If you have been following Mama OT for any length of time, you know how much I love play-based materials that can promote a child’s development, particularly fine motor and sensory processing skills. So you can imagine how excited I was when Michaels craft store asked me to write a guest post on their blog, The Glue String, talking all about the benefits of using Kinetic Sand in therapy! What’s Kinetic Sand? you ask. Good question. Read on to learn what it is, why it’s awesome, and how you can use it to promote a child’s development!
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Have you ever heard of Kinetic Sand? It’s super cool but extremely difficult to describe. Kinetic Sand is a sand-like substance that is easily moldable, yet also free flowing. It hardens when squeezed, yet “melts” when released. It has the properties of wet sand, yet is not wet. It sticks to itself, yet is not sticky. It is soft, yet not fluffy. Like I said, difficult to describe!
As a pediatric occupational therapist, I am always looking for materials that can be used in therapy to help children further their developmental skills. Kinetic Sand is an ideal therapeutic material due to its versatility and its ability to offer a wide variety of benefits to the kids (and adults) who engage with it!
Here are 8 benefits of using Kinetic Sand in therapy:
1. Fine Motor Development
Kinetic Sand is a hands-on material so, yeah, it can help develop fine motor skills! Squeeze it, squish it, or smash it with a potato smasher to strengthen hands. Poke it or pinch it to further develop those index finger skills. Roll it into balls or flatten it with a rolling pin to develop bilateral skills. Scoop it or cut it to practice grasping and using tools such as spoons, ice cream scoopers, and knives. Press cookie cutters down into flattened sand or pack it into little cups and flip them over to build sand castles and further develop those small muscles in the fingers and hands. The fine motor benefits are seemingly endless!
2. Sensory Processing
Kinetic Sand is the perfect sensory material for kids who either crave or are sensitive to tactile input. Kids who want to touch everything and are constantly seeking tactile input will gladly touch, squeeze, and play with Kinetic Sand…it might seem like they won’t be able to get enough of it! Because Kinetic Sand can be squeezed it provides deep pressure, which is a form of tactile input that is calming and organizing to the body. This is especially helpful for those who are sensory seekers!
On the other hand, kids who are sensitive to or avoidant of “messy play” experiences (or who are hesitant to try out new things in general) will likely be open to engaging with Kinetic Sand due to its soft, non-sticky texture. I have seen this first-hand with my tactile defensive OT kiddos. You really have to feel Kinetic Sand to know what I mean. Even though it looks and acts like wet sand, it is soft, dry, and cool to the touch. It doesn’t get stuck in your fingernails and doesn’t feel sticky or scratchy. Perfect for kids with tactile defensiveness. Even if the child is not open to touching the Kinetic Sand right away, they can easily engage with it by using a tool such as a spoon in order to avoid touching it but still get used to engaging with it.
Learn about the other 6 benefits of using Kinetic Sand in therapy by reading the rest of my post on Michaels’ blog HERE.
Although I was compensated for writing this post, all opinions are my own. I love using Kinetic Sand with my own toddler as well as with my therapy kiddos because it really is a great product!