Sticky Sand Structures

R was 16 months old and K was 20 months old at the time of this activity


1001 Things to Spot in the Sea by Usborne – We love the Usborne Things to Spot series of books.  At this time, R just enjoys looking at the pictures and flipping through the pages.  I’m sure she will continue to enjoy these books as she gets older, as my Kindergarten and Grade 1 students did!


1. Aquarium

IMG_9295IMG_9280In a Rubbermaid tub, I added water beads (green, purple and clear), large rocks and three of R’s bath toys (whale, turtle and shark). To explore the sensory bin, I gave her a small fishing net (a sieve) and a plastic scoop. She played for over an hour in this tub!!! She scooped the water beads and dumped them over and over.  She tried using a rock to scoop the water beads up with, but found that this didn’t work.  She fed the beads to her water creatures and said, “num num” while doing so.  She loved squeezing the water beads between her fingers, the most!

Extension Activities:
a. Work on estimating with older kids.  The clear beads are invisible in the water.  Use the plastic scoop to scoop up water and water beads.  Have the child make an estimate as to how many water beads s/he scooped up.  Pour contents into sieve and have child count to see how close s/he was to his/her estimate.  You will sure to be surprised how many water beads you have in fact scooped up once you can see the clear beads!
b. Discuss which sea creatures would live well together and why.  Think about what things these creatures would need to survive in their under water habitat.  Look up underwater habitats on the internet and then construct  an aquarium with the child based on the research you have conducted together.

2. Sticky Sand

IMG_9297I made this sticky concoction using sand, flour and baby oil.  The sticky sand is so awesome since it packs and holds form well, but isn’t wet and the sand doesn’t stick to your hands!  R enjoyed scooping the sand from one shape to the other.  She didn’t, however, like it when the oil started accumulating on her hands.

Sticky Sand Recipe:
1 cup play sand or decor sand
2/3 cup all purpose flour
mix these two ingredients in a small bowl until blended
add 1/4 cup baby oil (or vegetable oil) and mix through the sand

Extension Activities:
a. If you make a lot of this, you can of course, make sand castles!
b. Have two or more children construct their own sand structures using the prompt: What makes a strong sand structure?  Allow the children to attempt to topple each others sand structures down by using a catapult to toss sand balls at each others structures.  Allow them to pause in between to work on reinforcing their structures to improve their strength.

Check out the rest of the Beach & Ocean Theme:
1. Beach in a Bin
2. Puffy Sand Painting
3. Sand and Tissue Collages
4. Fishy Songs
5. Sticky Sand Structures

12 thoughts on “Sticky Sand Structures

  1. Pingback: Fishy Songs | Toddler Tales

  2. Pingback: Sand and Tissue Collages | Toddler Tales

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  4. Pingback: Beach in a Bin | Toddler Tales

  5. Pingback: Our Own Little Beach | Craftie Mum

  6. What a lovely set of activities – I’m trying to do more sensory activities with Reuben at the moment, so these are some great ideas and lovely for the summer! He tends to try and tip things out though, so I think we’ll be doing anything wet in the yard 😉

    Thank you for linking in with #MumsList:


  7. Pingback: Our Own Little Beach - CraftieMum

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