Kinetic Sand Throwdown: Ranking of Squeezable Sand Brands
This post is sponsored by Spin Master.
Squeezable sand is such a fun and unique product for kids to play with.
But which one is the best?
Spin Master challenged us to test Kinetic Sand against other brands, and we accepted the challenge! Moms are often trying to buy products that offer less mess and more fun for their kids, so we decided it would be fun to pull off the ultimate squeezable sand comparison. We partnered with Spin Master to host a play date and conduct blind tests with kids ages 5, 6, 7, and 8.
If you’ve never heard of Kinetic Sand, it’s 98% sand and 2% magic, so you can pull it, shape it and mold it to create incredible sand creations. It is made with 100% natural sand and is free of gluten, casein, and wheat, which makes its safe for kids with these allergies to play with (especially for kids who are allergic to the ingredients in Play-Doh).
For our test, we compared Spin Master’s Kinetic Sand, Nickelodeon Gak, National Geographic Play Sand, and Original Sand by Brookstone. To determine the winner, we rated each product on a scale of 1-4 (1 being the best, 4 being the worst) and judged based on the following factors:
- Sensory Rating
- Squishy Rating
- Moldability Rating
- Playtime Rating
- Messy Rating
- Creativity Rating
- Age-Appropriate Rating
During our afternoon of play we had kids (and moms!) tell us what they thought about each category. So who was the winner? Keep reading to find out!
First Place: Kinetic Sand by Spin Master
- Sensory Rating: 1
- Squishy Rating: 2
- Moldability Rating: 1
- Playtime Rating: 1
- Messy Rating: 1
- Creativity Rating: 1
- Age-Appropriate Rating: 1
Surprise! Kinetic Sand was the clear winner in our comparison! It was wet enough that it didn’t fall apart, but dry enough that it didn’t stick to the kids’ hands. Basically, it was the Goldilocks of the play substances we tested… it was just right.
The kids were able to mold it easily, which made it super fun for play time. They could squish it or build with it or run it through their fingers. It oozes, moves and melts right before your eyes. So many options!
It scored highly on creativity because the possibilities seemed endless. The kids also loved that Kinetic Sand came in a package that doubled as a sand castle mold. It also feels just like real sand, but leaves hands completely dry.
When it was time to clean up, Kinetic Sand was the favorite among moms. It didn’t leave residue on hands (an important attribute for sensory-sensitive children) and any stray pieces could be easily collected by pressing the Kinetic Sand onto itself.
The package shows a recommended age of 3 and up, which we feel is definitely appropriate for this product. The younger kids at our play date loved it, and the older ones even had fun, too!
Second Place: Original Sand by Brookstone
- Sensory Rating: 2
- Squishy Rating: 3
- Moldability Rating: 2
- Playtime Rating: 3
- Messy Rating: 2
- Creativity Rating: 2
- Age-Appropriate Rating: 4
Original Sand by Brookstone comes in a plastic jar with a screw top lid, making it easy to store the sand after play time is over.
Original Sand is wetter than Kinetic Sand, which made for a nice sensory experience. However, when the kids squeezed the sand, there was considerable residue left on their hands.
It was also easy to mold but didn’t hold its shape as long as Kinetic Sand. Again, there seemed to be play possibilities, but with the simple packaging and no toys provided, you would need to purchase toys or make due with what the kids can find around the house.
The recommended age on the package was 5 and up, which we feel is a little old for this product.
Third Place: National Geographic Play Sand
- Sensory Rating: 3
- Squishy Rating: 4
- Moldability Rating: 4
- Playtime Rating: 4
- Messy Rating: 4
- Creativity Rating: 3
- Age-Appropriate Rating: 2
National Geographic Play Sand was the driest of the play substances straight out of the package. It crumbled into small pieces easily and left quite a mess after play. It was pretty hard to mold due to the dry nature of the sand.
The package did recommend adding water if it was too dry, but to keep the comparison as fair as possible, we kept the sand as it was straight from the package.
The package did include a sand tray and a few toys, which the kids enjoyed. It wasn’t as squishy as the other substances.
The package lists the recommended age at 3 and up, which we feel is very appropriate for this product.
Fourth Place: Nickelodeon Gak
- Sensory Rating: 4
- Squishy Rating: 1
- Moldability Rating: 3
- Playtime Rating: 2
- Messy Rating: 3
- Creativity Rating: 4
- Age-Appropriate Rating: 3
Nickelodeon Gak is super stretchy and has the perfect amount of squish. The kids really enjoyed it but it was very messy. It left lots of residue on the kids’ hands.
It was easier to mold than the National Geographic Play Sand, but it didn’t hold its shape at all.
The Winner: Kinetic Sand
We loved hosting this challenge and had a great time trying all of the different squeezable sand brands.
Kinetic Sand stimulates children’s creative skills, allowing them to create anything they can imagine over and over again, which is always a win in our book.
Want to get your own Kinetic Sand? You can purchase it here.
Perhaps, Kinetic Sand by Spin Master was the best choice, after all. But I question, and don’t trust, a ‘blind test’ when it’s sponsored by the maker of one of the product. The very fact that Kinetic Sand came in first is rather suspicious, to me. Why didn’t you include a DIY sampling or some of the others on the market?
I have found that none of the kinetic sands I’ve purchased for my Littles, has stored well. Even when I’ve opened a brand new package of the Spin Master brand, it has been dry and has hardly held its shape. That’s one factor that should have been addressed.
Also, just showing photos of the products not sticking to their hands (and just one of a successful mold), isn’t enough proof for me, to ever buy it, again.
Nice try, but perhaps DIY sand might be an option at this point.
Thank you for your feedback. Yes, you can always make your own kinetic sand. Here is a fun tutorial: https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/69279/how-to-make-kinetic-sand/: https://kidsactivitiesblog.com/69279/how-to-make-kinetic-sand/
Thanks for this post. We love kinetic sand and I’ve only purchased Kinetic Sand brand…I didn’t know there were other brands. Lol. We wanted to have some fun with science and decided to make our own kinetic sand but we have not been successful. 🙁 We live in Hawaii right on the beach and have used the sand from right outside. I made sure it was dry and free of shells, but it’s not turning out as well as all the recipes I’ve found. I have not yet tried yours from your blog. I will see if I have everything needed and then attempt it. (I don’t want to spend too much time shopping and spending to make something that I could just buy at Target Lol) I’ll let you know if I try it and how it turns out. Mahalo!
Lucky you, Lucy! Right by the beach sounds amazing! Let us know how it goes!