Fun With Sand

Activites for Nannies and Au Pairs to do with Children at the Beach

Most children are content to play in the sand at the beach. All they need is a shovel, bucket, and their imagination to make tunnels and castles in the sand.

Here are some more activities to do with sand with children:
Swinging Sand Art:
Make a hole in the bottom of a paper cup. Make another three holes around the rim. Suspend the cup by a string by threading the string through the holes and tying it to a branch. Spread brown paper below. Fill the cup with sand and gently push the cup so it swings in small circles and arcs. The sand will pour out and make patterns on the paper below. Reuse the sand to continue the activity.

Sand Touching:
Have the children dig their hands under the sand. When they are totally covered, suggest that they try to touch their fingers. Also ask them to shake their hands. If the sand is damp, tunnels can be excavated from each end until the fingers meet.
Collect Sand:
Collect sand from different beaches. The color of sand is different from beach to beach. Much sand in the United States is greyish in color, but you can find white coral sands in Florida. Hawaii has blackish green sands due to volcanic rock particles. Label plastic bags or plasitc containers where and when you collect the sand. Later use the list below to help determine what particles the sand has in it and then have kids try to guess where the sand is from.
Black sand has lava and iron particles in it.
Grey sand has granit and feldspar.
Light brown sand contains granite and quartz.
Yellow sand is made of quartz.
Gold sand has mica in it.
Red sand has particles of garnet in it.
Pink sand contains feldspar.
White has coral, seashells, and quartz in it.

Make a Sand Bottle:
Allow children to fill a bottle with the layers of different sand you collected at different beaches. Even if you only have two types of sand the children can they can alternate layers to make stipes and patterns. They can even include small pebbles they found on the beach. Fill the bottle tightly to the top and tightly cork or screw a cap on the bottle to keep the sand from mixing.

Sand Castings:
You will need plater of Paris and collect seashells and other treasures along the beach. Make a shallow hold in the sand and line it with shells, sea glass, and pebbles collected at the beach. Pour in plater and let it harden. Dig it up when it has set, allowing it to dry several more hours before cleaning off the sand. Footprints in the sand make ideal holes to use to make the castings.
Sand Paintings:
The most famous sand painters in the United States aer the Navajo Indians. The children can make their own permanent sand paintings using different colored saqnds. On heavy cardboard, allow children to paint with slightly watered-down while glue. While the glue is still wet, have the children sprinkly sand over the painted area, tapping away excess after the glue has some time to set.
1. The Kids’ Nature Book by Susan Milord published by Gareth Stevens Publishing.
2. 363 Days of Creative Play by Sheila Ellison and Judith Gray published by Sourcebooks, Inc.
Share with us what you like to do with sand or on the beach with children.


  1. Great Ideas!Thanks so much for always posting great tips, topics and advice.I learn/ have learned so much from your blog and newsletter!Thank you for helping to make me-The best nanny!

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