Looking for a fun and easy DIY project that the kids will love? Look no further than moon sand! This homemade moon sand recipe is just as soft and squishy as the store-bought kind, but way cheaper to make. Plus, it’s a great sensory activity for kids of all ages. This homemade moon sand recipe has just 3 simple ingredients and takes less than 5 minutes to make. If you are looking for a fun sensory activity for the kids to enjoy this is it!
Homemade Moon Sand
I love making things for the kids to enjoy at home and while we have lots of hands on activities and fun that my kids love moon sand is one of their favorites. This moon sand recipe has simple ingredients and you can quickly whip up a batch on a rainy day (or any day) to have a fun sensory experience with the kids.
My kids have always had so much fun when playing with moon sand and once I learned how to make my own I made it often. This moldable sand creates hours of fun for the kids and when I make different colors they have loved it even more.
Moon sand is great for open-ended play, kids can use their imaginations and build with it, form it into shapes, use cookie cutters to make shapes, work on gross motor skills with small kids, using with mold and sand toys, and more. Really the fun is endless for the kids when you give them a bucket of moon sand to play with, but it is also fun to have them help you make it.
What is Moon Sand?
Moon sand is a type of sandbox play sand that is made from fine-grained polymers. It has a silky feel and can be molded into shapes. However, the stuff you buy at the store is very expensive for a very small amount. When you use this recipe to make your own moon sand, you can make a large batch that is actually enough for the kids to have fun, at a fraction of the price.
What is the difference between moon sand and Cloud Dough
While moon sand and Cloud Dough are both great for kids, to keep them entertained or placed in sensory bins, they have different textures. Moon sand is finer grained and feels more like actual sand. It can also be molded into shapes. Cloud Dough is more like a silky smooth play dough.
How to Use Moon Sand
There are lots of different ways that you can use moon sand once you have made it. My kids love being able to have open-ended play time and use their imaginations. I normally pour the moon sand onto a baking sheet, shallow tray or into a large plastic bin and let them have fun however they want to.
- Cookie Cutters. Use cookie cutters to make shapes in the moon sand.
- Build. This moon sand is thick enough that you can “build” with it.
- Sensory bins. Add moon sand to a sensory bin in place of colored rice or colored pasta.
Can I Make the Moon Sand Gluten Free
This is a big deal for some parents and I wanted to make sure there was an option for kids to play with this no matter if there was a sensitivity or not. There are 2 options to make moon sand gluten free. You can use a gluten free flour substitute. You can make your own gluten free flour blend. I recommend using a 1:1 ratio of rice flour and tapioca flour. You could also add in some potato starch if you’d like. If you go this route, simply use the gluten free flour blend in place of all-purpose flour in the recipe.
Another option is to use store bought gluten free flour. This will work just as well and will save you some time.
The other option is to use cornstarch or corn flour. This will be a little crumblier than the original version but it will still work as an option.
How to Store Homemade Moon Sand
You can store the moon sand in the plastic bag that you make it in or you can store it in an air-tight container.
How Long Does It Last?
If the moon sand is stored properly, it will last for about a month. You want to keep it in an airtight container. If it starts to dry out, you want to throw it out and make a new batch. Since it comes together so quickly and inexpensively, it isn’t hard to make a new one at the last minute.
How to Color Moon Sand
I am using Kool-aid to color the mood dough, it does not give it a bright color but it does give it some color. It stays in line with keeping this a taste safe product, although, it certainly won’t taste good. The colors are nontoxic and you don’t have to worry about them. It also adds a delicious scent to the moon sand.
If you want to have bright colors of moon sand then I suggest using food coloring2
My kids love it when I make a few different batches of bright colors that they can combine while they are playing.
Can I make Scented Moon Sand?
When it comes to scents, you can use any type of essential oils or extract. My personal favorite is vanilla extract because it gives the moon dough a nice, sweet smell. You can also use peppermint oil, lemon oil, or any other type of oil that you like. Just add a couple of drops of essential oils into the bag before giving it a shake.
How to Clean Up Moon Sand
While moon sand might be easier to clean up than real sand, it is still messier than play dough. I always recommend play with it somewhere that can easily be brushed and swept. I like to use the kitchen floor or, even better, outside.
When using a table, I also like to use shallow trays to keep all of it together. This lets the kids have it for the next time and it is much easier to clean up.
What oil can I use when making homemade moon sand?
I like using vegetable oil but you can also canola oil, olive oil, and even use baby oil.
DIY Moon Sand Recipe Ingredients
You will want to use this recipe for EACH color you are wanting to make.
- 4 cups of flour
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- oil based food coloring OR Kool-Aid powder (optional).
How to Make Moon Sand
In a small bowl mix the 1/2 cup of oil with your desired amount of food coloring, stir until combined until you get the color you want.
In a large ziptop bag add the flour and then add the oil and food coloring mix.
Shake the bag until well combined. You can also make the moon sand in a large mixing bowl if you would prefer and stir all of the ingredients together.
You might have to dig your hands in the bag to smash out some of the lumps.
Spread on a baking sheet to allow to dry out a little bit if you have added food coloring.
Pour into a plastic bin or onto a baking sheet and let the kids have fun.
Sensory Activities for Kids
Homemade Cloud Dough
- 2 Heaping cups of cornstarch
- 1 Cup Scented Conditioner
- food coloring
- In a large mixing bowl add the corn starch, then add the conditioner. You can use a smaller mixing bowl but when I am having the kids make things like this a large bowl keeps us from having any spills.
- Using a spoon or rubber spatula mix the conditioner into the cornstarch.
- Once they are both combined add in the food coloring and continue to mix until the food coloring is mixed into the cloud dough.
- Then continue combining the ingredients by kneading the dough with your hands until it is fluffy and cloud like