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.
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.