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Sandcastles are fun for all the family, from the littlest hands to the grown-ups. They’re super simple and safe to make, can be done by yourself or as a way of bringing everyone together for some family bonding. They’re perfect for an afternoon on the beach out in the sun or for a rainy afternoon indoors. That’s right; follow this easy method for making play sand to bring holiday highlights to your garden or kitchen table. We’ve also pulled together some top tips on how to build an ACE sandcastle!
Create Your Own Play Sand
You might be lucky enough to be spending your summer holidays by the sea. If not, all you need is flour and baby oil to make your very own sand to build with. This will create a soft and mouldable substance that’s perfect for castles, animals and all sorts of shapes. If you’re making it yourself, you can also add glitter, colourings and scents – a perk you won’t get if you’re playing with the real stuff!
Mix together 5 cups of plain flour with 1 cup of baby oil to get a perfect consistency. Unfortunately oil and water don’t mix so traditional food colourings won’t work, but you can use powdered paints to add colour, colourful glitter for some extra sparkle and a couple of drops of essential oils such as lavender for an even better smell. Mix these into the dry flour before adding the oil for an even consistency.
1. Grab whatever’s on hand to help construction – buckets, spades, plastic utensils, baking moulds or cutters, tubs of different shapes and sizes.
2. Start with a strong foundation. Smooth out the area you want to build on, making sure that it’s compact. If you’re using real sand, keep adding water. You can never use too much as any excess will just drain away.
3. Create the main structure with buckets or tubs packed firm then gently tipped out. If you’re going for a tall construction, build it up gradually and pack down each level. Again, with real sand, keep adding extra water once it’s turned out. Extremely wet sand will stick to the inside of the bucket – we’ve all been there before!
4. Add to the main structure by hand, building turrets, walls and staircases. Let your creativity run wild! Dig a moat and if you’re feeling brave, carve out some archways.
5. If the bigger children or grown-ups are going for a more intricate finish, carve a little detail at a time. It’s easier to take sand away than add it back if you go too far.
6. Start the detailing process from the top and work down to avoid sand falling on an already finished section. Use a straw to gently blow away excess sand.
7. Draw patterns into the ‘walls’ for an easy way to make castles look much more detailed without risking the whole thing toppling over by adding or removing from the structure.
8. Decorate with pebbles, shells, buttons or anything you fancy. The play sand won’t be hard to wash off plastic items, so you really can use just about anything!