Build a Better Sandcastle: Tips for Kids (and the Young at Heart!)

Sand-castle making certainly needn't be taken too seriously -- kids can see a "castle" in even the humblest pile of sand. Still, should you wish to take your building to the next level, all you need are some basic tools and wet sand (the wetter, the better).

To start, form a good foundation. Choose a site close to the water's edge. Draw your castle's perimeter in the sand and mound a big pile of sand inside it. Dig a hole in the center, fill with water, and tamp down. Add layers of sand and water until you have a firm, level mound.

Creating a Keep

Then create a central "keep." Fill three-quarters of a large plastic bucket with sand, top it with water and tamp firmly. Repeat until the bucket is full, and carefully flip it onto the middle of the mound. Tap the bucket to release the sand, and lift.

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Using Measuring Spoons

The best tools for sand-sculpting can be found in your kitchen. A measuring-spoon set is particularly useful for adding little details or carving out spaces in walls.

Making Turrets and Towers

For turrets and towers, fill milk or egg cartons, funnels, or yogurt tubs with equal parts sand and water.

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Packing the Sand Down

Pack firmly, top the containers with more sand and water, and then turn over in place.

Making a Roof

Use funnels to create a roof for the castle's top.

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