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Drawing in a Sand Tray

Sweet Pea is 27 months old.

SandBox Drawing

From: A traditional Montessori lesson involves showing children how to draw letters in a tray of salt.  I saw this activity using sand instead of salt at Chasing Cheerios.


  • Strong shallow box or a jelly roll pan.
  • Non-toxic sand or salt to cover the bottom of the box.


  • Pour the sand into the box.
  • Demonstrate drawing in the sand with your finger.
  • Let your tot try.
  • Thoroughly wash your tot’s hands afterward to prevent sand from getting in their eyes.

SandBox Drawing-3

Observations: Sweet Pea had a wonderful time with this.  She was fascinated as soon as she saw the jar of sand and couldn’t wait to get her hands into it.  She loved watching me draw the letter “O” and then trying to trace it.

SandBox Drawing-1

She also just loved picking up a handful of sand and letting it run through her fingers.  I tried to show her how to gently shake the tray to erase the drawing, but she never mastered that.  I think she will have the control to do it with a little more practice though.

SandBox Drawing-2

Notes from the Trenches: As I was pouring the bottle of sand into the tray and noticed the blue dust that was billowing upwards, I wondered if the sand was non-toxic.  It had the words ASTM d-4236 on the front and I assumed that meant it was okay.  After doing another craft with the sand, I got around to looking up ASTM- d-4236 on the internet.  I discovered that this only means the product is labeled correctly.  It is nothing to do with how toxic a product is.  I also read something that made me think it is difficult  to find any safe kid’s sand.  Sadly, I decided to throw out the pretty blue sand.  We will try doing this with plain salt next time.

Also, I really wish I would have put some newspaper down under our table.  There was sand everywhere.  I had to bring out the vacuum to pick it all up.

Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Frugal if you use salt in a jelly roll pan.)

8 comments to Drawing in a Sand Tray

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