This is Sand is a lovely little web toy, a nice, gentle way to ease your brain back to life after the weekend. It could hardly be simpler or more elegant: the program converts pixels into digital sand that falls, stacks and layers just like the real thing, providing an endless array of possible designs, landscapes and pictures.
Press and hold the left mouse button to create a stream of sand; double-clicking will result in a steady, continuous flow. The [C] key brings you to the color picker, where you can choose the hue of your sand; dragging between two colors will produce a very nice gradient effect. You can press [E] to erase any false starts or less-than-pleasing pictures, and anything you love can be submitted to a gallery of thousands of user-created masterpieces!
This is Sand is a joint project of the designers Johanna Lundberg and Jenna Sutela, and Flash programmer Timo Koro. Together they have created a playground of color and sound, and I enjoyed it very much for its relaxing, meditative qualities; listening to the gentle hiss of the falling sand (the game's single sound) and watching the gradually forming images was both relaxing and engrossing. Unfortunately, the toy is, by its very nature, limited. I found it difficult to create shapes other than pyramids or jagged-edged linear protrusions; curves were next to impossible. This is true to the toy's mechanics, but nonetheless can eventually become tedious. Also, at this point, the only "sandbox" available to players is the entire screen, which is quite a lot of space to fill and also creates a certain sameness in every picture; I think it would be really cool to have smaller, differently shaped spaces to fill in with sand as well (like a curvy bottle shape, for example).
Still, despite its limitations, This is Sand is an enjoyable and relaxing way to express a little creativity, or to just escape from the everyday grind for a few moments of Zen.
Cheers to Origamimarie for suggesting this one! =)