How to Colour Sand for Sensory Play

Stuck for ideas on how to make your little one’s playtime a more creative, sensory-stimulating experience?

how to colour sand

Check out this super-quick, super-simple recipe for coloured sand – an exciting, fuss-free medium for sensory play and kids’ art activities…

How to colour sand

Ingredients and tools

Grab some play sand, a couple sticks of chalk in an assortment of colours, and a grater.

TIP: One thick stick of outdoor chalk makes good colour for a small pot of sand – so scale your recipe up or down depending on how much sand you want to colour.


Grate the chalk into the sand, give it a good swoosh around to combine the two ingredients, and you’re done.

Hint – Try broadening your palette; perhaps see if blue chalk and yellow chalk really does turn green. Add glitter for a ‘fairy’ sand version or toss in dried herbs (lavender and rosemary are great), or some ground spices to boost the sensory experience – just watch out for taste-testing!

Now for some fun…

Large, shallow baking/tea trays are a good ‘canvas’ for the sand. Get your tots to swirl patterns with their fingers, sticks, forks, etc. or use the sand as an art material for making rainbow-bright paintings. Filling bottles and jars with layers of alternating colours is also fantastic for development of fine motor skills and is a more focused style of activity.

Before you cringe in anticipation of stained little fingers, the colour does not come off on hands – not any more than plain sand covers your hands in play. Simply wash the lil’ paws afterwards.

Take a look at this edible finger paint recipe for more colourful sensory play.

Recipe and image via