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Making sand clay at home easy and fun!

Date: 7/19/2010

By Donna Erickson

I enjoy taking long walks on the beach. I love the feel of sand under my feet and the way it stretches for miles before me. And then, with kids tagging along with me, I suddenly feel inspired, thinking of the pounds and pounds of sand clay that could be made!

That's when I know it's time to go home and have some more fun making this unusual and simple concoction.

This zany recipe for making play clay out of sand will provide unforgettable summertime fun. Let your kids be the first on the block to say, "We cook sand!"


Put 1-cup clean sand, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered alum (in the spice section of your market) and 1/2 cup water in an old cooking pot. Stir with hands or a spoon. An adult should then place the pot on the stove, turn heat to medium and continue stirring with a spoon.

As it becomes warm, it will begin to liquefy. Continue to stir for two to three minutes until clay thickens. Remove from heat and spoon mixture out onto an old cutting board. Let cool.

Enjoy playing with the clay as you would any regular play clay. Roll it into balls and make snakes, bowls or cars. There are probably as many doable ideas as there are grains of sand between you and your kids' hands.

Or try these two projects:

To make a sand picture frame, remove glass from a wooden frame with a one inch or larger edge.

Dip a paintbrush in undiluted household glue and spread it on the frame, one section at a time. Stick a small clump of sand clay on the frame, pressing firmly.

If you have shells from a summer vacation, brush more glue on the frame and add them. Then, brushing more glue on the surrounding area, apply a little more sand clay.

Let dry for a day or two. Brush off any loose sand. Place a picture of your kids in the frame behind clean glass.

To make an archeological surprise, form a ball of sand goop (the size of a tennis ball) around a small rubber toy or whimsical plastic trinket such as a baby dinosaur.

Let dry for a few days until the ball is hard.

At a party, tap the ball with a hammer. It will crack open to reveal the surprise.

Note: For best results, store unused sand goop in an airtight container. Use within two days.


Donna Erickson's award-winning series "Donna's Day" is airing on public television nationwide.

To find more of her creative family recipes and activities, visit her Web site at and link to the new Donna's Day Facebook fan page.

Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."