Playing with sand – in an outside sandpit or inside in a tray – is a brilliant sensory experience for toddlers and preschoolers. And, if you add scoops and containers and small toys, you child can tune up their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination with lots of digging and pouring and squashing and shaping – and plenty of imaginative play.


You can buy play sand online (and at big garden centres) but it generally comes in large 5kg to 10kg (or even heavier) bags. If you don't want that much or you don't fancy forking out, you can make play sand really easily – and cheaply – at home.

One of our MFM crafters, Claire Angel Hamilton, recently made play sand with her daughter Bella – and said it was super-easy, quick to do and keeps for months. She's sharing her recipe with us below. Thanks, Claire!

how to make homemade play sand
Pic: Claire Angel Hamilton

How to make homemade sand, with just 2 ingredients

You will need:

  • 4 cups of flour (any flour is suitable)
  • 1 cup of baby oil or vegetable
  • coloured chalk shavings/gratings (for colour, optional)

Note: this made enough sand to fill the tray in our picture (above). If you want more, just double or triple these amounts. As long as you keep the proportion at 4 cups flour to 1 cup oil, it should all work!

How to make it:

Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix it until it feels a bit like playdough but with a crumbly texture. If you want to add a touch of colour, mix in the coloured chalk shaving/gratings (if you add food colouring, your child's hands will end up very messy).

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And that's it. Enjoy!

Oh, a little tip for us: if your child's going to be with a sand tray inside, lay it all out on a nice big plastic mat or (bin-liner covered surface) first!

Want to buy some more sand, sand toys or a sand table? Try these:

Play sand accessories to buy

Read more: