Good Old-Fashioned Playtime
How To: Sculpt a Sand CastleRequired: Wet sand and a bucket or a cup
“Most people don’t realize how much water it takes to make a good castle,” says Lucinda “Sandy Feet” Wierenga, a competitive sand-castle builder from South Padre Island, Texas, who has written three books on the subject.
- To avoid dragging buckets of water from the surf to the castle site, dig a hole deep enough to hit wet sand, and use that to build your structure, Wierenga says.
- To get sturdy walls, “take really wet sand in your hands and jiggle it into bricklike layers,” Wierenga says. You’ll get great compression, which is important for stability. Keep adding layers until the walls are as high as you’d like.
- If you want to create rounded, symmetrical towers, have an adult cut the bottom out of a plastic bucket or a large cup, place it fat-side down, and fill it with wet sand. Then tap the sides to release the sand before lifting off the cup.
How To: Build a SnowmanRequired: “A corncob pipe and a button nose and two eyes made out of coal…” No, really. You just need fresh snow and a few natural (read: found in the yard) accessories.
- Try to “strike when the snow is fresh and still loaded with moisture,” says Jason Currier, an Alaskan elementary-school teacher based near the Bering Strait. The newer the snow, the stickier it will be.
- Form a tight snowball in your hands, then add and pack the snow until it’s too big to hold.
- Place it on the ground and roll it across the snow to add more layers. “Try working out away from the final standing site, and in the final push for the large base, roll the bottom into the desired position,” Currier says.
- Repeat the process to make the midsize “torso,” and carve a flat surface on top of the base before lifting the ball onto it. Repeat for the head.
- Decorate. “We use regional fare, like beach rocks for eyes and willow branches for limbs, and mix food coloring with tap water to spray on a few details at the end,” Currier adds.
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