magic sand vs kinetic sand image 1

Magic Sand vs Kinetic Sand

Are you looking for an activity that is new and exciting for your child to enjoy? Look no further than sand! You may be wondering how sand can qualify as a new and exciting activity, but you should be aware that scientists around the world have done amazing things with sand.  Let’s look at Magic Sand vs Kinetic Sand.

To clean up oil spills, scientists and researchers developed water-repelling sand. The sand was intended to soak up the oil and debris and leave the water behind. After much time creating, many recognized the genius behind water-repelling sand.

Shortly thereafter, toy companies developed something known as Magic Sand and Kinetic Sand. By coating sand in various materials, scientists created fun and stimulating toys for children of all ages!

Both Magic Sand and Kinetic Sand are used mainly as sensory tools for children. Sensory play is extremely important in brain development. With sensory play, you are introducing tools that stimulate the senses. For example, Magic Sand and Kinetic Sand cultivate sight (with its colors) and touch (with its mind-boggling textures).

How do you know which is for the children in your life? Should you choose Magic Sand or Kinetic Sand? Keep reading to find out which one you should buy for your children!


All About It

magic sand vs kinetic sand image 2Magic Sand often comes in many vibrant colors. Depending on the brand, you can purchase Magic Sand that is pink, red, yellow, blue, purple, green, and many other colors.

When handling Magic Sand, it feels exactly like normal sand. If you did not know better, you would think you were holding typical beach sand. However, Magic Sand is coated in a chemical that is called trimethylhydroxysilane. Trimethylhydroxysilane is a chemical used to make objects hydrophobic. To be hydrophobic means to repel water.

So how does trimethylhydroxysilane affect Magic Sand? It makes this sand waterproof!

Unique Features

The unique thing about Magic Sand is that it is made to be used underwater! When you pour Magic Sand in water, it takes shape. However, when you remove the sand from the water it returns to its natural granular texture.

After pouring the Magic Sand into the water, you or your child can begin to shape and mold various sculptures and designs. It is a great way for individuals to construct their creative ideas.

Why Should You Buy It?

Magic Sand is the perfect summer activity. Take the Magic Sand and a bucket of water outside on a warm day, and you can have a blast without ever having to go to the beach.

When you are done playing with your Magic Sand, you can simply scoop it out of the water and into a bucket or bag. You don’t have to worry about dragging in water because it will be completely dry! A benefit of Magic Sand is that it is reusable, ready to use again and again.

Another reason to purchase Magic Sand is that it is a great way to learn about water molecules and hydrophobic products. Many teachers and parents use Magic Sand as a way to demonstrate hydrophobia.

Brands to Buy

Some of the most popular brands of Magic Sand are the following:

  • Kicko Magic Sand
  • JULAN Magic Sand
  • Steve Spangler’s Magic Sand


All About It

magic sand vs kinetic sand image 1Kinetic Sand is extremely similar to Magic Sand because it is also coated in a material that distorts its natural properties. Kinetic Sand is beach sand coated in a chemical known as poly(dimethylsiloxane). Poly(dimethylsiloxane) is used to make this beach sand hydrophobic.

Parents will be glad to know that poly(dimethylsiloxane) is not a harmful toxin for children. Kinetic Sand is completely toxin-free and hypoallergenic. Kinetic Sand is typically free from the following items: casein, wheat, gluten; although, it is always best to check with the manufacturer before purchasing.

Unique Features

In addition to being water-repellent, poly(dimethylsiloxane) makes this beach sand fluffy and sticky. Unlike Magic Sand, Kinetic Sand does not fall apart into singulair granules.

The sticky property allows users to mold and sculpt impressive designs and creations. Many Kinetic Sand kits come with tools and molds for building.  See our post on the Kinetic Sand Castle Kit.

This fluffy and sticky texture allows parents and children to clean up their Kinetic Sand effortlessly. Many love how easy it is to clean up after playing with this.

Why Should You Buy It?

Parents often purchase Kinetic Sand because it is easy to clean up and it is ideal for sensory play. Because it is often colorful and uncomplicated to play with, parents use it to stimulate their child’s senses.

Children can use their imaginations and hand-eye coordination to create spectacular structures. Kinetic Sand is a way for children to further develop their senses and problem-solving skills.

Brands to Buy

Some of the most common Kinetic Sand brands are as followed:

  • CoolSand
  • Play-Doh
  • Kinetic Sand


Now that you understand the properties and individually unique features of Magic Sand and Kinetic Sand, how do you know which one you should buy?

While each has its benefits, there is one defining feature between Magic Sand and Kinetic Sand.

Magic Sand

Magic Sand is more appropriate for older children. For example, children that are able to learn about hydrophobic products and other water property facts. Many teachers use Magic Sand to compare normal beach sand and hydrophobic sand.

Working with Magic Sand underwater can be more stimulating for those that have a more expansive imagination and more developed fine motor skills. While younger children may engage and benefit from Magic Sand, older children will learn more effectively.

Kinetic Sand

Kinetic Sand is more appropriate for younger children. Typically, preschoolers and elementary-age children enjoy Kinetic Sand more than older children. The fluffy, sticky nature of the sand aids children in their sculpting and maneuvering. Not only does it help with construction, but Kinetic Sand can be used as a sensory play tool. By engaging the child in new textures and problems, they can problem-solve and process their thinking. Kinetic Sand can be used to promote thought-processing skills and fine motor skills.

In addition to stimulating the senses, Kinetic Sand is easy to clean up! Younger children can help clean up Kinetic Sand because it can be clumped together without falling apart. While Magic Sand returns to its normal state, Kinetic Sand typically stays together as one piece making it easy for little hands to clean.

The Verdict

Will you buy Magic Sand to help teach your child hydrophobia and water properties or will you buy Kinetic Sand to promote sensory play and brain development? Let us know if this assessment helped you!

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