Sand – Creative Mixing and Sand Pictures (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , September 15, 2008 6:58 am

This week’s Unplugged Project theme of sand was inspired by the giant pile of sand that we have near our swing set. We had it brought it in to spread around the swing set area to soften the crash zone and also to control weeds.

I thought my children would have a lovely time spreading the sand nicely throughout the area. Wrong. My children have a lovely time playing on the pile of sand and don’t want it spread out! Oh well, for now we will leave it as is.  It is providing hours of cheap entertainment.

I had all kinds of cool sand ideas, but my kids had their own idea so I just let them go with it:  mixing.  One of their favorite activities is standing at the kitchen sink while I cook and taking bits of the ingredients (flour, vinegar, spices, salt, whatever is out) and mixing it all in a bowl accompanied by plenty of “oohs”, “aahs”, and shouts of “gross!”

First we scooped some sand into containers and brought it in.

I wisely laid out my vinyl “craft” tablecloth that we use for messy projects.  The children then gathered some dry ingredients: sugar, salt, flour, parsley flakes (that I never use and for some reason I have an ancient, industrial sized container of them), cumin (for the lovely smell), and celery salt (because again, I have too much of it!).

In the back of the pantry we also found some red lentils for color.  The children wanted to grind them up with a mortar and pestle, but it turns out that lentils are VERY hard so they used them whole.

I passed out an assortment of spoons, small ladles, a honey stirrer, and a tuna can strainer for sifting.  Of course hands were the most fun to use.

The kids sat quietly and mixed and played with it for at least an hour, maybe more.  They had a ball, I relaxed, and the kitchen took on a lovely cumin scent!

Next my oldest daughter had the idea of making sand pictures with glue. The kids put Elmer’s glue on construction paper to make a design:

Then they sprinkled their sand mixture on the paper making sure to cover all the glue:

Next was the fun part – dumping the sand off the paper to see how the picture turned out (lots of oohs and aahs)!

The kids also experimented with tissue paper, lentils and sugar.

The finished art (Blue: 8 year-old, White: 6 year-old, and Yellow: 2 year-old):


1) This is a good outdoor project, or indoors with a tablecloth – but be prepared to vacuum after.

2) Since food ingredients are involved, make sure little ones don’t try to eat their creations.

4) If you do use spices: MONITOR HOW MUCH IS USED (or this project could get pricey).  Also – avoid anything containing pepper unless you have a lot of Kleenex on hand.

5) If you allow the use of water, be sure it is only a small amount or be prepared for a big muddy mess!

6) If kids dump their sand outside when done, be sure you know where they do this.  Ours went into one of my rose beds so I should have a nice crop of lentils sprouting very soon.  :(


Finally, here are some photos of the very favorite sand Unplugged Project around here, jumping off the swings and landing on the sand pile!


Did you join us for a sand project this week?  If you took part in the Unplugged Project this week, please link to your post.  If you didn’t do a sand project, then please do not link, but read about how to join in next week!


Since we recently did soft, the theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:


Have fun!

17 Responses to “Sand – Creative Mixing and Sand Pictures (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. Ashley says:

    That “very favorite” sand project would be a huge hit at my house:)

  2. shawn says:

    I think this is awesome!! I love that you let them lead the activity, and wow, they came up with a great idea! Really fun.

    Our activity was done before ever checking to see what the week’s theme was, so we cheated, I guess, but it sure fits the theme. Thanks again for the great place to share and check out other ideas!

  3. Michelle says:

    That is quite a mountain of sand you have there. We need to get one of those for our fort area.

    We did a similar ‘cooking’ activity at a friend’s house during a play group this summer. The kids had a blast but the smell became overwhelming after awhile. I think we decided the sweet spices were much nicer (although pricier) than the savory ones. A little onion powder goes a long way! It does take ‘mud pies’ to the next level. Fun project.

  4. warillever says:

    I love how the project evolved.

    warillevers last blog post..Wordle

  5. Dayna says:

    I love the pics of your kids jumping into the sand – looks like tons of fun!

    I forgot all about glue and sand art.

    Thanks again for another fun project!

    Daynas last blog post..Unplugged Challenge – Sand

  6. Heather says:

    great project. The boys would love the whole create in the kitchen idea. Kind of a new spin on mudpies. You also brought back memories of childhood. I loved jumping of the swings like that to. Thanks

    Heathers last blog post..Unplug Project

  7. […] of us skipping a block down the road to the beach and having all sorts of sandy adventures for the Unplug Your Kids challenge. The typhoon changed all that. Then I thought we could make some sand art using […]

  8. Great sand projects, and cool fingernails to model!

    I forgot to put the direct link to my sand project in Mr. Linky, sorry!

    Julie K in Taiwans last blog post..Shiver me Timbers

  9. I just love the projects you come up with! We “cheated” a little bit this week on Sand, but I hope it will be a jump start to get us going again on these weekly projects! As always, thanks for hosting!!!

    Becky@BoysRuleMyLifes last blog post..100 Days To Christmas!

  10. Lune says:

    Hi, I love your blog and this sand theme. I got to you from Shawna (number 12 on your list), who has done an awesome sand project with her baby this week.

    I homeschool and live in the mountains (of France) we live without t.v. or video games, but we have a dvd player. I am thinking of going unplugged too because the dvd player is just about to pack up and I think it will be a good chance to scrap it for good!!!!

    I will be reading your blog from now on to participate in the themes and get some good advice about how to live without technology.

    Thanks for your inspiration,
    Lune x

  11. […] September 2008 For once we did an Unplugged Project within the month it was posted. We didn’t mix; we just made a sand picture as a quick, before […]

  12. Gabriel says:

    For once I actually did one of your themed projects within a reasonable time frame! Now I just have to think of something for hard–maybe we’ll make some hard surfaces for my son’s cars.

    Gabriels last blog post..Sand!

  13. PJ says:

    This was a great project – we love sand!

    PJs last blog post..Unplugged Project: Sand

  14. […] to 4″ of fluffed up bedding, you’ll need to mix in a bit of dirt.  Since we still have a giant sand pile in the back yard, we put in a bit of sand too.  Worms have gizzards and need to eat some of this rough material […]

  15. […] week for our sand Unplugged Project, I had an idea for making permanent sand castles which I had seen as a […]

  16. […] temper the quill to toughen it up.  We filled a small, all metal pan with sand from our giant sand pile (you can use a tin can for this part too) and heated it in a 350 degree oven for 15 […]

  17. […] sand (like the permanent sand castles we made long ago for the Unplugged Project theme hard, or sand pictures that we made for the theme sand, or your own inspiration), or something sun or water-related?  […]

Leave a Reply

Panorama Theme by Themocracy