It’s squishy, it’s crumbly, and it crunches like a tiny bean bag when you squeeze it tight. You can mold with it, or you can smash it to smithereens.
Although we’re big fans homemade play dough around here, moon sand is a totally different sensory experience.
My kids love it, and I love that we can make it together in less than 10 minutes. You guys, TEN MINUTES . . . and that’s if they help. Every parent knows ten minutes is nothing if it means your kids are so fascinated they don’t notice you sneaking off to the bathroom by yourself.
So, what is moon sand?
Basically it’s sand that’s smooshy and moldable like wet sand, yet crumbly like dry sand. It’s completely non-toxic and can be made with all food-grade ingredients except for the sand. (And not that I’m recommending it, but my kids have all taste-tested a little sand on the beach when they were babies so I’m kinda counting that as food-grade too.)
Moon Sand Recipe
- 4 cups cornstarch or arrowroot powder (where to buy non-GMO cornstarch, where to buy arrowroot powder)
- 1 cup coconut oil, melted (find quality coconut oil here)*
- food coloring, if desired**
*Another oil such as olive or avocado will work, but it may slightly change the color of the moon sand from white to light yellow.
**I like India Tree and Maggie’s Naturals. However, I wanted to kick up the color intensity of our moon sand without going through my entire natural food dye stash, so I concocted my own with some glycerin and blueberries. Details below.
1. Add arrowroot powder or cornstarch to a medium/large bowl.
2. If you’re using food coloring, now is the time to add it to your coconut oil. We added a teaspoon.The dye won’t fully mix with the oil, but I’ve found that whisking with a fork does help the color distribute more evenly, and once you combine the oil with the flour the dye will mix in.
3. Add the coconut oil to the cornstarch/arrowroot powder and mix everything together. We started with a fork and then finished up with our fingers.
4. When our moon sand was fully mixed the color was still pretty light. I didn’t want to use any more of our precious supplies, so started trying to think of a way to adapt my natural Easter egg dye recipes. I’d succeeded once before with naturally colored homemade play dough, but because this is an oil-based recipe I didn’t want to include a water-based dye. I grabbed some non-gmo glycerin and a few blueberries, then tossed them in a pan to simmer over low heat for a few minutes.
Once the glycerin reached a deep ruby color, I strained off the liquid and we added it to our mixture. It worked perfectly!
Though it’s not gritty like sand, it can make a mess. I rolled out some paper on the kitchen table then dumped the sand on top. The kids loved it and cleanup was easy. Another option would be to put it in a shallow tray or have the kids play with it on a porch.
Our moon sand has been placed in a glass storage jar until it’s needed again. I’m thinking I’ll pull it out the next time the potami are waiting not-so-patiently for dinner to be ready. 🙂