Sometimes we all need to take a breath, and a little sand + sea!
But for times when you can’t get to the beach, we’ve got a way to bring the beach bliss to you instead.
It’s a DIY Sand + Sea Play Dough — seriously, not just for kids (our co-founder Rett was in the zone with it!!). It’s your own mini beach vacation + stress reliever, inspiring playful creativity with the help of relaxing essential oils.
If you’re entertaining kids this summer, it’s a fun activity to do together…that you can steal some relaxation from too 😉
In this post:
- a 3-min how-to video (watch our founder Eve make it)
- printable recipe card (simple ingredients like flour, salt, etc.)
- why your brain will love it
- tips on ways to use for you + kids
- how to keep it eco + ocean friendly (spoiler: use biodegradable glitter)
What makes this different than other play dough?
Well, it gives a sensory connection to the amazing seaside that seems to have a magical power to heal. Nature is incredible in its ability to center & inspire, and having a representation of it like this can do wonders for the mind.
The relaxing aromatherapy from essential oils, soothing colors, and sparkle really shine here to add to the allure and happy vibes!
It opens the window for playful imagination too, like building sand castles in the surf — kids especially (and Rett, kid at heart) will love coming up with different sea creatures to try and create.
And don’t forget the process behind making it DIY too. It’s an experience in itself that involves simple togetherness moments that can often mean more than you know.
You might like…
Make waves of positivity with our apparel & goods, made with porpoise:
If you’re not familiar with essential oils, they’re a great way to tap into the way that scents can have an incredible impact on the brain, mood & state of mind.
Essential oils are natural concentrated extracts of plants, and you can find them in single forms or as blends.
You can choose different blends that are reminiscent of a setting (we used wind & sea, beach house, coconut), or ones that aim to boost the mood, energize, relax or calm (like citrus, lavender, or peppermint).
With two batches, Sand + Sea, you can experiment with a different kind of essential oil for each.
If you’re into incredible mood-boosting scents, our artisan-made Live with Porpoise candle tin just makes us blissfully *HAPPY*. Its citrusy with peach + vanilla, and it is uplifting to the nines. (It makes a thoughtful gift for a coastal lover too!)
Find it in our online shop:
DIY Play Dough How-To Video:
Watch our founder Eve make it:
For the printable recipe card, download here:
Be sure to use biodegradable glitter to keep it eco-friendly. Regular glitter is made of tiny bits of plastic (called microplastics) that can harm wildlife & the food web.
Keep reading below for benefits + tips for maximum use!
Make waves of positivity
You just never know the positive waves it might bring to someone who could use a little joy.
We hope you’ll join the pod and make waves of positivity with us! 💙 How?
- Share this link
- Pin on Pinterest
- Like on YouTube + Subscribe to our YouTube channel
- Subscribe to our email list:
(Why your brain is going to love it, kids’ too)
When you’re at the beach, time seems to evaporate and you get totally immersed in the world in front of you. While it’s not quite a tropical vacation, taking a time-out with our Sand + Sea Play Dough can give yourself a mental health break and help restore the mind + uplift the spirit.
We’re not quite sure whether to call this a mindfulness activity or a mindlessness activity, ha! But sometimes a little of both are what’s needed for balance, right?
Either way, it boosts playful creativity, stress relief and relaxation — a mini-beach escape:
|playful creativity||Whether it’s making sand castles, splashing in the surf, looking for seashells, playing games, or digging for buried treasure, there’s a sense of creative joy.||First combining the ingredients to make the play dough and then using it to shape into imaginative creations gives a sense of present moment awareness, tactile & creative joy.|
|stress relief + relaxation||The sensory experience of the sound of the waves, the scent in the air, and the sand beneath your toes melts stress away & brings relaxation||The tactile feel of the squishy-soft dough, and adding essential oils that have relaxing scents make it a sensory experience that calms the brain & relieves stress|
The colorful + tactile experience for kids is huge!
Having sensory play dough available (like say, in a calm corner) can give them a modality to release their stress and anxiety, or to simply tap into their creative flow during quiet time.
