2 Ingredient “Sandy” Sensory Bin

by wherelearnu

Bring the beach to you with this super simple activity — all you need is flour and oil!

What you need:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 1 cup oil – Vegetable, Canola, or Baby oil work well
  • Ocean objects of your choosing! – try pasta shells, plastic fish and sea creatures, or textured rocks
  • Plastic bin or cardboard box
  • (Optional) Old toothbrush



  1. To create the sand, combine 6 cups of flour and 1 cup of oil in a bowl. Use a fork to mix and press the oil into the flour until you get a sandy texture. You can prep this step ahead of time, or include it as part of the activity with your child.
  2. Transfer the sand into the bin or box.
  3. Bury objects into the sand and play! Explore how each object looks and feels as you uncover them.

NOTE: This activity is best played outside or on a surface that is easy to clean.

Tips for playing:

2-3 year olds

  • Hide 10 different ocean objects in the sand. Encourage your child to describe each object that they find. For a challenge, help them group the items into categories (by color, type of animal, etc.).

  • Make it a beach day—put on bathing suits, spread out a towel or blanket, and have a real (or pretend) picnic.

  • Allow your child time to play with the sand and objects in any way they want. This is a great time to explore with their senses!

4 and up

  • Play archeologists! Have your child use a toothbrush to uncover objects and brush off the sand, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Looking to get the most out of this activity? This is a great way to extend playtime.

  • Invite your child to help with the sand mixing step. They can follow along with the recipe, choosing the bin and the objects to place in the sand, too.

  • Try racing for treasure! Hide 10 items and time how long it takes your child to find them all.  Then, have a sibling, friend, or grown-up take a turn. Who uncovered treasures the fastest?

Skills Spotlight:

Tactile awareness, counting & sorting, following instructions


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