Make a Sandcastle You Can Keep!

What You Need:

  • Sand (about 4 cups)
  • Cornstarch (about 2 cups)
  • Water (about 2 cups)
  • Old pot
  • Stir stick
  • Shells (for decorating)
  • Piece of square flat cardboard
  • Bowl of water

What You Do:

1. Mix the sand and cornstarch in an old pot.  Make sure it's one that you won't use anymore to cook your family’s meals, because the sand and cornstarch can really scratch up a good pot. (And you don’t want your next chicken dish to taste like the beach!)

2. Have your child measure 2 cups water. Pour the water into the sand and cornstarch mixture and heat on the stove over low heat. (This part may be best for grown-ups only.)

3. Keep stirring until the sand is close to the consistency of very thick mud.


4. Cool the mixture in another bowl.  Lay some newspaper down in an area outside where your child will work with the sand.  Keep the piece of cardboard handy for when she is ready to build her castle.


5. Once the mixture has cooled, dump it onto the newspaper outside.  Make sure the mixture is completely cooled before letting your child dig in. As you wait for it to cool, ask your child to predict what the mixture will feel like. 


6. Have your child knead the mixture until it feels like Play-doh.  If the sand starts to dry out, wet your child's hands. (Keep a bowl of water handy for this purpose.)


7. And now the real fun begins: have your child free-form a castle onto the piece of cardboard. Talk about creating different forms – a square castle perhaps, or a tall and pointy one. This is a great opportunity to talk about different shapes and the similarities and differences between them. Talk about using your imagination to plan and make different castles. And don't be afraid to make your own sand castle too! 


8. Before the sand dries, apply shells around the castle to give it an extra, beachy touch. 

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