What do you think of when you hear the word, “beach”? Vacation? Sand? Breeze? Waves?
You want to know what I hear? Sand on everything. Crabs. Sharks. Wind burn. Sun burn. “Mom, I have to potty!!” Yes, I know. That’s a pretty miserable way to think of the beach. It’s supposed to be fun and carefree and relaxing, but with a toddler and a preschooler….it is decidedly not! At least not for me. You see, I’ve lived at the beach my whole life and I have never liked it! I always got sand in my bathing suit and I’m not a fan of the waves. I mean, who can swim in that? And then if you go out past the breakers you have to worry about whatever it is that might be swimming with you. No thank you! I hear from my friends with kids how much fun they have had at the beach playing with their littles, but it just doesn’t suit my fancy. I try to go once or twice a year just so I can say I took the kids but other than that, we stick with the pool.
However, I don’t want my kiddos to miss out on all that sandcastle building fun, but summers in the South are just too stinkin’ hot to be sitting around in a sand box. So I came up with an indoor option. Punky and I got to work mixing up some kinetic sand. Have you heard of it? It’s super fun – it’s like the hard packed sand near the water that is so perfect for sandcastles, but it never dries out! You can buy it from pretty much anywhere, but it’s pretty pricey. I’m not into spending $8 on a handful of sand, no matter how cool it is. We found a recipe from MamaPlusOne and got to work. I chose not to add color to it since Bay is so little and likely to mush it into his clothes and I wasn’t sure how color-fast this project would be. Besides, the sand we had was technically not “play” sand so it was a darker color than you would find in a sandbox, as you can see in the pictures below. We also made way more than the 1 cup of sand called for since we weren’t doing a bunch of different colors. Other than that we pretty much just followed her directions and came up with a pretty cool product. I spread out a cheap shower curtain liner on the kitchen floor to help with clean up and dumped the sand out in a baking pan. Toss in some small sand toys from the dollar store, and voila! Beach sand fun without all the sunscreen, bathing suits, and sharks!
When the kiddos were done I picked out all the toys and pulled the corners of the shower curtain to get all the sand to the middle and poured it into the baking pan. It then went straight into an air-tight container. It has been sitting on my counter for a few days and still is just as mushable as when we first made it.
Bonus – I put a large bowl of water with just a drop of dish soap on the floor and had the kids wash the toys. Sand play AND water play – and I didn’t have to clean it all up!
I think the bag of sand was about $5 for a 50 lb bag, corn starch is only about $1 for a large box at the grocery store, and I’m sure everyone has the dish soap on hand. So for less than the price of one little pack of the store-bought stuff we made a big container of our own with about 3/4 of the bag left over to go in the sand and water table they play with on the porch in the afternoons.
Easy peasy, super cheapy!
Even if you’re a beach lover, now you have a way to enjoy a little bit of the beach with your kiddos in the cooler months or on a rainy day. Try it out, and let me know how it goes. Can’t wait to hear from you!