We made colored sand and fall leaves in preschool

Last week, we explored making colored sand. This was a process that I wasn’t quite sure how to do so we experimented a bit…

The first time we used colored chalk to try and color the sand but this process just didn’t work out that well for us…

I think that the kind of chalk I used was part of the problem. I figured out that the cheaper and more powdery the chalk, the easier it is to color the sand. I also didn’t care for how pale the colors were so on our next try, we just added food color to the sand…

The sand we are using for this process is white sand that comes in a jar purchased at the Dollar Tree…

And the shaker bottles that I put the colored sand in come from Deals (which is like a Dollar Store).  I had heard that if you bake the sand at a low temperature after adding food color, it will bake the color into the sand a bit better and possibly not leave color on your hands when you go to play with it.  I did not try baking the sand but I might for future reference. Instead, we just mixed up the food color and sand in baggies then poured the sand in the shakers…

We used the colored sand to make veins in our paper leafs.  The children first examined a real leaf then drew their own leaf veins on paper leaves with glue…

Then the children shook the colored sand on the glue…

Some of our students asked to make more than one leaf so we let them go at it…


Some of our younger children simply made squiggly lines and circles on their leaves with the glue. One reason this is such a great process is that the children get to practice using a glue bottle. They are all getting quite proficient at managing the flow of glue from the bottle…

By |2011-09-30T06:00:14+00:00September 30th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Amber September 30, 2011 at 7:32 am - Reply

    I’ve always purchased my colored sand…hmmm, maybe we’ll explore with coloring next time. 🙂 I can see quite a few benefits to letting the children do it on their own.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2011 at 9:01 am - Reply

      The children enjoyed making their own colored sand. It was really pretty easy to do and I like making the colors I want to have as I need them.

  2. Little Wonders' Days September 30, 2011 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Ooooh, I like this idea! Very pretty and easy.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2011 at 9:02 am - Reply

      Yes it is!

  3. HonieBuk September 30, 2011 at 8:57 am - Reply

    Autumn is my favourite time of year. What a lovely activity to bring the outdoors, indoors! Great tip for making the colour stay in the sand (baking).

    I’m thinking of starting a ‘School Dayz’ meme to help smooth the ride for parents with children starting school. I would welcome your feedback.

    Great site – a pleasure to read!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2011 at 9:04 am - Reply

      I love autumn too – I love all the focus on nature and the beautiful colors of fall. I will be sure to stop by your blog today!

  4. Stacy @ {share&remember.blogspot.com} September 30, 2011 at 9:12 am - Reply

    This is a really good idea, one that we’re going to have to try! Thanks!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2011 at 9:27 am - Reply

      Thanks Stacy:)

  5. Laurie weber September 30, 2011 at 9:16 am - Reply

    Hello!! I was wondering the age group of the children you worked with. My son is in pre-k and accustomed to doing lots of crafts at home but I think he would have a problem making the veins, he’s not quite 4 yet. I love this idea and all the crafts I have seen you post since finding this page a few days ago.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2011 at 9:27 am - Reply

      I work with threes and fours. Our threes just made lots of sqiggles and circles with the glue on their leaves. I will go back and add a photo of one of our threes leaves if I can find one. But the process of using the glue to try and draw lines is always good glue bottle handling practice. Our threes use the glue bottle daily and are getting quite proficient at managing the flow of the bottle. This is more the purpose of this activity than making great lines on the leaves:)

  6. andiejaye September 30, 2011 at 10:39 am - Reply

    we’ve dyed rice and pasta, but never sand. we’ll have to try this out!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2011 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      It was super easy!

  7. Kelly September 30, 2011 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    Try to powder tempra paint. Also try to use salt if you don’t have white sand. You should be able to use liquid paint if you shake it in and lay it out to try. I have a Sand Art Business and that is what I have learned. Along with years of camp!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2011 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      Thanks for all the tips – I will keep playing around with the materials!

  8. ayn colsh September 30, 2011 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    Ooooo! I’m not sure which one I like better! I think we should try this sand, because my friends LOVE glitter and they’ve cleaned me out! But then again, I really like those leaves–we’ve talked about the veins, but this really illustrates it!
    Okay, so I guess I’ll just have to “Pin” this twice! 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm - Reply

      We loved using the sand in place of our glitter. It adds a new texture and I don’t mind them using all they want because it is much cheaper for me to replace:)

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