Magic Sand or Hydrophobic Sand Sensory Play

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Never thought I would ever say this, but… welcome to the enchanting world of hydrophobic sand, where science meets sensory play in the most fascinating way! Here we’ll explore hydrophobic sand sensory play and the magic and educational benefits they bring to your child’s playtime. From water-repelling properties to endless creative possibilities, hydrophobic sand is a sensory material that will captivate young minds and keep them engaged for hours. So, get ready to introduce your little ones to a thrilling sensory experience that combines fun, science, and imagination!


A World of Water-Repelling Wonder for Kids!

Hydrophobic sand, also known as magic sand or hydrophobic silica sand, is a unique sensory material with extraordinary water-repelling properties. Made from ordinary sand coated with a special hydrophobic compound, this sand miraculously repels water, creating a mesmerizing and educational experience for kids. Unlike regular sand that becomes soggy when exposed to water, hydrophobic sand stays dry and clumps together, allowing children to mold and shape it with ease. This incredible characteristic sparks curiosity and opens up endless opportunities for exploration.

There are many DIY hydrophobic sand recipes available out there that you can make. I decided not to make our own because they involve handling chemicals and materials that I am not comfortable my children handling. The hydrophobic sand we use is 100% non-toxic. Make what ever brand you decided to use is safe for kids to play with.

Get Hydrophobic Sand

The brand of magic sand or hydrophobic sand I use is linked here.

Mesmerizing Hydrophobic Sand Sensory Bin

Hydrophobic sand sensory bins offer a sensory-rich playtime that engages multiple senses, fostering cognitive development and imaginative play. As children run their fingers through the sand, they experience the unique texture and notice how it forms intriguing shapes. The water-repelling property adds an element of surprise, as they witness the sand’s resistance to water, giving them a sense of wonder about the world of science. Sensory bins with hydrophobic sand can be enhanced further by incorporating various tools, such as scoops, cups, and molds, enabling kids to create intricate designs and structures.

Magic Sand Sensory Play Ideas

There are so many ways you can use hydrophobic sand in sensory play. We did a simple sensory tray with about an inch of water and a spoonful of each colour of the magic sand. I didn’t want to mix all of my sand so I only used a spoonful of each colour. My kids enjoyed mixing the colouring and exploring the textures with their fingers.

For the next sensory play idea. I poured all of each colour into separate bowls and added some under the sea creatures, shells and artificial plants in a similar colour for a fun mini under sea sensory activity.

For our final sensory play idea, I pulled out the tray and again and filled it with about an inch of water. I added back the multicolored magic sand from before and included some mermaid toys and under the sea creatures and plant life for a fun magic sand under the sea tray!

Hydrophobic sand sensory bins open up a world of exploration, imagination, and scientific wonder for kids. The captivating water-repelling properties of this magic sand make sensory play even more exciting and educational. From molding and shaping to observing its resistance to water, children will be enthralled by the possibilities that hydrophobic sand offers. So, gather your sensory tools, set up your hydrophobic sand bin, and watch as your little ones embark on a sensory adventure that nurtures their creativity, curiosity, and love for science!

Science Behind Magic Sand

Hydrophobic sand is like magic sand because it doesn’t like water, just like how some toys don’t like to get wet! Regular sand soaks up water and gets all soggy, but hydrophobic sand is special because it has a special coating that makes it waterproof. Imagine wearing a raincoat that keeps you dry when it rains – that’s what the coating does for the sand! So, when you pour water on hydrophobic sand, it stays dry and clumps together, and you can still play with it without making a mess. It’s like having a secret superpower for sand, and that’s what makes it so cool and exciting to play with!

The secret lies in its unique surface chemistry. Hydrophobic sand is coated with a hydrophobic substance, typically a silicone-based compound. This coating alters the sand’s surface characteristics, making it highly water-repellent. When water comes into contact with the hydrophobic sand, it forms droplets that roll off the surface rather than being absorbed. This is because the hydrophobic coating creates a barrier that prevents water molecules from penetrating the sand’s porous structure. As a result, hydrophobic sand remains dry even when submerged in water, allowing for extraordinary sculpting and molding possibilities.