(More on ideas for kids below.)
How to Use
Stress Ball Revamped
Finding yourself in an afternoon slump or in a bit of a haze? Feeling aimless, anxious or stressed?
Keep Sand + Sea play dough within reach (like your desk drawer) and let your mind wander while you squish, pinch, and mold.
You might find that:
- the tension you feel starts to find its way out
- you start to breathe a little more freely
- things look a little brighter
Keep the Sand + Sea momentum going with a virtual escape to beach:
- mentally dive into photos of places you’ve been or places you imagine you’d like to visit (explore our IG feed; our homepage also has the tendency to result in beach bliss)
- enjoy Waves of Positivity & Relax at the Beach videos (on our YouTube channel).
Summer Break or Camp Activity
If you’re in charge of kids, this is a great summer activity (made with adult supervision of course) to bring some fun and smiles!
Not only is making the dough itself a bonding experience, but the process of measuring ingredients, mixing, heating, cooling, kneading is mindful and engaging (and helpful for kids’ development).
Or, if you’re in a setting such as a summer camp, you can make it ahead of time for kids to enjoy.
- Have a contest of most unique/imaginative creation
- Split the finished play dough in half and share it with friends or a neighbor
- Incorporate in an ocean-themed or pool party. Announce an animal, give a time limit, and then have the participants see what everyone comes up with:
- sea turtle
- their own idea
Calm Corner for Kids
This play dough can be included in kids’ quiet, creative time as well as a coping strategy for moments where they may need a little help balancing their energy.
You can make the play dough ahead of time and have it in a classroom or home calm corner (maybe with some photos of the beach!) for children to choose when they need to re-center.
TIP: Use a tray that they must keep the play dough on to help minimize mess.
Note: This play dough is not meant to be eaten.
For a printable recipe card, download here:
|water||1/2 cup||1/2 cup|
|flour (can sub gluten free)||1/2 cup||1/2 cup|
|salt||1/4 cup||1/4 cup|
|cream of tartar||1 tsp||1 tsp|
|oil (we used olive oil)||1/2 tbsp||1/2 tbsp|
|food coloring||none||1/4 tsp blue powder |
(OR 2-3 drops liquid)
|relaxing essential oils|
(be cautious if you have sensitive skin or allergies)
|8-10 drops |
+ more if desired
|8-10 drops |
+ more if desired
Be sure to use biodegradable glitter to keep it eco-friendly.
Regular glitter is made of tiny bits of plastic (called microplastics) that can harm wildlife & the food web.
|1-2 tsp gold |
+ more if desired
|1-2 tsp blue |
+ more if desired
How to Make It (make each batch separately):
- Heat water, flour, salt, cream of tartar, and oil over medium heat (if making “Sea” batch, add food coloring here too).
- Keep stirring until it forms a solid clump, remove from heat, and let it cool.
- Once cool, place dough on a surface (cover surface to avoid stains) and use your hands to flatten the dough.
- Evenly drop essential oils and sprinkle biodegradable glitter onto flattened dough, then knead to mix! Repeat to add more glitter/essential oils if you wish.
- Have fun! Pinch, squeeze, shape, and mold dough. Use as scented, squishy stress relief and to make sand castles, ocean creatures & more. When finished, store each batch in a separate airtight container.
Make it Eco-Friendly
Make sure that you opt for biodegradable glitter!
Microplastics are a big deal for wildlife — these tiny bits of plastic can wreak havoc on the environment. When bits of plastic are washed down the drain or thrown away, they can get into the environment, find their way into rivers & the ocean, where they unfortunately look like delicious morsels of food for marine life.
Wildlife eat them, but can’t digest them. It can cause them great harm, distress, and even death — and then it also gets carried up the food web when the animal itself is eaten, which eventually leads to us too.
Our passion for spreading ocean love is backed by over a decade teaching marine biology in the classroom. We love to make waves of positivity through all of our creations, and hope that you’ll join our pod & make waves with us!
SEA you soon!
Live with porpoise,
Eve + Rett
Disclaimer: All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), burn risk (hot stove), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this website.