June 1, 2009 in City

Turn sand into crazy clay

Donna Erickson
 
King Features photo

Sand clay can be used to create decorative and memorable frames. King Features
(Full-size photo)

I enjoy taking long walks on the beach. I love the feel of sand under my feet and the way it stretches for miles before me. And then, with kids tagging along with me, I suddenly feel inspired, thinking of the pounds and pounds of sand clay that could be made.

That’s when I know it’s time to go home and have some more fun making this unusual and simple concoction. This zany recipe for making play clay out of sand will provide unforgettable summertime fun. Let your kids be the first on the block to say, “We cook sand!”

Sand clay recipe

Put 1 cup clean sand, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered alum (in the spice section of your market) and 1/2 cup water in an old cooking pot. Stir with hands or a spoon. An adult should then place the pot on the stove, turn heat to medium and continue stirring with a spoon.

As the mixture warms, it will begin to liquefy. Continue to stir for 2-3 minutes until clay thickens. Remove from heat and spoon out onto an old cutting board. Let cool.

Use as you would any regular play clay. Roll it into balls and make snakes, bowls or cars. There are probably as many doable ideas as there are grains of sand between you and your kids’ hands.

Or try these two projects:

Make sand picture frame for Father’s Day gift: Remove glass from a wooden frame with a 1-inch or larger edge. Dip a paintbrush in undiluted household glue and spread it on the frame, one section at a time. Stick a small clump of sand clay on the frame, pressing firmly.

If you have shells from a summer vacation, brush more glue on the frame and add them. Then, brushing more glue on the surrounding area, apply a little more sand clay. Let dry for a day or two. Brush off any loose sand. Place a picture of your kids in the frame behind clean glass for a special Father’s Day gift.

Make an archeological surprise: Form a ball of sand goop (the size of a tennis ball) around a small rubber toy or plastic trinket such as a baby dinosaur. Let dry for a few days until the ball is hard. At a party, tap the ball with a hammer. It will crack open to reveal the surprise

(For best results, store unused sand goop in an airtight container. Use within two days.)

Donna Erickson is the author of several books about family activities and host of a public television series. See more at www.donnasday.com.

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