Clean Up

To remove the sand from the water use a coffee filter. Place the coffee filter inside a glass and pour the water with the magic sand through the filter. The water will flow through and the sand with remain. The magic sand will then easily slide into a small ziplock back for storage. I stored each colour in separate ziplock bag for play later!

Age Suitability

This activity is good for toddlers aged children 3 years old and up with adult assistance.

Mess Level

The mess level for this activity is medium.

Difficulty to Create 


Skills Developed

Language development, shape recognition, color recognition, hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills, imaginative play, creativity.

Toddler and Preschooler Curriculums, Books & TV Show!

Play2Learn Toddler & Preschool Programs for Curious Toddlers

There is no limit to your toddler’s energy and curiosity. That energy and curiosity although a joy can be challenging at times. Their interest in just about everything around them is what makes them great learners. One and two year olds can soak up so much just from their senses!

But as a teacher or parent that thirst for learning can be exhausting. That is why I created this toddler and preschooler program. To help you get the most out of this time with your curious toddler without having to come up with creative ways to play and interact with them.

Play2Learn for Toddlers includes 20 Units for toddlers. Each 2-week toddler unit has 20 super easy to set up and engaging activities for toddlers 18 months to 3 years.

Play2Learn Preschool which includes 20 Units for preschoolers. Each 2-week preschoolers unit has 20 unique and easy to set up and engaging activities for preschoolers 3 years to 5 years. That’s over 800 learning activities for your toddler and preschooler at your fingertips! So many ideas you and your child will never be bored again! 

These toddler and preschool lesson plans and activities will definitely keep you and your toddler and preschooler busy playing and learning!

Click here for more information: Play2Learn

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Book: Exciting Sensory Bins for Curious Kids

Did you know I wrote a book of sensory bins? Click here for more information Exciting Sensory Bin for Curious Kids. Or grab your copy at Amazon

Boring afternoons are made exciting with awesome animal-based bins, like Salty Shark Bay or Yarn Farm. Pretend play bins like Birthday Cake Sensory Play or Bubble Tea Party encourage creativity and imagination. And your kids will have so much fun they won’t even know they’re getting smarter with STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) activities like Sink or Float Soup, Magnetic Letter Hunt or Ice Cream Scoop and Count.

Designed for toddlers 18 months and up.

Book: Super STEAM Activity Book for Kids

Learning all about science, technology, engineering, art, and math sets kids up for scholastic success―and it can be so much fun! Watch kids enjoy building STEAM skills as they color friendly fish, help water find its way to tree roots, solve math problems with mazes, and more. 

Find out more and grab your copy here.

Designed for preschoolers 3 years old and up.

Book: Big Book of Riddles for Kids

Riddle me this: What’s an exciting way to practice critical thinking while having a blast? The Big Riddle Book for Kids, of course! From hilarious puns to tough brain teasers, kids can build problem-solving skills with hundreds of riddles tha. t show them how to think outside the box.

  • 350 riddles for kids—Have hours of fun with riddles, puns and jokes, and math and logic puzzles that’ll get their wheels turning!
  • Level up their skills—Riddles get trickier as kids progress through the book, challenging them as they get better at solving puzzles!
  • Double-check their work—Kids can check their answers in the back of the book with a handy answer key.

Help children expand their minds while having fun with this puzzle book for kids!

Designed for kids ages 6 years old and up.

TV Show: Curious Crafting

I’m so excited to share my crafting TV show Curious Crafting which launched in July 2022 on TVOkids and TVOkids YouTube! Season 2 airs in the summer of 2023! We were also nominated in 2023 for Best Live Action Preschool Series by the Youth Media Alliance Awards of Excellence.

Set in the ultimate crafting space, Curious Crafting is a short form pre-school age series about the joy of making crafts. I lead a rotating cast of adorable little preschoolers (including my own) making magic out of common household objects.

In each episode we transform recycled items into magical crafts like a milk carton school bus, paper bag puppet or cotton pad turtle. The crafters learn and laugh their way through each activity while demonstrating what their young imaginations can create. 

Curious Crafting shares the adventure and joy of making art with takeaway lessons for creating crafts at home.

This show designed for toddlers and preschoolers 2.5 years old and up. 


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