Sand Activities for Learning


Playing in the sand is one of the summer traditions that you can enjoy anywhere! Whether you are at the beach, or playing in your own yard, there are so many fun ways that you can turn playing in the sand into a learning experience. My daughter loves playing in the sand, and she has been having fun creating new games to play in her sand table. Some of her favorite activities in the sand box are to build volcanoes using a funnel (she is currently obsessed with volcanoes), and finding her Little People dolls and animals in the sand. She likes when I bury them while she looks away so she can use her tools to dig them up. 


My daughter loves the sand, so her wonderful grandparents made her a fun sand table out of PVC pipes and a plastic bin. One of the best parts about this table is how easy it is to store. We can dump out the sand at the end of the year, and take the pieces apart to store in the bin. We can also adjust the height of it as she grows. Open creative play and easy storage? Yes, please! To really utilize the learning possibilities that this table gives us, I decided to reach out to other bloggers to find some fun sand activities that they have used to encourage learning.

Letters & Numbers

Spelling Practice with Kinetic SandcastlesThere’s Just One Mommy created this fun activity to help kids practice spelling words. She uses spelling tiles and kinetic sand to create a sandcastle full of letters. Kids have to search through the castle to find the letters needed to spell their spelling words.

Letter Recognition & Spelling Mama Smiles uses sand, trays and chopsticks to give her kids practice with spelling, handwriting and find motor skills. This activity is great for all ages because they can practice their individual skills.

Creative Play

Story Inspired Sandbox PlayBooks and Giggles uses the new book Little Excavator by the late Anne Dewdney (of Llama Llama fame), to encourage some creative sandbox play. She offers lots of fun activities that you can use to go along with the book.

Mini-Adventure Sandboxes The Life of Jennifer Dawn uses photo storage boxes, small toys and sand to create mini sandboxes, all with their own unique theme. I can’t wait to create a few of these for my daughter to play with!


Learning about Rivers & ErosionThere’s Just One Mommy used simple sand and water to teach kids about erosion, rivers, dams and ponds. This is an activity that you can do with kids anywhere, so you can turn your next beach day into a learning experience!

Animal Sand Play Mother Natured used colored sand, cookie cutters and paintbrushes to explore animal shapes. These activities give you an opportunity to talk to kids about different animals and their characteristics, while allowing them be creative.

Sand ScienceiGameMom offers different experiments that you can do with kids using sand, magnets, funnels and more. She offers suggestions on questions to ask your kids while playing in the sand too!



Moon SandThe Life of Jennifer Dawn uses simple ingredients you probably already have to create moon sand. Kids can use it to build or make shapes, plus it is just fun to run through your hands!

Sensory SandboxPreschool Toolkit uses pine cones, sand and tools to create a fun sensory box which can be used to develop fine motor skills and language skills. They offer playtime suggestions to get you started too!

Sand Slime Little Bins for Little Hands put a fun beach twist on the slime phenomenon! By mixing a few simple ingredients, you can create a fun stretchy slime that kids will love to experiment with!



Sand PaintEmma Owl mixes paint and sand together to create a textured paint that would be lots of fun to use when creating summer artwork.

Sandcast Starfish Crafts by Amanda uses sand, Plaster of Paris and assorted items from nature to create this art project. This would be a fun way for kids to make a memento from their trip to the beach. You could also use this as an opportunity for kids to explore the natural elements found in their own backyard!

There are so many fun ways to use sand to create learning experiences. From art and creative play to language and science, there is a little bit for everyone. What fun games does your family play with sand? Share in the comments!


  • Bobbi

    July 17, 2017 at 8:10 am Reply

    Love this!! These are great ideas…my kids love playing with sand butnI never realized all the different activities we could do with it

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 12:52 pm Reply

      I hope you have a lot of fun with them! There are so many ways to turn the sandbox into a classroom!

  • Lauren | also known as mama

    July 17, 2017 at 8:57 am Reply

    Definitely using some of these ideas today! Love the idea of incorporating science into sandbox playtime! 😉

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 12:55 pm Reply

      I hope you enjoy them! I didn’t have a lot of great science teachers growing up, so it is important to me that my daughter gets a lot of science education from the beginning!

  • Salma Mehajabeen

    July 17, 2017 at 9:26 am Reply

    What a beautiful composition!! Waiting for my doll to grow up

  • Jessica Peresta

    July 17, 2017 at 9:46 am Reply

    I love every one of these ideas. We have a sandbox and I’m so uncreative when it comes to using it. I’m like “here’s your shovel now dig.” Ha!

