How to play and learn with Kinetic Sand

Kinetic sand is one of our daughters’ toys that appeals to the adults as much as it does her.  There is something about the feeling of sand oozing through your fingers without getting them dirty that is truly delightful. It invokes its own form of curiosity.

Our Favorite activity is to hide something tiny in a ball of the kinetic sand. Like this:

For reference, that is a lego coin.

And then have our daughter dig through the sand until she finds the coin. 

It is a mini-game of hide and seek, which she adores.  

 Here is why:

Tactile: First and foremost, the easiest way to find the object is by touch. Using the fingers to sense the difference between the object and kinetic sand helps develop the sense of touch and how to discern between different objects by touch alone. There is an added benefit of focus here too. The child must hone in on the feelings in her fingers and tune out any external distractions.

Stereognostic: Speaking of discerning between objects by touch alone, sometimes we take this game up a notch by putting a blindfold on our daughter and having her find the object without her eyes. It is the same process as without the blindfold, but the omission of sight creates a different sensation that helps her develop the confidence in what she is feeling and not needing her eyes to verify what she is feeling. This exercise takes the focus benefit to the next level.

Visual: Aside from the physical feelings created by the kinetic sand, there is great visual interest by observing how the kinetic sand acts based upon how you are interacting with it. If you are gentle, the sand will seem to melt through your fingers and produces a nice feeling, but if you are rough with it, it will seem hard and unforgiving. There may be a deeper principle that can be learned from this interaction.

Meditation: Lastly, the kinetic sand has an almost meditative quality that is as good for adults as much as it is for children. The sensations it creates are a distraction from whatever is troubling you or your child at the moment and can redirect attention to the basics. It is by no means a substitute for love and affection but definitely can have its place.

Oh yeah, and it is tons of fun to put in molds: