Sand Castles with a Splash of Community

During those summer beach vacations and quick trips to the shore, we would bring many things.  Rolling coolers, chairs, games, and the oversized “Bentley” military bag full of sand construction equipment.  By the way, thank you Doug for the many years of use we put into that bag.  It held up well.  Our apologies for the permanent seaweed smell upon it’s return to your son.

After selecting where our “home base” of chairs and foodies would rest, the boys and I would check out the water and weigh out the perfect not-too-sandy spot for that morning’s castle.  If the tide was coming in, we’d give it a little more room so we’d have time to build.  We’d use the shovel to sketch out the basic shape of our castle such as a fish, starfish, turtle, or just a plain square and then commence digging the mote around the shape.  We’d dig and pile sand and pour buckets of water into the middle of our castle to keep it firm.  We were always so excited to create that it would be by the end of hour one we’d remember to put sunscreen on.  *blop, scratch scratch, blop, scratch*  By now we’ve learned to put on sunscreen at home so we would avoid this initial gravel rash application.

By the end of hour 2 the boys would have moved onto collecting shells and constructing various flags made from seaweed and drift wood.  They would decorate the village houses surrounding the castle and finish off with drippy trees.  How do you make drippy trees?  Well, first you fill a bucket half with sand and the rest of the bucket with water.  Scoop your hand into the bucket bringing out a fist of dripping wet sand and hold it over the desired tree spot.  If you hold your hand like you’re milking a cow, the sand will drip out the bottom creating a tree.  Continue until you achieve your desired tree size.  🙂  Now feel your hands.  Silky smooth.  Boom.

During the project, neighboring children would watch and finally asked if they wanted in on the building action.  For the most part everyone cooperated, there were no power or design struggles.  Surprisingly the kids all work peacefully and with purpose.  So fun to see this rare sight.

If we timed it right, by sandcastle’s completion the tide will have reached the castle filling the mote, bringing life to the project.  At this point, the beach game changes from “Build the Castle” to “Defend the Castle”.  The boys and newly made friends thought this was the coolest thing.  They would set up their boogie boards as a breaker wall to stop the waves crashing.  A wall would fall and we’d be quick to repair it.  The hustle.  The adventure.  The knights so brave.  Noble causes on a sandy beach.  But soon the tide would be too strong and overtake our beloved art.  The trumpets of retreat had to be blown and on the count of three everyone jumped on the thing we defended for most of the morning.  With high fives our new beach buds would leave and we’d head back to home base for sand-wiches and Pringles.

Funny, Nichole and Kory visited the beach a few weeks ago.  She told me of their sand castle and drippy trees.  Honestly, I had a deep sand castle moment and smiled with pride.

Keep being creative, family.

Time for creativity and defending the castle!
Time for creativity and defending the castle!

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