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To be completely inept at building sandcastles and beg for your help?

(29 Posts)
TheArtistFormerlyKnownAs Wed 03-Aug-16 10:13:04

This is our first family beach trip that my DCs are old enough to actually build sandcastles, and they are very excited to watch me build them. I have lovely and quite possibly imaginary childhood memories of building fantastic creations with all kinds of levels, bridges, tunnels, moats, etc., but unfortunately, my efforts so far are not remotely living up to my memories. My castles are pathetic small lumps that don't even stick together. Even my 3-year-old is unimpressed. I'm no architect but is this really that hard?? I would be eternally grateful for any sandcastle-building tips. Any suggestions for how to improve? Or what "tools" to use, beyond a few plastic buckets and spades from poundland?

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Wed 03-Aug-16 10:20:45

Some sand isn't really great for sand castles anyway. It needs to be a decent consistency! That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!
Weymouth is awesome, Ventnor was always crap!

It shouldn't be too wet or too dry. That bit of the beach where you leave footprints is the best.

Pack the bucket as tightly as possible. Tap the top smartly several times and lift carefully. Or just scrap the bucket and build a huge mound with a moat, they'll have far more fun just jumping on it than they would from any bucket made castle.

BorpBorpBorp Wed 03-Aug-16 10:23:03

Dig down a bit deeper to get slightly wet sand, pack the sand in tight to the bucket, turn out in one quick movement, hit hard on the top with the spade, lift off gently.

Don't try to go too high with the main castle - try a circle of multiple baileys, then a single bucket of castle on a mound in the middle. Moat round the outside.

Level your surface and dig your moat first.

Or sack off the whole thing and dig a sand boat instead, sit inside with an ice cream.

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Wed 03-Aug-16 10:26:11

We used to build sand boats, cars, and aeroplanes, and do just that Borp why did ice cream taste so much better?

seventhgonickname Wed 03-Aug-16 10:36:02

Take a spade!Build when the tide is coming in and dig a channel down the beach so the moat fills.y grandmother used to make us build a table to eat our picnic from and we turned them into castles after while the adults dozed.I feel quite nostalgic thinking about gritty Sarnies

seventhgonickname Wed 03-Aug-16 10:36:52

Don't forget to take photos

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Wed 03-Aug-16 10:44:06

Burying someone* from the neck down in sand is also fun.
*get their permission first, preferably a person you know. grin

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Wed 03-Aug-16 10:47:43

Serious point, if you dig a very large hole, let the DCs fill it back in,maestros it before you leave the beach. They CAN be dangerous (especially if you add a tunnel)

BillyNotQuiteNoMates Wed 03-Aug-16 10:48:20

No idea what maestros has to do with anything!

SpaceDinosaur Wed 03-Aug-16 10:51:51

Slightly damp,
Pack in as tightly as you can
Twat on the head with your spade a few times
Wiggle and lift.

Don't use "castle" moulds until you're really proficient. They only disappoint. Honest to god start with yoghurt pots and butter tubs.

cestlavielife Wed 03-Aug-16 11:04:14

grew up on a beach and won sandcastle competition age 12 with my younger siblings!

get a decent spade for you. one with a metal spade bit.


or decent plastic like

use this to dig out a whole heap of sand and pile it into a heap. you will find yourself digging a moat by default.

then use the buckets with the exposed damp sand to make shaped turrets to go on top. pat down the sides decorate with shells seaweed etc

you will also need a decent spade if you are digging out boats planes etc.

for boat draw the shape and dig out - lower for the bottom of boat, less low to make seats. the sand you dig out becomes the edges of the boat.

give the small kids the small inefficient plastic spades to use

Bettercallsaul1 Wed 03-Aug-16 11:06:54

I can't make sand castles either but it's on my bucket list.

trevortrevorslatterfry Wed 03-Aug-16 11:08:40

bettercallsaul1 <groan> grin

cestlavielife Wed 03-Aug-16 11:13:14

you are aiming for something like this as a boat - you can sit in it and row off...

but if you can manage this.... well..

cestlavielife Wed 03-Aug-16 11:17:02

for a sand castle aim first for this

before working up to more dramatic

AndroidAddict Wed 03-Aug-16 11:53:59

I really, really, really don't want to be a killjoy but please don't bury people up to their necks in the sand as it can be extremely dangerous - if the tide comes in and the sand gets more waterlogged it can be very hard to dig that person out of the hole.
Sorry for spoiling the thread sad

Toddlerteaplease Wed 03-Aug-16 12:22:50

Android, I was just about To say the same thing. Kids have died doing that. Borp, your paragraph about multiple bailies just made laugh till I cried and almost chocked on my tea!

VioletBam Wed 03-Aug-16 12:25:42

Android Aren't you confusing digging tunnels with burying your friend?

Surely the poster meant this

That's not dangerous.

Inertia Wed 03-Aug-16 12:40:04

My top tips:

Clear the surface dry sand until you reach damp sand beneath, and level off your surface.

Fill the bucket with damp sand (you can dig the moat to do this, but don't use over-wet sand.

This is the key- once the bucket is full, press into the sand with your heel or the heel of your hand. Top up the bucket with extra sand, then press and refill once more. This will fill any air gaps which lead to crumbly edges.

Quick tip over, and hard taps with the spade on all turrets.Lift bucket off slowly and gently.

TrickyD Wed 03-Aug-16 13:49:05

I am a keen sandcastle builder, but I agree that the consistency of the sand is important. I bought a couple of secondhand sand-castle books on Amazon. One recommendation was to spray detailed bits of your creation with PVA glue to make them more stable. I duly packed a small plain bottle if it. DH complained vociferously at the way the 'sun tan lotion' was very hard to apply and strangely sticky.

AndroidAddict Wed 03-Aug-16 14:23:17

No Violet, someone upthread mentioned burying someone up to their neck. I remember watching an episode of myth busters where they did this as an experiment and the person couldn't get out of the sand.
As I said though, sorry if I'm being a bit of a misery.
I do love building sandcastles but I'm not artistic or creative so normally just stick with the bucket and spade!

VioletBam Wed 03-Aug-16 15:10:32

Android I'm sure they mean like the image I posted though. It's a turn of phrase.

I mean who digs a 5 feet deep hole and gets someone to stand in it?

I've never heard of an accidental death like that. I have heard of people dying in very deep holes and tunnels which have collapsed.

ILostItInTheEarlyNineties Wed 03-Aug-16 16:12:38

Oops sorry, I did suggest burying someone up to their neck in sand blush. I meant a person lying down on the sand, and covering them with a sort of mound of sand but obviously didn't explain that.
The consequences of burying a person alive in a deep hole don't bear thinking about. shock
Hopefully, the OP didn't take my words literally.

Hope you had a more successful day of castle construction, OP

<awaits photos of sand castles, with turrets, moats and draw bridges..>

AndroidAddict Wed 03-Aug-16 16:23:36

I appreciate the dangers of collapsing sand tunnels but some people really are daft enough to bury their children up to their necks in the sand (this website even shows kids having fun and parents helping them bury themselves right up to their necks) and I'm merely saying that this should be avoided because it's also very dangerous.

AndroidAddict Wed 03-Aug-16 16:25:59

Like Joey, lostit grin

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