you do once you have made the sand dough? Read on.
4 cups of sand
3 cups of white flour
1 cup salt
2 TBSP cream of tartar
1.5 TBSP vegetable oil
1+ cups water
What You’ll Need To Play with the Sand Dough:
All you really need is some imagination, but it doesn’t hurt to add some fun tools and accessories.
Step 1 – Make the Sand
Combine sand, flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a large pot. Stir together with a wooden spoon until completely combined. In a separate pot, boil 1 cup of water (you’ll need more than a cup, so you can boil it all now if you want to measure boiling water, or boil 1 cup now and 1 cup later). Add the vegetable oil to the water, then pour it over your dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon, then dig in with your hands and knead to combine as much as the dry ingredients as possible with the water (the dough should not be too hot at this point, but double check before touching it). Chances are, you’ll need to add more water. Boil another cup of water and add slowly (1/8 cup at a time or less) to the dry ingredients. Really knead the dough with your hands as long as it is not too hot to touch. You want it to just come together and not get too wet. Once it reaches the consistency of play dough, you are ready to play!
*Tips for Parents: Have your child help you make the dough. Keep them away from boiling water, but they can help you measure, stir, and knead the dough.
Step 2: Explore the Dough
Give your child a lump of dough. Encourage your child to touch the dough.
*Tips for Parents: Some kids are wary of touching play dough. If this is the case, break out the accessories! Kids who might not want to touch the dough with their fingers will certainly poke sticks and stones into it.
Step 3: Mold the Dough
What are some other ways to make shapes with the sand dough? Press it into small plastic cups, ice cube trays, or egg cartons. Use small buckets to make sand castles or other shapes with the sand. Pack cut toilet paper tubes with the dough and add a craft stick and shells to make a cupcake. Try to stack it, try to smoosh it. Try to knock down the sand castles you make.
*Tips for Parents: Some kids become overwhelmed when they are approached with too many possibilities. If all of the tools are available at once, they may not know where to start. Give your child one tool at a time. If he or she is interested in it, let him or her continue. If he or she doesn’t seem enticed by a particular tool, break out another one. Keep the unused ones on the table, though—you never know when your child might get a spark of inspiration!
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