Last week for our sand Unplugged Project, I had an idea for making permanent sand castles which I had seen as a proofreading exercise in my daughter’s spelling workbook! (Spelling Workout, Level D, Modern Curriculum Press, p. 12)
Hey, you never know where you might find inspiration, right? My kids vetoed me last week for this particular sand project, and chose to do something else instead, but I figured we’d get to try it for this week’s theme of hard. Plus, since it was recently my sister’s birthday and she loves Hawaii, we made sand sculptures for her.
We followed the instructions in the spelling book. We needed sand, cornstarch, and water. The recipe called for 2 cups sand, and 1 cup each of cornstarch and water. We doubled it.
Sand was easy. We went out to our big sand pile and scooped up 4 cups of sand and put it in a big cooking pot. We then poured in 2 cups of cornstarch:
And 2 cups of water:
And stirred over low heat.
We stirred for a while. It was very runny, but looked yummy, like melted chocolate ice cream.
After about 10 minutes we got bored and left it alone for another 5 minutes or so. When we rechecked it, it had transformed into a solid, stiff lump! I had to trade in my plastic spoon for a sturdy metal one or it would have snapped in two! It was so stiff that in this photo, the spoon is standing up on its own:
I had prepared the kitchen table with our craft tablecloth as well as a plastic garbage bag for easier clean-up. We dumped the mixture out on the garbage bag to cool.
It cooled quickly and soon we were all playing with the warm, squishy, sand playdough. It felt really nice.
Eventually, it started to dry and get a bit crumbly so I put out a bowl of water to sprinkle on it. A spray bottle of water turned out to be even better, and more entertaining.
We shaped it and poked it with sharp pencils, toothpicks, even a funnel.
Afterwards we put our creations on plates to dry. Here are the results:
The next day, we unfortunately discovered that my 2 year-old’s hand print and the starfish were breaking apart. The two sand castles however, were fine. I would recommend this project only for larger, 3-D sculptures, but the thinner, flat ones were disappointing. But…in case you were wondering, the pot cleaned up fine!
PS: In reviewing last week’s projects, I saw that Meg had made something similar as part of her sand project, but used sand and glue instead of cornstarch. She used molds to make starfish and they turned out really well! Consider experimenting with molds for extra fun if you try this. Karen B. also made “sand clay” similar to our recipe and added salt to hers to slow spoiling.
Did you join in this week’s Unplugged Project themed hard? If so, then please add a link to your project in Mr. Linky below. If you didn’t join us this week, then feel free to browse the links below and read about how to join in for next week!
Next week’s Unplugged Project theme will be: