Do you like to express your creativity through art? Perhaps you enjoy painting. Most kids enjoy coloring with crayons. Older kids might prefer sculpting unique works of art out of clay or play dough.

When you think about art, you might tend to think of works of art as permanent. After all, that picture you drew in kindergarten might still be hanging on your refrigerator years later. And that sculpture you made of the dog that most people can’t identify? It’ll probably still be sitting on a shelf when you graduate from high school.

Not all works of art are permanent, though. Think about a Broadway performance. It certainly qualifies as art, given its musical and dramatic content. But when it’s over, it’s over. It might live on in your memory or on film, but the live performance was a special event limited to a specific time and place.

Can you think of other forms of art that are transitory? If you’re a fan of the beach, sand castles might come to mind. Have you ever spent hours with your pail and shovel building a beautiful sand castle, complete with towers and a moat?

If you have, you probably were a bit sad when it was time to leave the beach. Your work of art might last a few more hours, but you knew it would be gone as soon as the tide came in. The sandy beach is a canvas that nature erases daily.

Even though creating art with sand can be but a temporary experience, many people love using sand to create their own unique vision of beauty. One of the most mesmerizing versions of sand art is sand animation.

Sand animation is a type of live performance art. Artists who specialize in sand animation use sand to create a series of images that usually tell a story. They usually start with a large amount of sand on a flat surface, such as a table. They then use their hands and fingers to draw in the sand.

Although it might seem like using sand would limit the types of art you could make, you might be surprised to see the wide variety of beautiful and highly-detailed artworks that can be produced by sand art masters. And some of their works of art are very temporary. That’s where the animation part comes in.

Sand animation artists create a series of images that seem to move to tell a story. They might also use music and special lighting to complete the effect that they desire. Sometimes they take photographs or video of their creation throughout the process to turn it into a sand animation movie when it’s finished.

Sand animation has been around for decades, but there are still relatively few sand animation artists compared to other types of artists. Some of the most famous sand artists include Ferenc Cakó, Kseniya Simonova, Caroline Leaf, Ilana Yahav and Joe Castillo.

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    • WOHOO, we’re really happy to hear that you enjoyed our sandy Wonder today! We can’t wait to see you tomorrow, Emma! Thanks for joining us! :)

  1. Dear Wonderopolis,

    MY GUESS WAS RIGHT!!!!! Today’s wonder is facinating and cool. I never knew you could make an animation with sandcastles! I love to make sandcastles.

    I think that tomorrow’s wonder will be about parrots!

    • CONGRATS, Alexis!! We are so proud that you guessed today’s Wonder correctly! We can’t wait to WONDER with you tomorrow! :)

    • WOW, what a cool fun fact, Carlos! We are super excited that you enjoyed today’s Wonder AND adding some more information of your own! Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend! :)

  2. Heyyyy!! What’s up wonderopolis! This is really cool I’ve always wondered how they do this!! Can the topic tomorrow be about Halloween? Thanks, bye!!

  3. Hello wonderopolis today’s wonder is very interesting I never knew art can be so much fun. I hope tomorrow’s wonder will be about a sunny day.

    • Hey there, Latanya! Thanks for sharing your WONDERful comment with us– we are super happy you’re here! We can’t wait to Wonder with you again! We hope you have a SUPER day, Wonder Friend! :)

  4. I learned that you truly remember the things that you did when you were younger. Also who wants to leave their master sand piece? Lastly I learned that not every master thing you make you can keep forever.

    • WOW, what a cool point of view Jules! We love that you have realized that the masterpieces you create in the sand can be beautiful, but they are temporary, too! :)

    • Hi there, Lauren! We are glad you have been WONDERing with us today! WOHOO! We don’t like to Wonder about scary things here at Wonderopolis, so we’re glad you joined the fun today! :)

    • We are glad you enjoyed WONDERing about sand castles with us, Maria! Thanks for sharing your comment, Wonder Friend! :)

    • Great work, Titan! We are glad you’re WONDERing about sand castles with us! We Wonder if you’ve ever created a sand castle– and if it was washed away by water? :)

    • Hi there Shawn, we hope you had a great time WONDERing about sand creations with us! We hope you will join us again for more WONDERing– please comment about anything else that you learned, we’d love to hear about it! :)

  5. This website is awesome you can do sand creations with us and diffrent kinds of diffrent fun stuff? I hope you like it enjoy.

    • Thanks for sharing your comment, Jasiah J! We are so happy that you love sand creations as much as we do! YOU ROCK! :)

  6. That’s amazing!! I do a lot of my own animation but I never knew about sand animation. I want to try it sometime. Maybe next summer in my driveway.

    • How very cool, Patrick! We love that you are using your imagination to be creative when it comes to animation! We hope your driveway project is a success in the summer! :)

  7. I think that WONDEROPOLIS is a very… cool, awesome!

    It is also my first time on WONDEROPOLIS!

    I learned about… animals, space, art, and flowers!

    I am going to try to go on this every night.

    • Well, thank you, Christina! We are so glad you’re here– WELCOME!

      We bet you had a SUPER time learning new and exciting things… and there is much more to come! We hope to see you again soon! :)

  8. Yes, I have heard about this. What’s weird is that my teacher, Mrs.Ferguson, already today showed us videos about this when we got back from ace. Weird right?? I loved this video. OTHER PEOPLE NEED TO WATCH THIS!!!! ^.^

    • WOW, Hayley, great minds DO think alike! We are glad that you and your classmates have been WONDERing about cool sand art on your own! We think it would be cool to create different, large sculptures using sand– how about you? Thanks for sharing your AWESOME comment, Wonder Friend! :)

  9. Tomorrow is my birthday. I really love sand castles too but I can’t really build one. The last time I tried to build a GOOD ONE I didn’t do very good or my brother destroys the good one. Oh well. Happy birthday to me!!!!!

  10. Dear Wonderopolis

    I have been loving your videos. How do you get these super funny videos? I hope you will keep on getting more funny videos.

    From: Nate

    • Well thanks so much, Wonder Friend Nate! We can’t take credit for all the videos– we find them all over the Internet! We have lots of Wonder Friends who search and search for videos that make us think, smile… and Wonder of course! One of our favorites is Ormie– it makes us smile every time we watch it! Wonder #766– When Will Pigs Fly? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/when-will-pigs-fly/ :)

    • Great question, Kenzie! Lots of patience and practice is involved in our Wonder. We bet you can use your imagination and start with some stick figures, just to get the feel of sand art. Who knows where it will take you!? :)

    • WOW, how cool, Hannah! What an awesome connection to our sandy Wonder! Isn’t it incredible to think about those statues were built? Lots of teamwork and creativity! Thanks for sharing your comment, Hannah! :)

  11. I thought this wonder was awesome I loved the video because the artist just started with one animal and then changed it to another.

    • We are glad you liked our Wonder video, Andrea! What a talented artist! :) We Wonder if you’ve tried creating art using sand? :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What can you create with sand?
  • What is sand animation?
  • Who are some artists known for their sand animations?

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Try It Out

Aren’t sand animations amazing? Check out some other incredible videos of sand animations online:

Can you create your own sand animation video? All you need is imagination…and sand, of course! A device capable of recording video helps, too.

If you are inspired to create your own sand animation video, share it with your Wonder Friends. Upload it to YouTube or Vimeo and then share the link via Facebook. We can’t wait to see your creative sand animation video!

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In EDSITEment!’s Under the Deep Blue Sea lesson, children explore oceans and ocean life.

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