Fun Kids' Birthday Parties

Your guide to throw age-appropriate home-made fun kids’ birthday parties​

I Spy Minibeasts: Sensory Bin for Preschoolers

Minibeasts sensory bin for preschoolers

Minibeasts such as bugs, insects, arachnids, and centipedes, does your child like them? Then, elevate their interest to a new level with this earthy minibeasts sensory bin that uses a unique, crumbly, powdery soft like material: Moon Sand.

Moon Sand. Have you heard of it? It’s a bit like sand that we all know, but way softer. Thus, it is great for small children. And what a feeling! It isn’t just a texture sensation for little hands and fingers; it makes for a great calming sensory play for preschoolers.

Moon sand is quick and easy to make as you’ll need just two staple ingredients: flour, and vegetable oil. Make it look like soil by simply adding unsweetened cocoa powder to the mixture. Furthermore, it’s a great material for children to scoop, mold, press, and, squeeze. So get prepared, because kids will love to pretend to investigate all kind of spiders, centipedes, praying mantis, beetles, grasshoppers, and more.

I love this earthy minibeasts sensory bin because it includes sensory play, fine motor skills and a pretend scientific set up. The dark brown color of the Moon Sand mimics one of the most loved materials that children love to play with: soil.

What is a Sensory Bin?

Sensory bins are containers filled with a range of materials that engage children’s senses. From water and sand to rice, flour, dry beans, shaving cream and more—these engaging bin fillers offer endless possibilities for creative play, tailored to your child’s age.

Why this sensory bin would be a perfect activity for a birthday party celebration?

Children get involved in play using all their five senses. Playing with home made Moon Sand is a calming and relaxing activity for young children. Its color (cocoa brown) and texture (a mix between powdery flour and wet sand) will make them engage all their senses, mind and body. In addition, if the size of the bin is big enough for 3 to 5 children to play simultaneously, then fun is almost guaranteed throughout the entire party.

Because of its relaxing effect, it is a good idea to offer moon sand activities after all the dancing, running, and noisy play. Another reason why moon sand works so well at birthday parties is because it is quick and easy to make.

Importantly, you can make a big batch for many children to play with in no time. Besides, you can adapt the smell (if using coconut oil) of Moon Sand. Finally, you can spark kid’s imagination and creativity offering them some tools like tweezers, scoopers, scoops, and magnifying glass as well as assorted plastic creepy-crawlies, to add to the moon sand activity. What about playing I spy game? Pair this activity with a fabulous book called Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs and an exciting bingo game Bug Bingo for extra fun at the birthday party!

Creating the I Spy Minibeasts Sensory Bin

Minibeasts sensory bin with moon sand

What you will need

How to make it?

  1. Set up your Moon Sand activity on the grass (outdoors) or on an easy-to-clean play mat or picnic rug.
  2. In your plastic container, place the Moon Sand. On the side leave the tweezers, scoopers, scoops, and magnifying glass. Inside the plastic cups put the assorted insects, bugs, spiders, and centipedes. 1 kg/2lb of Moon Sand is enough for 3 children to play with at the same time. However, if there is more than three, you could double the recipe and place it in another plastic container.
  3. Invite children to use the tweezers to pick up the minibeats from the cups and to place them into the moon sand. Otherwise, you could have all the animals already inside the bin and children can take them out and play a sorting or I spy game. For more bug birthday party games click here.
  4. You are ready to go!
Minibeasts sensory bin with moon sand and child using tweezers

My child’s experience

By far, moon sand has been the mixture that my son has loved to play with the most. He immediately helped me to put out all the animals from the Stacking Cups to the inside of the sensory bin using the tweezers. He liked to hide the spiders and centipedes inside the moon sand. He used his hands to squeeze, and press the flour with his hands.

How to make Moon Sand?

The ratio to make moon sand is simple – 8 cups/1kg of all purpose flour : 1 cup/240 ml of vegetable oil.

What you will need

  • 8 cups/1 kg of flour
  • 1/2 cup/55 g of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup/240 ml vegetable oil
  • Baking sheet
  • 1 Mixing bowl
Moon Sand Ingredients


  1. To remove bacteria from raw flour, spread the flour out on a baking sheet and toast in an oven for at least 5 minutes at 350 F/177 °C degrees. Remove from the oven and let the flour cool completely before adding it to mixing bowl.
  2. In the mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, and vegetable oil.
    Make Moon Sand Step 2
  3. Mix together until the Moon Sand becomes moldable. Add more oil if it’s too dry or more flour if it’s too wet, as needed.
  4. The Moon Sand is ready when you can shape it into a ball with your hands.
    Moon Sand is ready when you can shape balls

Important information

This activity is recommended for children aged 4 and above because it includes small plastic figurines. The moon sand in this recipe is taste-safe because the flour has been previously baked at 350 F/177 °C or 5 minutes to reduce potential harmful bacteria. However, adult supervision is required for all the duration of the play and children should not try to eat moon sand neither the small plastic animals.

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