Playing in the Sand :: It's What Kids Do :: Art With Children
Sand, an amazing art form
Who has ever been to the beach, raise your hands! Have you ever tried to build a sand castle? Show of hands! Oh my the memories I have of building things out of sand, feeling the sand sifting though my fingers... Sand squeezing up between my toes.
Do you remember when it was funny when sand stuck to your skin, or got in your clothes and shoes? Back before it became uncomfortable and scratchy, back to the days when it was soft, and fun. Before we grew up and it became a nuisance, many people kept sand boxes for their children to play in, so that even if they didn't get to the beach, they played in the sand.
Sand is an amazing medium to work with, wet or dry. There is even aqua sand now that pretends to be a cross between sand and play dough, with colors and molds. It isn't the same as real sand and water, however. The real thing takes skill to master. If the sand is too wet is sinks, if it is too dry, it crumbles.
I remember working all day, up the beach on Lake Erie, so the surf wouldn't wreck my creation. I tried to preserve it by sprinkling a fine layer of sand over the damp body of the structure, only to have it begin to fall apart. More sand, more water, and more sculpting, I finally finished. No sooner had I heaved a sigh, than someone ran over my creation! A big foot print wear it used to be.
A teenager that was with our group came over and shook his head, "You guys watch out! You almost ran her over, and you messed up her sand castle."
"It wasn't much of a castle anyway." I told him. He sat down and started helping me rebuild. He explained that the structure needed a moat, so that it could have extra water to sustain it as the sun tried to dry it out. Two hours later a cross made of twigs stood atop our castle, and it was time to head in for dinner. I didn't want to leave. He told me not to worry, it would be there in the morning.
That castle stood for two days. People gave it a wide berth, and kept each other from stepping on it. When a new group of kids came to the lake on Sunday, one of them ran it over. The guy who had run over my first mediocre creation almost went to blows with the new kid. I stopped him. "It's okay, we're leaving in the morning anyway."
Almost fighting over a patch of sand, it's silly right? But we all looked at the devastated remains. After that first day others had added to the structure, and carefully rebuilt anything that started to fall. That was one of the best weekends of my life.
From childhood through adulthood, the beach is prevalent in our memories, our songs and our lives. Whether a make or the ocean, the sound and smell of the surf, and the soft allure of the sand, cannot be ignored.
Sand art has many forms, from the fingers of Kseniya Simonova, to the fingers of our children, to the adult sand sculptors who enter competitions all over the world, sand art is for the most part, temporary. Whether the weather, or time, or even the artists themselves, most sand art slips through our fingers.
The only way to preserve it is to film, or photograph it, sand sculptures are as fleeting as life. To spend a great amount of time and effort in creation, and then have it waste away so quickly, may seem sad, meaningless... But the time spent, and the finished product keeps us coming back for more, even though we know it will not last.
Every Day Sand
Sand + Heat + Air = Art
From Sand to Computer Chip
Uses of Sand
While you may not know it, you are playing in the sand right now, as you are reading this hub. The videos to the right show how much we use sand every day, and how you are using sand right now.
Sand is mostly made of silica and oxygen, but the composition of sand on beaches around the world is wide and varied, It is made from the erosion of rocks and therefor will contain the elements of those rocks, mica, quartz, and coral as well as lava and shell fragments. Putting sand under a microscope produces some amazing scenes.
Sand is used to make glass, from which come beautiful pieces of art, as well as bottles and drinking glasses we use every day. Glass is also used to make fiber optic cable, which is extremely fragile, and expensive to replace. And sand is used to make the chips inside your computer, and virtually every electronic product you use every day. There are even microprocessor chips in your car, so you could say that your car is another way you use sand.
Saying all of that is it any wonder that we don't have sand boxes as much as we used to. Sand has become more and more expensive, as the uses for it increases, and the commodity decreases, the price of sand naturally goes up.
I guess when I was young, I should have bought stock in sand!
Regardless of our Advances, Sand is Fun!
For young and old, from near and far, whether you are adept or a schlep, sand sculpture is fun. Whether you build the castle alone, with friends or with children, it is easy to get lost in the design.
I love the above video, because as I waited for children to appear, I soon realized it was a "manly man" sand project, with no children involved! So what am I doing sitting around here writing about it? I need to get to the beach and build a "womanly woman" sand project! You should too, manly man, or womanly woman, gather some friends or your children or neighbors with children and go build a sand something! Before all the sand gets used up as microchips.
Real People Building Castles with kids
The Above Video.
Sadly in the above video, while the children are trying to help, it appears after a while that, the adults pretty much take over! It's funny, but I wonder what the kids are thinking.
Even if you haven't got a beach nearby, you can certainly do something with sand. I found one video where the family decided to forgo the sand box and just dumped sand in the back yard! If you decide to do this, a few warnings.
- Clear an area or you will be wasting the sand. It is next to impossible to build any stable structure, out of sand, on grass.
- You might want to put some foundation to build your castle on, in this way you can cover the project with a tarp to keep animals from using it as a "litter box".
- You might be better off with a sand box with a cover.
- If you live near any type of ants, put a good "border" down, they love sand! Among the natural things you can use as your barrier, citrus peelings and water in a blender will make a mixture to keep them away.
So, get yourself together and figure out how you are going to use sand today, to brighten your life and have fun with your friends and family. There are rainy day art projects that can be done with sand. If you buy some poster board and glue you can make pictures with sand. You can buy colored sand and make artwork in glass jars or bottles.
An aluminum baking pan of sand with a depression and a couple of pine cones or pebbles for accents, makes a fine mold for candles. Don't let the kids near when pouring the hot wax! But the kids can lay out the mold, and you can melt down candle remnants and broken crayons to make a unique centerpiece candle.
- Use a rod or long wooden spoon, anything that will span the edges of your container, tie the wick around, and drop the end. weight the end of the wick, and cover the weight with sand.
- Fill your container with sand, make a depression, the size for your candle, and add decorations; they should be half in and half out of the candle, be sure the wick is centered. Some people use shells or pieces of drift wood in the sand cast candle to give it a beach feel. Use your imagination!
- Pour the wax and allow to set up over night. When the candle is completely set, it will easily shake free of the sand, leaving a coating of sand around the sides and on the base. Trim the wick, and you're done!
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