The leaves have nearly finished changing colors which means we have to Pumpkin Spice-ify everything, right? Well, maybe not. I love a good pumpkin muffin, and I’ll usually choose pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but keep your pumpkin spice out of my beer, and I don’t drink coffee, so keep your PSLs to yourself. However, pumpkin spice moon sand seemed like a festive, fun twist on traditional moon sand, which is a favorite sensory activity in our house.
I like anything that will keep my toddler’s attention for more than ten minutes, and sensory activities usually do the trick. This pumpkin spice moon sand definitely fits the bill.
Keep in mind, this particular moon sand is not taste-safe, so if you have little ones who still put a lot of things in their mouth, this might not be the right recipe for you.
The base of the moon sand is just flour and baby oil.
Flour is something we (probably) all have on hand, and the baby oil is easy to find almost anywhere, so it’s a great budget-friendly activity, and you don’t need to hunt down any exotic ingredients. For a festive smelling twist, this time we added pumpkin pie spice to our mix.
Start with 8 cups of flour, and one cup of baby oil.
I made mine in a large under-the-bed bin so we could keep it closed when we aren’t using it. Add the flour to the bin, and pour the baby oil evenly over. You’ll have to really get in there with your hands to incorporate the ingredients together in order to get that dreamy, soft consistency of moon sand. If it still feels a little too crumbly, you can add a tablespoon of oil at a time until it becomes the right consistency. You should be able to form a ball, but easily smoosh it back out to a sandy pile, that is, it should not stick together like Play-doh.
To be honest, I didn’t measure out the amount of pumpkin pie spice I added to the mixture. It’s a personal preference depending on how strong you want the smell to be, so I just added it in small amounts until it smelled right. Go right ahead and sprinkle it in. The smell adds another component to the sensory play.
We really don’t get too fancy with this activity. Usually, we throw in a couple of sand toys, and some scoops, spoons, or measuring cups. For my daughter, it’s more about doing something that’s different and getting her hands in there and feeling the sand between her fingers. It’s not something we pull out every day, so when we do, it’s special and exciting. I have to admit, even I can’t resist getting my hands in there and joining in the fun. She scoops, squishes, buries, and builds with the sand, and it keeps her occupied and engaged by a change of scenery without resorting to screen time. (Though don’t get me wrong, screen time has its time and place too.)
My daughter has also recently become interested in scavenger hunts and buried treasure, so another fun way to use this pumpkin spice moon sand is to bury tiny toys or objects and have your child scoop and hunt through the bin to find each of them. You could even bury plastic gold coins from the dollar store and have your child count the coins as they uncover them for some disguised counting lessons.
It’s a little-known fact that toddlers aren’t always as concerned with cleanliness as their parents may be, so be prepared for some spillage. We usually bring our bin outside and play with it on a big old beach blanket in the yard. That way when we’re done, I can just throw the cover on the bin, shake the flour out of the blanket, and clean-up is done. However, you could also lay out a large vinyl tablecloth on the floor inside to help with quicker clean-up. Just dump large amounts of excess from the tablecloth back into the bin and vacuum up the rest.
Have you ever made moon sand before for your kiddos? What other kinds of fall sensory activities do you like to do? I’ve been meaning to make a feed corn bin, and I would love to hear about some other fun options we can pull out when we need something new and different!