A day on the beach just isn’t complete unless you’ve built a sandcastle. It’s the quintessential ‘beach activity’ and can be enjoyed by both adults and kids alike. If you hang out on beaches long enough you are bound to see some pretty amazing sand creations. It’s fun to stroll the beach and see the masterpieces that other people have created. The truth is, building a great sandcastle isn’t as hard as you think. With just a few simple tools and the right kind of sand you will be on your way to creating sandcastles that will wow other beach goers.
What You Need:
To build the perfect sandcastle you only need a few things. Water, sand and a few simple digging and carving tools.
Step One: Pick the Perfect Sand
The most important part of building any sandcastle is using the right sand. If the sand isn’t wet, it’s not going to work. When water is added to sand the liquid cements the granules together. Additionally, wet sand that has been well ‘packed’ is easier to shape and carve. The right consistency is very important. To test whether or not the sand has the right amount of water try this; form a sand ball…just like you would with snow. If the ball sticks together it’s the right consistency for building sandcastles.
Step 2: Water
Dry sand can be made into the perfect consistency by adding water. You might have more luck making dry sand the right consistency by soaking it with water, than just hoping to find the right kind of sand near the water’s edge. If you choose sand that is further away from the shore’s edge it will be less likely to wash away in waves.
Step 3: Packing It Down
Most ‘pro’ sandcastle builders avoid using buckets to build their creations. That is, they don’t place wet sand in a bucket and then turn it over to form bricks or towers. This is because the water in the sand tends to form a vacuum in the bucket which makes the sand stick to the sides. If you’ve ever heard the sand make a sucking, squelching sound when you overturn the bucket, you’ve been a victim to the sand ‘vacuum’. Instead of filling the bucket or brick with sand try this: pack the wet sand down and then place the bucket or brick over the top to shape it. This avoids the vacuum problem.
Step 4: Dig a Water Hole
You’re going to need to keep re-wetting your sand as you build. The best way to do this is to dig your own water hole. To do this dig and dig until you hit water. Then enlarge it slightly so that your bucket can fit inside it to scoop water out. This will self-replenish your water and save you from making trip after trip to the water to fill up your bucket.
*CAUTION* When you are a finished building your sandcastle be sure to thoroughly fill in the water hole. Pack it down and make sure it is solid. Small children can fall into loosely filled holes and be severely injured.
Step 5: Build Your Castle
Now you are ready to scoop and dig and carve your masterpiece. When it comes to sandcastles anything goes! Remember that anything that falls apart can be easily repaired with a little bit of water, a little bit of packing, and a little bit of carving. Try different kinds of tools and experiment with different shapes, textures and materials. The sky is truly the limit. Be sure and take lots of pictures when you are finished. Create a scrapbook with your children or grandchildren and document each sandcastle you make. These are memories that will always be cherished, and are especially fun to pull out on cold, snowy winter days!
For some great sandcastle ideas check out this link.
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