Alternative Substrate to Sand

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    I’m in the process of completing an AR sandbox for our Ecosystems and Education Center. We needed to use some type of substrate that was cleaner and less abrasive than sand. In my search, I came across mini-polystyrene beads that are used for stuffing bean bags, making stress balls, stuffing therapy pillows, etc. They work extremely well. The brand I’ve been using is Poly-fil Mini Micro Bead Filler. You can get an 8 liter bag on amazon for about $12. They’re super light weight, and they’re small enough that they don’t distort the projected image. The bag does warn that they’re full of static electricity, but we haven’t had issues with them flying all over and sticking to things. A few will stick to your hands, but they fall off easily just by rubbing your hands together.

    I strongly recommend this substrate type if you’re looking for a cleaner, cheaper, and lighter alternative to sand. I’ve seen several posts looking for alternatives to using sand, so hopefully this satisfies that need!

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