Fidget toys are all the rage at the moment, but they can also provide therapeutic value for sufferers of Anxiety and Stress. Kinetic sand, in particular, is effective stress relief for many people and not just those that suffer from mental illness. It’s also something you can make easily at home, for very little cost.
What is Kinetic Sand?
Kinetic sand is basically ordinary sand that is coated in poly(dimethylsiloxane). This simple process turns the sand into a clay-like substance that you can stretch, mold, and squeeze, as a form of stress relief, or just plain old fun.
Poly(dimethylsiloxane) is the substance that silly putty and similar products are made from. Its elasticity makes it extremely pliable. If you’ve ever played with silly putty (and who hasn’t?) you’ll know that it’s the perfect thing for restless hands and kinetic sand is even more so.
Kinetic sand has a variety of benefits for both adults and children, including the following:
- Creates a feeling of calm – Moving your hands through the sand can have the same effect as someone giving you a hug
- Uses your imagination – Creating sand castles and animal figures helps your child to develop their creative skills
- Develops writing and drawing skills – Depending on the age of your child, kinetic sand can work as a canvas for drawing and writing before your child masters a pen or pencil
- Sensory processing – Some children love to touch anything and everything, but others struggle with different textures. Even children who don’t like to touch things can play with kinetic sand as it is very pliable but will not make their hands feel sticky
Kinetic sand can also be used in color therapy for adults. In particular, homemade kinetic sand can be created with several different colors which adds an attractive visual element to a tactile experience.
Where Can I Buy Kinetic Sand?
Kinetic sand can be bought from any toy store but also from children’s education stores. It comes in several different colors and you can also buy a glittery version for the unicorn in the family. It doesn’t stick to surfaces or clothing so it’s easy to clean up after use.
The cost of kinetic sand can vary, depending on where you buy it, and how much you buy. However, buying kinetic sand is not your only option as homemade kinetic sand works just as well.
How to Make Kinetic Sand
A quick search on the internet will produce several recipes for making kinetic sand and there really is nothing to it. Here’s what you need to do:
- Collect and then bake your sand in a large baking pan. Leave the oven door open slightly and bake for 30 minutes at 120°F
- Leave to cool for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, to stop it hardening
- With a ratio of 1 tablespoon powdered corn starch to 1 cup of sand, stir together and let sit
- With a ratio of 1 teaspoon of dish soap to 1 cup of water, mix with food coloring of your choice
- Stir your powdered corn starch and sand while slowly pouring in your water and dish soap and mix until all the sand is damp
- Knead the sand until it no longer sticks to your hands
How Is Kinetic Sand Different from Any Other Fidget Toy?
There are many other fidget toys on the market but some can be expensive, messy, or inappropriate for some age groups. Here’s a small list of what you can find with a quick google search:
- Fidget Spinner – These are probably the most well-known and are now being produced by several different companies
- Sensory Fidget Texture Pens – Great for kids, these are colorful, pliable and even work as pens
- The Roller Chain – These are appropriate for adults and can be hidden under tables and desks while being used, so aren’t as conspicuous as other fidget toys can be
- The Infinity Ball – A series of intertwined loops that can be particularly helpful in keeping the fingers occupied
While the above fidget toys all have their advantages, kinetic sand stands out as a substance that may produce the most benefits, simply because what you can do with it is only limited by your imagination.
Regardless of whether you decide to buy your kinetic sand or make it yourself, there’s no doubt this is a valuable tool for children and their development. Adults, too, can benefit, particularly those suffering from disorders such as Anxiety or Depression.