This sand art project has been one of my all time favourite activities to do with the kids. So simple, so colourful and it proved to be a great avenue for the children to explore and develop their own creativity.
What really hit me was the excitement and confidence in their own artistic abilities that it brought out in the children. To me that is priceless! Our sand art afternoon will be one we all remember for many years to come I’m sure.
Diwali For Kids – Rangoli Inspired Sand Art
We didn’t know much about Diwali other than that it was around this time of year. So the smalls and I sat round the computer and started doing a bit of online researching.
The children enjoyed finding out a little about another culture and were fascinated to discover that as part of Diwali, Hindus create colourful Rangoli patterns on the floor by the front door to encourage the goddess Lakshmi to come into their homes.
I loved seeing how the children were really drawn in by all the amazing Rangoli designs for Diwali that we saw. If you haven’t already done a Google images search then I’d definitely recommend it, they are beautiful!
Creating Our Own Rangoli Designs
We saw lots of online printables for Rangoli patterns to print and colour but I wanted more than just a colouring-in exercise! I wanted the children to be able to create their own designs inspired by what they’d seen online. I didn’t mind that they might not be ‘traditional’; the process and idea of getting them involved in transitory art was far more important to me.
I’m trying to give the children more opportunities for transitory and spontaneous art. I love the idea that creativity and self expression can have a place wherever we are without the need for lots of ‘art and craft products’. Whether we create shadow shapes when out on our Spring walks, sketch sand pictures at the beach in the Summer, make patterns with leaves in the Autumn or draw in the mud with a stick in the Winter. Easy, instant, available all year round and transitory!
I find the idea of our creations being absorbed back into nature very therapeutic somehow. I do admit to not quite being able to let them go completely though and I do take lots of photographs of the children’s creations as keep sakes!
Sand Art Supplies
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We kept things very simple and used:
I can’t praise the good old Tuff Spot enough, really! I think people often think of them primarily for pre-school sensory play but I think they’re great for all sorts of art activities for all ages too. It’s been one of my best buys ever. I’m struggling to find one for our US readers I’m afraid, the closest I can come is this rubber container. It’s smaller that ours but should work as well.
- I also made some little cones of paper for scooping and pouring the sand too but my youngest preferred using these plastic test tubes UK / US.
- Oh and you’ll need a vacuum cleaner for when they’ve finished! It was a bit messy but by heavens it was worth it!
Getting Stuck Into Our Sand Art Project
I got everything out ready and let the children lead the way. We’ve only got one Tuff Spot so the children decided it was little Crumb’s turn with it today and Biscuit would use large sheets of black paper.
It was really interesting to see how differently the children approached their sand art. To me this highlights the worry I often have about art lessons in schools. How often do we go into schools and see thirty of the same picture on display? Don’t get me wrong, I see a value in teaching children different techniques and skills but think when it comes to a finished piece of art, the value lies in children being able to develop and express their own ideas in their own way. And this is why I loved this sand art session so much, because it did just that!
Big Sand Art!
Crumb had a vision from the start to fill the whole Tuff Spot and he worked at this for well over an hour, completely absorbed!
He even felt inspired to have a little dance and sprinkle his sand on from a height at one point! Now you can’t do that at a sit at a desk art lesson can you?
He persevered until his whole tray was full, right to the very edges! I think it looks stunning. He loved that he’d created something so beautiful and so BIG!
Small and Detailed Sand Art
Blowing Sand and Using Tools
Biscuit also enjoyed experimenting with blowing sand and using both ends of a brush to mark out patterns.
Above you can see how first he poured some coloured sand into a little pile, then he blew it and then he drew into it. Below is his final piece and he called it ‘OBLIVION”!
Collaborative Sand Art – Blowing
The children decided to have a go at working on some sand art together too. Here they are blowing through straws. They made different piles of coloured sand first and then blew them. They learnt the hard way not to both blow at the same time!
We did this on paper on the floor and the sand did end up going everywhere but I really didn’t mind as it was on a hard floor and quickly vacuumed up afterwards. Be warned though I wouldn’t do this on a carpet or you’ll be getting the sand out for weeks to come!
Collaborative Sand Art – Spinning
My favourite moment of the whole sand art session was when Biscuit wondered what would happen to Crumb’s Tuff Spot sand art if they spun it? Crumb needed to think about this for a few minutes because he knew it would be the end of the design he was so proud of and that it would be putting that eventuality into the hands of his brother, at least partly, too. In the end his curiosity won so we took lots of photos of his original piece and decided to video the spinning to record the creation of something new!
Here’s the short sand art video to show you what happened.
I hope my excitement about this sand art project is contagious and that you’ll have a go at making your own coloured sand and sand art. Here we used it to explore Diwali and Rangoli patterns but it would be a great art project for kids all year round too.
The children and I had such fun doing it and I think the process of working on a transitory piece of art within the home was incredibly valuable to them. I believe it gave them confidence in their own artistic abilities and an understanding that art and creativity is as much about the process as it is about the final piece.
If you’d like more ideas for collaborative art then you might like to take a look at our Autumn Window paintings and I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to collaborative art for kids that you might like to follow.
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