Monday, March 31, 2014

Fun with Homemade Sand! (BLT)

            Hey folks! It's that time again for a Baby Learning Time post! As some of you may know, our daughter Myka is not terribly fond of messy activities. (Or being messy/dirty in general.) 17 month olds are naturally messy and dirty creatures, right, so why isn't mine, you may ask? Well, I've inadvertently turned her into a clean freak without even realizing I was doing it. Woops. :(
            While this obviously has its advantages, it still makes me a little sad because we really have to ease our way into messy (read "fun" in my book) activities. Not to mention all the times that she gets something on her hand or fingers that I can't even see and wants it wiped off immediately. It may sound silly, but it's something I feel really bad about and didn't realize the extent of it until it was already too late.
            On another personal note before I get to the fun stuff, I myself am somewhat of a clean freak which is where Myka got it from, obviously. I'm not a girly girl by any means, but I was never one to play in the mud and I absolutely HATE food related messes. I don't know what it is about them, but I just don't like them. They make me cringe, literally. In fact, I couldn't stand to watch Myka try to feed herself the other day using utensils because I literally cringed every time I did look over to check on her.
            To me, it's like the "watching a train wreck" scenario. My logical brain and unreasonable brain duke it out because I have a really hard time looking at it as "a learning/developmental experience that she needs" and not "Oh my God, what an unholy mess I'm going to have to clean up!" Soooo....
            The homemade sand was a great learning experience/exercise for BOTH Myka and me. I was really proud of both of us. While at first I caught myself trying to clean up little bits of sand that fell on the floor and trying to move her hand quickly back over the sand tub before she accidentally dumped it all over the floor, I kept telling myself that it was alright and that it would clean up. And you know what? It was a LOT more enjoyable afterwards!
            I was proud of Myka because while it took her quite some time to actually touch the sand with her hands, she did do it some eventually even though I could tell she was leery about it. I made sure to praise her when she did touch it and told her that it was supposed to be messy. I also made sure to tell her it was ok when she accidentally got some on herself or the floor and she said "uh oh". (That's her new "thing", like most kids her age.)
            It's hard to keep most toddlers entertained for long periods of time. We played with the sand for about an hour, if that tells you anything! Since it was something new to her, I showed her all kinds of things she could do with it with her "tools" and hands.
            As you can see in the picture above, putting down the newspaper underneath did me a whole lot of good, huh? But that's ok! It's supposed to be messy, right?! And it's not terribly hard to clean up. I actually ended up getting "dirtier" than Myka did. lol
            To make the "sand" that we used, simply mix 4 cups of flour with 1/2 cup of oil (vegetable, sunflower, baby (although I don't personally recommend it), etc. (Please note that I didn't come up with this recipe and am making no claims to such. I've seen it in at least 2 separate places in the blogosphere.) I used white whole wheat flour because, quite frankly, after using it in baking once, I have no intentions of using it any time soon again. lol Plus, it actually made it look more like real sand, so that was a bonus. I doubt it makes any difference what type of oil you use, but I used sunflower, in case you're curious. ;)
            Time for the break down! This activity is:
-a great sensory activity even for babies since the ingredients are edible! (Unless you're using baby oil, of course.) It's fun for preschoolers too! (And adults, if I may add. ;) )
-good for fine motor development
-good for problem solving

            I'm sure there are a lot of points I'm missing, but, as usual, those are the first ones that pop into my head. And, if you're like me and Myka, it's a fun exercise to help get over your OCD neat-freakedness! Here I thought I was making something fun for my daughter to play with and it turned into a learning experience for me as well! ;)

 Disclaimer: Please use common sense when choosing activities and toys for your children. You know your child better than anyone else. (In theory.) If you are worried about your child ingesting the "sand" for whatever reason, choose a different age/child appropriate toy or activity. (Although as long as you don't use baby oil, it's perfectly edible.) And please, PLEASE supervise your children. Thanks!


  1. My son would love this! He would definitely make a mess though. He's such a boy. :)

  2. I totally get wanting to clean it up as it is happening but it is so freeing to be in the moment and then clean it later :).

    1. Very true! I have had a lot of lessons and learned a lot about patience and other things lately. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I have a toddler now. ;)

  3. What A Awesome Idea I Will Have To Try & Make Thank You!!

  4. Awesome!! That looks like something my girls would absolutely love :)

  5. This sounds like a great idea! Thanks for linking on Pintastic Pintersting Party!