Be the king or queen of your castle!
Whether you’re on a beach at the cottage, on the dunes by the ocean or in a sandbox in the park, the urge to pile and pack grains sand into the shape of a fancy brown castle is one that strikes those both young and old.
There’s nothing wrong with a bucket-shaped castle adorned with a sticks and rocks, but if you want to really make a splash at the beach this summer, consider these tips from The Guardian and Martha Stewart Living to help you make the best castle on the block!
8 tips to build a better sandcastle
- Bring the right tools. As we said, there’s nothing wrong with a bucket-shaped castle, but if you really want to make it something special, bring tools like a small plastic shovel, measuring spoons, a ruler or wooden paint stirrer, a paint brush, an offset spatula and a plastic knife so you can smooth, mold and add lots of fun detail. And don’t forget that bucket!
- Plan it out. You don’t have to get too particular—it’s nice when a castle is created “as the spirit moves you”—but if you have lots of helpers, sketching out the base of the castle in the sand will help them see where they need to put the sand they’re going to be bringing in from other parts of the beach or sandbox.
- Dig and pound! Dig sand from other parts of the beach or sandbox and put it inside your sketch to form a large mound. Pound the sides of the mound with a shovel or your hands to make it nice and firm, and as you do, create a “bowl” shape so you have strong, sturdy sides that are slightly higher than the middle they surround.
- Add water. Carefully add water to the “bowl” making sure not to weaken the sides. If your castle is a large one, jump inside the bowl and stomp on the sand and water until the water is absorbed. Keep adding more water and more sand until the middle is nice and firm and as high as the sides. This will give you a good, firm castle base. Don’t worry too much about smoothing out the sides of the base just yet. That comes at the end.
- Mold. Use different size plastic buckets and plant pots to create basic shapes on top of your base. Fill your containers to overflow with dampened sand, press down firmly, level off, and then turn out onto your base. You can then use all the tools you’ve brought to carve and embellish.
- Carve. It’s best to work from the top down so loose sand doesn’t mess up surfaces you’ve already perfected. Use a paintbrush to brush away any little piles of loose sand that form while you’re carving. Remember that once you’ve carved away sand from your castle, it’s very hard to put it back, so go slowly and take a little away at a time until you’re happy with your design.
- Embellish Shells, sea glass, pinecones, pebbles and flowers are perfect for prettying up your castle. And since they’re all natural objects, you can leave them behind at the end of the day without worrying about littering. Park sandbox rules may require that you remove rocks and other objects from the sandbox, so double check before leaving your masterpiece.
- Snap a shot. One of the beautiful things about sandcastles is that they only last for a short time. Rain, wind or the tide coming in will eventually wash away all your hard work, so make sure to snap some pictures of your sandcastle along with all the friends who helped you build it.
Children never forget the feeling of putting their hands into warm, damp sand and turning it into magical castles in the sun. The feeling of accomplishment and the creativity and imagination they tap into is priceless.
411948F CAN/US (07/15)