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 12:55 pm Reply

      Haha, that’s how we came up with the burying the dolls game, and that is my daughter’s favorite!

  • Krystal Sadler

    July 17, 2017 at 10:02 am Reply

    I love how open-ended all of these activities are. My favorite is the sand art. So fun! Thanks for sharing!

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm Reply

      I really like open ended activities to encourage my daughter to be creative, and also to watch her little mind at work!

  • Nicole Flower

    July 17, 2017 at 12:43 pm Reply

    How fun, you come up with the best Montessori ideas and what a perfect sand table! I love that her grandparents made it too!
    xo, Nicole

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 12:58 pm Reply

      Thanks! I love that it is a special gift from them!

  • Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries

    July 17, 2017 at 12:46 pm Reply

    What is it about a sandbox? Just reading this totally takes me back to my childhood. I grew up with one in my backyard, and I wish I had a yard so my daughter could have one, too. We go to the park a lot to get lots of sand time in!

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm Reply

      Playing in the sand with my daughter takes me right back to childhood days of playing in our green turtle sandbox!

  • Hanna

    July 17, 2017 at 1:00 pm Reply

    I’ve been wanting to make a sand table for months and months but I just can’t seem to make myself do it bc I know it will turn into a giant mess!

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 1:10 pm Reply

      I definitely hate the mess that sand makes! I really like that this table keeps it a little more contained!

  • Danielle @ A Sprinkle of Joy

    July 17, 2017 at 1:07 pm Reply

    Such fun activities! I love all the sensory options!

  • Melissa Javan

    July 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm Reply

    Thanks for this!

  • Leila

    July 17, 2017 at 3:22 pm Reply

    I love all those ideas. Pinned for later.

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 7:59 pm Reply

      Thank you!

  • Krsyten

    July 17, 2017 at 4:44 pm Reply

    I’ve been thinking of getting a sandbox for my son, these activities kind of put it over the top for me! Thank you!

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm Reply

      I’m so glad! I hope you have lots of fun in it!

  • Amelia Furman

    July 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm Reply

    Great ideas! I can’t wait to try some of these with my boys! Especially the sand painting…I hadn’t thought about that.

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm Reply

      I hadn’t either! A fun way to make painting new and exciting!

  • Kristen | Kandy Apple Mama

    July 17, 2017 at 6:56 pm Reply

    What an amazing compilation of activities! I need to go get my daughter’s sandbox from her grandma’s house so we can get started! I had no idea it could double as a learning opportunity 🙂

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 8:00 pm Reply

      Thanks! I hope you have a lot of fun using these activities with your daughter!

  • Megan Rogers

    July 17, 2017 at 8:26 pm Reply

    These are such awesome ideas. My daughter loves sand so I can’t wait to give some of them a try. Great post!

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 10:42 pm Reply

      Thank you! I hope she enjoys them!

  • Francesca

    July 17, 2017 at 8:58 pm Reply

    So many great ideas! Perfect to keep the kids busy this summer!

    • Vicki

      July 17, 2017 at 10:42 pm Reply

      Thank you!

  • Sharon Chen

    July 17, 2017 at 10:39 pm Reply

    Great activities for kids listed here. Fun and learning combined 🙂

  • Christina | From Under A PalmTree

    July 17, 2017 at 10:53 pm Reply

    I never would have thought there were so many educational ways to play with sand! I love it because kids will just think they’re playing it’s but it’s learning too! Love it!

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 1:36 pm Reply

      Agreed! I love turning every day activities into learning experiences!

  • Jiya B

    July 18, 2017 at 9:10 am Reply

    such a lovely post. This reminds me of a mom looking for ideas for her kids whom she is homeschooling for a year. This post will help her sharing link to her.

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm Reply

      Thanks! I hope it is helpful to her!

  • Elizabeth Uchealor

    July 18, 2017 at 10:25 am Reply

    I think I love the sand art best. Thanks for sharing

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm Reply

      I love finding new ways to make art projects!

  • Sarah | Now One Foot

    July 18, 2017 at 11:05 am Reply

    My daughter loves sand as well. I love your diy sand box idea (and yay for crafty grandparents!). I hadn’t thought of all the different ways you could do sand play but I’m definitely saving these for later!

