Most sunny days, I take Evie down to the beach for a run around. It’s such a big open space, she can play & explore safely without me having to chase her. But it was a really miserable today so the beach wasn’t a good choice.

After reading a great post by Mum, M & More on how to make ‘cloud dough’ (which looks a lot like sand) I decided to try making a ‘BEACH IN A BOX‘ sensory activity for Evie.

Homemade sand is actually really easy to make. I mixed together 8 cups of flour with 2 cups of baby oil. If your little one still puts everything in its mouth I’d recommend using vegetable oil instead to make it edible.

This mixture turns into a sand like texture instantly. What’s great about it is that it can mould together easily to make little sandcastles (like wet sand), yet it is really soft to touch. It also smells really lovely. Evie was a bit unsure at first (she’s used to real sand so looked very confused!), but soon she really enjoyed playing with it.

This activity lasted for over 45 minutes & could have gone on for longer if she wasn’t due some food. We had so much fun squishing it, sifting it through our fingers & making handprints in the box, with our own hands & the mould that we had.

If you are ever lost for something to do with your toddler, the is a great sensory activity & if you have everything already, it only takes a few minutes to pull together. You will need:

A box or tub
Oil (either vegetable or baby oil)
Any toys to go in the box
A sheet or some newspaper
Old clothes

This can be quite messy so I would recommend wearing old clothes & putting something down on the floor. I forgot to get changed myself & ended up having a very floury cuddle with Evie.

Have you tried sensory or messy play with your toddler? Let me know what you’ve tried!

This post is linked with…

what katy said Mami 2 Five#ToddlerApprovedTuesday


  1. May 20, 2015 / 1:36 pm

    This is a brilliant idea! I thought it was actual sand at first, I am totally going to give this a go for my boys x

    • Chloe
      May 20, 2015 / 9:43 pm

      Thank you! It was so much fun. It's so easy to do as well. It really does look like real sand in real life too. 🙂 x

  2. Kim Palmer
    May 20, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    Fantastic idea this is, will have to try this with my nephews

    • Chloe
      May 20, 2015 / 9:43 pm

      I'm sure they'll absolutely love it! Don't forget to put a sheet down or do it in the garden though, it could get very messy with two boys! 😀 x

  3. Stephanie Myers
    May 20, 2015 / 3:02 pm

    Such a lovely idea, we did something very similar but we used oats instead. Emily loved it. Looks like you guys had lots of fun too!
    Steph |

    • Chloe
      May 20, 2015 / 9:44 pm

      I haven't thought about using oats before! That's a great idea for sensory play. I love exploring with new textures & tastes. It's fun to play with things other than toys sometimes. x

  4. Everything Mummy
    May 21, 2015 / 10:48 am

    I love love love this idea even my 2 preschoolers would enjoy this, get idea ad thank you for linking up to #kidscorner x

    • Chloe
      May 21, 2015 / 7:19 pm

      Thank you for hosting. It is great! I enjoyed it way more than Evie haha. It does get a bit messy though so I'd recommend a sheet or doing it in the garden. x

  5. Therese Gilbert
    May 21, 2015 / 4:14 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! This is stuff I have right here! Now I just need to get a box for it! haha 😀

    • Chloe
      May 21, 2015 / 7:20 pm

      It's brilliant isn't it! So easy to do. I just emptied stuff out of a box I already had. It's easy to wash out after 😀 xx

  6. May 24, 2015 / 6:32 am

    I have a phobia of sand! This sounds like a great replacement! #sundaystars

    • Chloe
      May 24, 2015 / 6:33 pm

      Oh wow! That must be such a frustrating phobia. This really doesn't feel like sand even though it looks a bit like it. It is so soft & if you use baby oil it smells DELICIOUS! 🙂 xx

  7. May 24, 2015 / 9:03 am

    I love this idea. We live too far from the seaside but my kids keep asking to go. I can use this idea to bring the beach to them. Thanks for the idea

    • Chloe
      May 24, 2015 / 6:33 pm

      That's ok. I hope you have fun with it! 😀 It is so realistic, but actually a lot softer than normal sand. It's also quite easy to mould into sandcastles which is great. xx

    May 24, 2015 / 12:36 pm

    Looks like lots of fun! We made cloud dough into "snow dough" for Frozen themed sensory play at Christmas but haven't done anything since. My 3 year old has an actual sandbox in the garden (nothing fancy just an IKEA plastic box like yours with play sand in!) but my 1 year old tried to eat it so not good for her.

