This quick post will teach you how to make a super easy and cheap colored sand that we will use to hide starfish for our young excavating adventurers to discover and find. This is a great activity for sensory play and the starfish that are found can be collected or used for other fun crafts. 
  • Epsom salt
  • Food coloring
  • Ziplock bags
  • Starfish - you can also use seashells, little plastic ocean animals, or pretty much anything that would be fun to discover in colored sand. 
  • Plastic bin or tray
  • Optional - beach bucket, sifter, plastic shovel, etc


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  1. Simply fill a ziplock bag with the amount of Epsom salts needed to create the amount of colored sand you will need.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring.
  3. Zip the bag closed and allow your little ones to mix until the Epsom salt is completely colored.
  4. Spread the colored sand in a tray and allow to dry. 
  5. Once dry, add your starfish (or other items) to the colored sand.


Now the starfish find is ready to be enjoyed. Find an area that is easy to clean up and let the excavating begin. Although enjoying this sensory activity with bare hands is a ton of fun, feel free to provide beach buckets, little plastic shovels and rakes, sifters, and any tool that can be safely used to explore the colored sand and find the starfish. 

I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and enjoyed making a colored sand for your starfish find. These excavations are very easy to make and a lot of fun! Plus the colored sand can be used to make sand art or stored in the ziplock bags for use later. 
Pro tip: Use this activity to create some excitement around discussions or lessons regarding the ocean. 
If you love excavating as much as we do, be sure to check out our Excavating Adventures monthly subscription by clicking the link below and get an awesome new excavation delivered each month loaded with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more!

Happy Excavating!





Digital Dig
Scientists that study minerals are called mineralogists.