Swimming, diving, sunbathing, and snorkeling are just a few of the fun activities that go with a getaway to the beach. But no beach vacation is complete without building a few sandcastles while watching the waves break on the shore. This summer, why not set your mind to making the best sandcastle on the beach? While I'm more of an expert on carports and metal garages, I also know a thing or two about sandcastles: Check out these tips to help you make one fit for any king or queen.
Starting Your Sandcastle
Sand, water, and a bucket are the basic elements needed for a sandcastle, but other things can be useful: You might want a shovel, a plastic fork, and plastic cups for molding shapes and adding details. Choose a location for your sandcastle, then dig a hole nearby. Dig until you see water begin to puddle at the bottom of the hole. You can use this water to keep your sand wet, so it sticks together as you build. Mix one part water and one part sand in a bucket for your building material. If you can roll a ball of sand in your hands without it falling apart, then you have the right consistency for your creation. Make a foundation for your castle by setting down flat layers of wet sand and tamping them down with your hands or a shovel, kind of like a stack of pancakes. Once you have a strong foundation, you're ready to create your design.
Sculpting Your Castle
Walls, towers, moats, and bridges are just some of the features you can put into your castle. Sometimes, it's helpful to draw a rough sketch of your sandcastle's design on a piece of paper to use as a guide.
Use the same pancaking method of building your walls as you did your foundation. Shape and flatten them with your hands until the sand solidifies.
The easiest way to make a tower is to get a bucket with a hole in its bottom. Turn the bucket upside down and begin dropping wet sand into the hole. When the upside-down bucket is full, pull it off to reveal a tower! I like the idea of using different sized buckets and large cups to make a variety of towers.
Bridges and Moats
If you want to make a bridge, put it between two towers that are a few inches apart. Make a bridge with your palm between the towers, and stack wet sand on your hand. With your other hand, tamp down the sand and secure it to both towers. For a bridge to hold up, you need a good supply of wet, compact sand. Then, dig a shallow moat around your castle by dragging your small shovel through the sand.
Unique Design Details
You may want to go the extra mile with your sandcastle by adding some meaningful details. For instance, you could put a small plastic alligator in your moat with its head peeking up. Or you might want to make brick designs on your walls with a cookie cutter or a plastic knife. Use plastic drinking cups to mold the tops of your towers and a spoon to scoop out windows. You may even plant a miniature flag on the top of one of your towers.
Tips for Keeping Your Creation in One Piece
The best tip for keeping your sandcastle intact for a while is to use wet sand in its construction and use the hand-stacking technique when making its features. Another good tip is to choose its location very carefully. You don't want to build your beautiful sandcastle only to see the tide come in and take it out to sea!
Of course, you can approach building your sandcastle in a more scientific way, but I like the idea of using your hands and creativity to end up with a castle you admire. Happy building, and thanks for reading. - Alan