How To Build A Perfect Sand Castle or Sandcastle
No article on sandcastles would be complete without a display of some of these amazing pieces of sand art. The countless hours of labor that went into each one is mind-boggling.
To choose the perfect sandcastle of my childhood would be a daunting task. I have so many fond memories of golden days, spent at the beach - days made even more golden by time and distance.
I have been fortunate to build sandcastles on both our West and East coasts, as well as many a lakeshore, and I recall those warm, carefree days with pleasure.
In researching this Hub, I rediscovered some important facts and key concepts in sandcastle building. I am sure every child is familiar with these, but as some of us are a long way from our childhood years, I will reiterate them here.
Important Fact #1: Location, Location, Location
- Key Concept - You need sand to make sandcastles. The best sand is usually found at a beach on a preferrably warm, sunny day. Note: you can create some really neat castles in a sandbox, with the addition of a judicious amount of water, if push comes to shove.
- Key Concept - You also need some water. The best water for sandcastles is also found at beaches on a preferrably warm, sunny day, to ensure the water isn't too cold for wading. Note: see how neatly those two concepts dovetail?
Important Fact #2: You Gotta Have The Right Equipment
- Key Concept - Not all pails are created equal. Their performance can be both temperature and impact dependent. I have used metal pails (great for withstanding impact, not much fun on a chilly day), plastic pails, and rubber pails. My personal favorite is a colorful, high impact plastic. Quite frankly, rubber is nifty on a cool day, but simply won't hold its shape well in any kind of heat.
- Key Concept - Shovels are wonderful for digging and scooping, but the best tool for loading is usually your hand. Nothing can pack the sand in tighter. Shovels, though, are quite useful for adding a bit of water to your pail.
- Key Concept - Color co-ordination is fun but not necessary. Be free. Let your imagination fly. Any bright color will do as long as it pleases the user.
Important Fact #3: This Is Supposed To Be Fun
- Key Concept - There is only one key concept for this factoid. The object of the exercise is to have fun! Now, I realize we all define fun differently, but there are some common threads. Some of us enjoy the sheer accumulation of as many piles of sand as we can pile in one afternoon. Some of us prefer to knock them down. Then, there are those who re-define the word sandcastle.
- Sandcastles Contests California -kids vacations
Sandcastles are easy to build at California beaches. Professional sand sculptors say there are some great beaches for building sand castles with one of the favorites being Seal Beach because of the characteristics of the sand--not too course and not
- Sandcastle Contest - Cannon-Beach Net - Photos by George Vetter
Cannon Beach, Oregon's Annual Sandcastle Contest has been entertaining thousands since 1964 in this North Oregon Coast beach town on the Pacific Ocean
- Top 10 Sand-Castle Contests - CoastalLiving.com
See the winning, ephemeral works of art before they wash away.
- Sand Castle Tips and Tricks by sandy feet
Some useful tips and tricks for building and carving a better sand castle - no artistic experience required! Sandy feet has taught thousands of people how to have more beach fun and she can teach you, too.
I remember one very hot afternoon on the shore of Lake Winnipeg, standing in awe of several young men who were busily constructing a fortress on the beach. Their creation had many layers and ramps leading up to the dizzying heights. They built ramparts complete with crenelated towers to thwart even the strongest archers. They made a series of moats and filled them from a channel running to the water's edge.
After hours of careful planning and concentrated building, they were finally done. I was so happy for them because there was no tide to carry away the finished castle. It stood, a proud monument to their efforts, shining in the late afternoon sun.
The young men congratulated themselves and then walked away without a backward glance at their monument. They didn't care if the waves would wash their castle away, or some careless creature destroy their morning's work. They understood that the glory was in the doing. Simply to have done the thing, and to know that they had done the thing, was acknowledgment enough for them.
Nothing I ever created comes close to the artistry or imagination shown in these sand sculptures.
...and did you know, there are such creatures as professional sand artists? Well, I never, Martha! Sure sounds like my kind of a job, though.
Glorious as these creations are, though, I have always found it easier, by dint of temperament and experience, to create an even more ephemeral type of sandcastle. To muddle the metaphor a layer or two further, I am referring to building one's house upon the sands.
Not that one would ever deliberately choose to build one's house on an un-firm, or, if you will, an infirm foundation. It seems to me, though, that some of us do just that.
We put our trust in someone or something that turns out, in the end, to be unworthy of our trust. Perhaps it didn't start out that way, but suddenly it seems, we find ourselves with a set of very sharp teeth attached to our nether parts. The person or thing in which we misplaced our trust has turned on us and bitten us in the butt.
Then we all too often find our glorious castle in the clouds to be made of grossly inferior materials, and definitely built upon the shifting sand dunes of vagrant whim. Our poor little house is swept away with the turning tides of fickle fancy.
...but not all castles built from or upon sand come to an unhappy end.
...and no dissertation on sandcastles would be complete without a nod to those who enter sandcastle building contests.
Whether for fame or fortune, these hardy souls flock to our beaches and parks by the hundreds and the thousands to take up the challenge.
Their contributions to our mental health and spiritual well-being come in many forms.
From the city by the sea to more modest efforts, their joy in creation reaches out to us to waken our own recollections of sand and water.
I still love the feel of sand under my bare feet. I love to squish it between my toes at the water's edge.
I love to watch the children with their brightly colored pails and shovels as they, too discover the sheer fun of piling sand in a bucket and carefully decanting it in a heap - to build the perfect sandcastle.
© 2009 Text by Elle Fredine, All rights reserved