DIY | Colored Sand

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There are many fun and creative ways to use colored sand. You can purchase it, but letting kids help make it is a chance to build skills associated with pouring, mixing and measuring as well as an opportunity for a bit of family fun full of conversation and cooperation.

You’ll Need:


  • Pour 1/2 a cup of sand in a mixing bowl.
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon of food coloring.
  • Mix until sand turns color.
  • Spread the sand in a thin layer on a baking sheet and set it aside to dry.
  • Repeat as needed with other colors.


  • If you’re worried about your baking sheets, line them with aluminum foil before drying your sand.
  • Use salt instead of sand.
  • Instead of air drying the sand, you can pop it in a 300 degree oven for 15 or 20 minutes.
  • If your colored sand gets wet, the color will transfer to hands and fabric. We used Liqua-Gel food coloring by Good Cooking and cleanup was pretty easy. Rowan’s bright red hands were a bit stained after a post-play washing and back to normal after a bath at the end of the day. (check out this article for general mess management tips)

Your colored sand ideas and experiences are welcome in the comments.

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Jeff is an early learning speaker, toymaker, podcaster, content creator, author, and founder of Playvolution HQ who is really bad at getting his picture taken.

After nearly 30 years working in early learning programs, Tasha now devotes her time to making Explorations Early Learning and Playvolution HQ work, quilting, and taking care of her pet duck, Tape.

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