    • Chloe
      May 24, 2015 / 6:35 pm

      This is great for babies & was so much fun. If you use veg oil instead of baby oil, it's slightly more edible (obviously don't let them eat it by the spoon load)for little ones, a little bit tasted won't hurt. 🙂 That's a great idea to do more themes with this! Like frozen etc. 😀 xx

  9. Katy F
    May 24, 2015 / 6:33 pm

    I have made cloud dough before but what a fab idea to use veg oil instead! I am definitely going to use this idea as L is always putting sand in her mouth!! Thanks for sharing in #KidsCorner x

    • Chloe
      May 25, 2015 / 3:57 pm

      thank you for hosting! It tastes foul even though it's edible, so hopefully might stop her putting it in her mouth! 🙂 x

  10. Caroline Robinson
    May 24, 2015 / 9:31 pm

    Great idea, might have to give it a try next week. x

    • Chloe
      May 25, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      Perfect for a rainy day! 🙂 x

  11. Faye
    May 25, 2015 / 10:25 am

    Oooooo I love a bit of sensory play! Great idea for homemade, baby safe play! x

    • Chloe
      May 25, 2015 / 3:58 pm

      Thank you! It's so easy to do as well. x

  12. May 26, 2015 / 6:52 pm

    What a FANTASTIC idea! We have only taken little miss to the beach once and she loved it… and did try to eat it a little bit!!

    • May 29, 2015 / 8:09 am

      It’s great if you make the edible one. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend eating it by the spoon load, but it doesn’t matter if they get a bit in their mouths. It was really soft as well, I’m definitely doing this again 🙂 x

    • May 29, 2015 / 8:10 am

      Oh wow thank you for the link! i’ve been looking for new ideas. That looks brilliant. 🙂 Thank you x

  13. June 2, 2015 / 5:43 pm

    Oh wow what a fab idea, I have some baby oil samples that I must use and try this!! #toddlerapprovedtuesday

  14. June 2, 2015 / 6:08 pm

    What a bloody great idea!!! I actually love it. We don’t have a beach near us anymore.

    • June 2, 2015 / 7:11 pm

      Awww thank you so much! It’s so quick & easy to do as well. 😀 x

  15. June 2, 2015 / 9:51 pm

    Genius! Definitely want to give this a go – what a brilliant way to spend a rainy day

    • June 7, 2015 / 2:47 pm

      It is SO quick & easy to do as well. Well worth it. x

  16. June 5, 2015 / 9:46 pm

    this is a good idea, we have a tuff spot and I’ve been meaning but not yet got any, so I might have a go at making this

    • June 6, 2015 / 10:35 pm

      It’s definitely worth trying. It makes sand so quickly too! x

  17. June 8, 2015 / 11:10 am

    We love cloud dough ours is over 2 years old and still just as fresh!
    Thanks for linking to #toddlerapprovedtuesday sorry my comment is so late this week! x

    • June 9, 2015 / 4:50 pm

      Oh don’t worry! 🙂 Wow, I didn’t realise that it lasted for that long. I wish I hadn’t of chucked ours out now 😮 xx

  18. June 8, 2015 / 8:08 pm

    I’m sure cloud dough lasts forever when using baby oil – though sometimes kiddos like to bring new things to the sensory bin. 😉 This looks fab, we love cloud dough over in the Lukeosaurus Household, it’s great for outside play in warmer weather too! Ray xx #toddlerapprovedtuesday

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