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So, I heard the majority of the states experienced a "polar vortex" last week. It's been cold here, but not that cold, I feel for you all! To take our minds off of the chilly temps, we decided to make a desert small world and envision ourselves stretched out on the sand getting tan... Well, maybe that last part only applied to me! We made up a batch of moon sand and set off exploring the great Sahara!

Moon Sand Desert Sensory Bin from Life Lesson PlansWe experimented a little bit with the ingredients to come up with the perfect not-too-crumbly and not-too-sticky combination of sand, cornstarch and water, here's what worked for us, but feel free to adjust the amount of water depending on how sand vs dough like you want your mixture.

Moon Sand Recipe

  • 1 bag of ReptiSand (or 6 cups of any sand, I like that this brand is very fine)
  • 3 cups of cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups of water (add 1/4 cup more for a doughier mixture)

Mix the sand and cornstarch together first, then slowly add in the water, this is a great mixture for the kids to help put together since it is so simple and cook free!

Moon Sand Desert Sensory Bin from Life Lesson PlansNext, we made a cave for our animals to play in out of a bit of cardboard we had on hand, two slits and a piece of tape make a sturdy little structure!

Moon Sand Desert Sensory Bin from Life Lesson PlansNow it was time to fill up the small world with our animals! We love the Safari toobs, and used their desert animal set for this sensory bin. I think a few of the rainforest animals got mixed up in the animal selection process as well, pretty sure the iguana doesn't live in the desert, but let's just go with it. ;)

Moon Sand Desert Sensory Bin from Life Lesson PlansAurora immediately began asking what each of the animals ate and enacting scenes of predator versus prey. The coyote and the desert cat are fighting over the meerkat, but it eventually got away and hid in its underground tunnel (aka she dug a giant hole and then planted a cactus on top!).

Moon Sand Desert Sensory Bin from Life Lesson PlansWe talked about the the ways each of the animals stay cool in the desert, from hiding in the cave or under a log to burying itself in the sand. They were pretty amazed when I told them that the armadillo could roll up in to a ball to stay cool. Gray kept repeating "ball, ball, ball" as if the plastic animal would roll up on command, he's pretty cute. :)

Moon Sand Desert Sensory Bin from Life Lesson PlansThe bird tried to eat the scorpion because she knows that birds like bugs, but I mentioned to her that the scorpion has sharp pincers and a poison tail and the bird would probably get hurt if he tried to eat it. The scorpion quickly became king of the sand box and all of the other animals in its path ran terrified. Here all of the animals have buried themselves underground in the cave to hide from King Scorpion.

There were so many funny kid anecdotes as we played with this bin, it's always exciting for me to see how they interpret the world we live in! The moon sand also turned out really great, it feels similar to cloud dough, but is less messy and will last longer since there is no flour involved. I would definitely recommend making up a batch and pretending temperatures are a bit warmer than they are!

To keep up with more of our day to day adventures, follow me on Facbeook! Since the launch of the new blog, I have also set up new social media accounts, so I'd love for you to stop by and "like" the new page, thanks!

For more sensational sensory ideas, check out my Pinterest board devoted to exploring the senses! Follow Brigette @ Life Lesson Plans's board Kids: Sensory & Small World Bins on Pinterest.


from Life Lesson Plans and The Gossamer Girl

Brigette was born and raised in Nebraska, but ever since her husband joined the Air Force, she has traveled around the world with him and their two young kids. First living in Hawaii, and then in Germany, their family has soaked up all sorts of cultural experiences that she loves to weave in to her writing. She and the kids are now back home and are rediscovering their roots. Recently, Brigette started writing a personal blog called The Gossamer Girl where she shares lifestyle stories about h ...

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