Sensory play is very important in early childhood, and I suggest you always have a sensory bin set up at home. The contents don’t have to be changed until your child is bored of them (it can be weeks before that happens).

Best Ages for This Activity

This activity is great for one to five year old children. Some don’t introduce kinetic sand to children younger than three (not for issues of toxicity, but because they mouth or consume it). I feel that children learn a lot from playing with kinetic sand, and encourage you to try with younger children, but supervise closely.

How To Set Up A Sensory Bin
You can set up a large bin with a lid (you will definitely want one with a lid) like this one. This will hold water, rice, sand, and anything you set up for your child to experiment with. The bigger the better if you will use it outside, and one that fits on a small coffee table is best for inside. The one I suggested above is good for inside and comes with a second one that can be used outside as well!

For this activity, we will try kinetic sand, add small rocks and construction trucks. So simple!
You can use real sand if you wish, or even rice or lentils. Kinetic sand is amazing to the touch and is great for building as well, which is why I chose it. Plus, you can make your own kinetic sand with your child! I show you how to do it here.

How to Make It
To make this sensory bin, you will need very few things.


Optional Supplies

  • Rocks from outside
  • Popsicle sticks or small wood pieces (be careful of splinters)


  • All you do is pour the kinetic sand in your sensory bin, add the trucks and invite your child to play.
  • To store it, just put the lid on it (with sand, trucks and all) and open the sensory bin when they are ready to play again.
  • When your child is ready for a new sensory bin, you can store the contents of this one (with trucks and sand) in a large freezer bag. You can reintroduce it anytime your child would like to try again.

Learning Opportunities

Kinetic sand is used for children with special needs, as it develops their sensory awareness, and has a calming effect. It is wonderful for babies for the same reason – it is ideal for sensory play as well as fine motor skills, which are both critical for writing.

This is a great dramatic play activity as well, where your child can pretend to run a construction site and begin to build structures. Your child will experience, through playing with kinetic sand, how force affects motion, as well as how to build with it (engineering).

This type of sensory play helps regulate emotions and encourages mindfulness. It also provides a great activity for children to play on their own.

Extended Learning Opportunities

Play on a sandbox with bigger construction vehicles!

  • Set up a construction site with blocks, on the floor, to extend the play
  • Set up Lego or other building blocks (see below for ideas) at the same time so your child can experiment with both, together or separately!
  • Throw a construction-themed birthday party, where children can play either with different sensory bins of different colours and with different trucks, or outside in a sandbox with larger vehicles. You can even have a construction themed birthday cake!

Things to Keep in Mind

Please keep in mind that young children need adult supervision at all times. Sand is better in the sandbox and not in the mouth.

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