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 1:40 pm Reply

      Thanks! I’m so grateful for my parents and their sandbox!

  • Chanel van Reenen

    July 18, 2017 at 12:01 pm Reply

    both my kids love sand but our sandboxes always get so yucky. i love the idea of having a small tabletop one! these activities are really great!

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 1:41 pm Reply

      Thanks! We definitely find that there is a lot less mess with the sand table!

  • Belle

    July 18, 2017 at 12:41 pm Reply

    These are so fun! I’m absolutely trying these with my kids!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 1:42 pm Reply

      I hope you have fun with them!

  • Casey Thomas

    July 18, 2017 at 2:15 pm Reply

    These are all great ideas! I’ve been wanting to get the boys a sand/water table. I love the idea of sand art and using sand for science lessons!

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 5:57 pm Reply

      I do too! I think the sand paint may become a new favorite for my daughter!

  • Clair

    July 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm Reply

    I love how you rigged up that sandbox! I will need to look into making the kids one 😊 Loving all these ideas too! Can’t wait for the weekend for hopefully a new sandbox and some great activities to go along with it

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm Reply

      My daughter loves it! My parents had a lot of fun making it for her and now watching her enjoy it!

  • Meg

    July 18, 2017 at 3:00 pm Reply

    We have been learning about the desert this week, and so I’ve used a few of these ideas (writing in the sand, etc.) with great success. I also like the sand cast idea…fun art project!

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 6:02 pm Reply

      That’s awesome! I hope to do the sand cast one with my daughter someday when we go to the beach!

  • Leighann

    July 18, 2017 at 10:39 pm Reply

    Yay! I love these ideas! My husband made fun of my for filling a big container with rice and letting the boys play with their little sand shovels, but they loved it!

    • Vicki

      July 18, 2017 at 11:09 pm Reply

      Kids can be entertained by the simplest things, and they can learn so much from it!

  • Nicole Banuelos

    July 19, 2017 at 1:45 am Reply

    These are such great and fun activities for kids! We will be trying some of these out this summer!

    • Vicki

      July 19, 2017 at 1:04 pm Reply

      I hope you have fun with them! My daughter has been loving the sand this year!

  • Victoria

    July 19, 2017 at 6:57 am Reply

    These are great ideas, I just need to get past the eating everything in his hands phase and then I can start these activities. I love the sensory boxes that will probably be a starting point for my little Monkey.

    • Vicki

      July 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm Reply

      Haha, we are still dealing with that phase sometimes! Every activity starts with me asking “what’s the number one rule?” and her replying “not in the mouth!”

  • Kim

    July 19, 2017 at 11:55 am Reply

    These are great ideas! How did the sand slime turn out? I will have to try that one with my slime-obsessed 3 year old.

    • Vicki

      July 19, 2017 at 1:09 pm Reply

      We haven’t tried it yet, but I can’t wait to share it with my daughter!

  • Joanna Clute

    July 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm Reply

    I remember growing up, I played in the sand all the time. I wish I had known about your activities, they look like a lot of fun!

    • Vicki

      July 19, 2017 at 8:11 pm Reply

      I love finding new ways to use our favorite toys!

  • Kerri Olkjer

    July 19, 2017 at 5:20 pm Reply

    Such creative ideas here! I can’t wait to try some with my 4 year old.

    • Vicki

      July 19, 2017 at 8:11 pm Reply

      I hope you have fun with them!

  • Amanda | My Own Unexpected Journey

    July 19, 2017 at 9:51 pm Reply

    Oh my gosh, your sand table is brilliant! I might have to steal that. Great ideas here!

    • Vicki

      July 20, 2017 at 12:36 pm Reply

      Thanks! I love how versatile it can be! I can change out the sand box for another sensory bin.

  • Lisa

    July 20, 2017 at 12:46 pm Reply

    I still love sand myself and the kids have always loved playing in it. I am going to pass this along to my friends with younger kids who can enjoy it as well.

    • Vicki

      July 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm Reply

      Thank you! I hope they get a lot of use out if it!

  • Lindsey

    July 21, 2017 at 7:32 am Reply

    SO many good ideas here! Thank you!! I love to play in the sand too…so soothing!

    • Vicki

      July 21, 2017 at 1:08 pm Reply

      Thanks! I agree! I love to run my fingers through the sand while she is playing too.

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