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  • Emily

Colorful Sand Paintings

We are squeezing out the last delicious drops of summer with a trip to the beach! We needed a few indoor activities to break up our in the sun time, so I made a quick trip to Walmart for a few easy and beach friendly craft supplies. Here’s one simple and colorful craft my toddler loved (and can double for additional crafts which I will write more on soon.)


What You’ll Need:

  • Paper

  • Food coloring

  • Ziplock bags

  • Paper

  • School glue


First thing's first, head down to the beach with your shovel and bags and collect some (dry) sand. I knew we wanted to make a rainbow of colors so we took down seven bags.

Trial and Error Tip: We had probably around 3 cups of sand per bag which turned out to require more food coloring than we had. Luckily I quickly realized this was going to be the case and adjusted us down to about 1.5 cups per bag which required all our food coloring to color. So plan accordingly based on how much food coloring you have.

Once you have your sand, add your food coloring. The local store only had gel food coloring, so that's what we used. Be generous as you need quite a bit to get you sand colored (see that blob?) but if you plan to combine colors to make a rainbow, be sure to hold back a bit of each color.

Zip your bag, minimizing how much air is inside and kneed, shake, mash, and otherwise mix in that food coloring as evenly as possible. Repeat for all colors. If your sand seems a little wet, I recommend spreading it out on a baking sheet or leaving the bags open in a non-humid spot to help it dry out.

While your sand dries, it's time to get some pictures. This craft works best with a heavier weight paper, but printer paper could work in a pinch. Since we are in a vacation house I didn't have access to a printer so I hand drew some beach themed pictures, but printing them on your craft paper would likely be the quickest and easiest route, or if you have older kids who enjoy drawing their own pictures, they can have at! Trial and Error Tip: Save the more complex pictures for older children. There is a way to do a more elaborate sand painting, which I will describe in a minute, but it isn't toddler/young child friendly and might cause frustration.

Once you have your pictures drawn, use your glue to trace over your lines. Here is where you can choose how intricate you wish to get. Just using the glue bottle to draw is the easiest, but means you need simple pictures and shouldn't expect much in the way of "fine detail." If you are going for a true masterpiece, you could use a paint brush to apply the glue. I tired (on the beach ball) to "color in" the picture, but found that creates a really heavy picture and doesn't look as nice as simply outlining things.

Sprinkle your sand over the glue. Again, the more complex the picture, the more precise you will have to be, so for little hands keep it simple or embrace the rainbow look. (The rainbow ice cream picture turned out to be my favorite!)

The "under the sea" picture I drew turned out to be too tricky for my toddler, so we opted to simply make a squiggle picture instead, where he just took over the glue bottle and squirted glue all over then dumped handfuls of colorful sand on top. Totally fun and an easy way to let the younger kiddos have full participation.

Ok, the beach is calling! Time to get some sone while your pictures dry!

With beach humidity you will want to allow plenty of time for the glue to dry. When it's ready, dump and shake off the excess sand and watch your masterpieces reveal themselves! Enjoy your vacation!

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