Easy Ocean Sand Art for Kids

Have you ever collected sand from the beach and wished you had something to do with it? It’s one of those things where you want to keep the memories, but realistically the bowl of sand will just get put aside somewhere. Well I have a solution: make easy ocean sand art with your kids!

We currently have almost 200 lbs of sand for a sandbox we changed our minds on lol, so you can expect this to be one of MANY sand crafts coming to ya in the near future. We actually tried making kinetic sand first, but that was a fail haha. Check out the post where I share the picture of it in our new Kids Crafts For Real fb group!

I had all this sand, no way to make it into our beloved kinetic sand, and two kids who were really looking forward to playing with it *tiny violin starts playing*. So instead I decided to come up with some fun and easy ocean themed sand art for the kids to make! And it actually turned out super cool– we will definitely be doing this more often.

Easy Ocean Sand Art for kids: a summer themed sensory activity! | thegrowingcreatives.com

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If you also have 200 lbs of sand lying around (solidarity, sista), or just want a little beach themed picture to lift you up on those dreary days, this craft is perfect! You can personalize it to make any picture you want, but we chose to make an ocean themed sand picture of some little sea friends. It turned out pretty cute!

What you’ll need:

– Sand

– A canvas; you can really use anything, but the glue and weight of the sand warps regular paper. So I suggest using something sturdier like a thin canvas

– Food coloring

– Liquid glue

– Paintbrush

1. Draw your picture

If you want your kids to follow a specific picture, I recommend drawing it on the canvas lightly ahead of time. It will be too hard to draw an imagine freehand with just the glue. I was even following lines I drew and I still missed some spots, haha! 

2. Color the sand

Now that you have your picture drawn, you know what colors you need for it. Dying the sand couldn’t be any easier. Our sand had already been dried in the oven, so I simply put a few drops of food coloring into each cup, a splash of water, and mixed it all in. 

If your sand is still wet, then the food coloring alone will be able to spread without adding any more water to it. We had probably around 1 cup of each color of sand, and that turned out to be way too much. So sticking to 1/4-1/2 cup for each color should be sufficient.

3. Paint the glue on

Pour some glue onto a paper plate, and paint it on with a small paintbrush. Make sure to cover any lines drawn on so that those aren’t seen through once the sand is added. I had to re-glue a few spots that had the lines showing through since I didn’t cover it well enough!

Cover the areas with glue color by color. If you put glue over multiple areas and just try to place different colored sands next to each other, the different shapes won’t be as clear. Glue one small area that is all one color, continue on to step 4, and repeat.

4. Pour sand on and shake it off

Now comes the fun part for the kiddos. Let them pour on whichever color sand is needed. You can give them a smaller amount of sand separately, like I did for J, or just let them slowly pour from the whole cup. 

My kids also liked to take small handfuls and drop them on. No matter how they do it, this is a great sensory activity for them! Although I do suggest either doing this outside or on something, like we did.

Once the sand is covering the glued area, have them pat it down really well so that as much sand as possible can stick to the glue. Then they can stand the canvas up on its side and gently shake the excess sand onto a plate to be put back into its cup.

5. Aaaaaaaand repeat!

As I mentioned before, do this one color at a time. And if one color is taking up a large area (like the blue was for us here) then do it in small increments. That way the glue doesn’t start to dry out on you before the kids get a chance to start dropping sand on it. 

Easy Ocean Sand Art for kids: a summer themed sensory activity! | thegrowingcreatives.com

It turned out so cute, and I couldn’t believe how well the sand sticks once its dry! I expected a bit of sand to come off every time it was moved or touched, but it doesn’t! Whatever is left after shaking off the excess is really stuck. So you don’t have to worry about little grains of sand wherever you choose to display it!

After we finished our ocean picture, I let each kiddo have a sheet of paper for THEM to paint on. This was a lot of fun for them, and even though the pictures are more *abstract*, I still think they turned out really cool! I wish we had more canvases for them to do more, since the paper doesn’t hold up as well.

Easy Ocean Sand Art for kids: a summer themed sensory activity! | thegrowingcreatives.com

This ocean sand art for kids couldn’t be any easier, and is so, so fun! My little ones really enjoyed making it, and love having this cool new art to look at. 

Playing in the sand after we were done was an extra bonus, but I definitely will keep that outside for future sand crafts haha! My kids seemed to have an uncontrollable urge to throw the sand around. Not too far, but just enough for it to get out of the safe zone and start to *spread*. Fun times for me and my vacuum!

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Easy Ocean Sand Art for kids: a summer themed sensory activity! | thegrowingcreatives.com

19 thoughts on “Easy Ocean Sand Art for Kids

  1. Great idea for a craft. Little hands working with sand, building their dexterity and getting a textile experience. 3D art is something kids don’t get to experience often, good exposure for them.

  2. This is so cute! My daughter is three so I think drawing the picture is too complicated for her, but dyeing the sand, painting the canvas with glue and pouring sand will be perfect. Thanks for the awesome idea!

    1. Yes for sure! My kiddos are 2 and 4 so I drew the picture for them as well. But they loved pouring the sand on to see it come to life!

  3. This is such a great sensory activity for kids of a variety of ages. Older and younger kids from Toddlers to Kindergarten aged can benefit from this fun activity!

  4. Can you use any kind of sand? My husband got a ton of sand at Home Depot and now I’m trying to figure out what to do with it!

    1. Yes! That’s actually how we ended up doing a handful of sand crafts as well, we had a bunch of sand from Home Depot that we didn’t have a use for. Should work perfect for this!

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