Grab the kids and head to the shore! Build the best sand castles – or anything your hearts desire – using these guidelines.

Assemble Your Tool Kit

To build the best sand castle, you’ll need the right tools. Start with our kids beach bucket and tools – the bucket, shovel and rake are great for beginners. You can also utilize tools from the kitchen that will add variation to the sand castle structure and help with detail work. Suggestions:

  • Plastic cups and funnels to vary to size and shape of towers
  • Measuring spoons for creating windows and doors
  • Offset spatula for carving
  • Paint stick or ruler to smooth walls
  • Plastic knife for details
  • Drinking straws to blow away excess sand

Pack it all in a larger bucket you can use for water hauling, since you’ll want to keep a far enough distance from the waves so your castle doesn’t wash away.

Gather the Right Sand

The litmus test for the “right” sand? Pack sand into a small ball – you should be able to hold it in the palm of your hand without it falling apart. You’ll find this sand right below the tide line.

Bonus Tip: Keep a bucket of water on hand to keep sand moist while you’re building, especially on a sunny day.

Pack Sand Tightly

Whether it’s a simple one story or a multi-level, multi-winged dream castle, build a great foundation with densely packed sand. Do this by adding about six inches of sand at a time to the pile serving as your base, using the back side of a shovel to pack each layer tightly. Press down on sand inside buckets before flipping them over to create towers and other additions.

Bonus Tip: Make your base layer a little taller than the first floor of your castle, since you’ll be carving some of it away.

Shave Away Sand Gradually

Use tools to “shave” away thin layers of sand – you’ll have more control of the amount of sand you’re carving away. Think of it this way: it’s easier to take away more sand than it is to put it back.

sand castle

Create Details from the Top Down

Once you have your basic structure, go as crazy as you want with the details! We recommend starting at the top, as excess sand will inevitably fall downward. Use your larger tools to block out the basic shape of the design, and then use the smaller tools to create bridges, arches, windows, doors, stonework and more; you can use a straw to gently blow away sand you carve off the structure.

sand castle

Say Cheese!

Don’t forget to take pictures of your creation when it’s finished! Photos of your sand castle will preserve it long after the sand has washed it away and summer tans have faded.

What are your top tips for creating an awesome summer sand castle?

Sand Castle Images via Crystal Martin