What You'll Need
Buckets and shovels are at the top of the list. Make sure to bring a variety of sizes before heading out and a spray bottle for water couldn't hurt. If you are building something super detailed, think about bringing a few drinking straws to blow away the excess sand) and a plastic knife for carving.
Plan Your Spot
No one wants their sandcastle to be washed away immediately so be sure that you don’t build your creation too close to the ocean. It is always a good idea to check out the times of both high and low tide before you start digging. That said, don't head too far up the beach. You want to be somewhat close to your water source, or you'll spend the whole day hiking around chairs and umbrellas.
Map Out Your Design
Use your shovel, or even your fingers, to sketch out the space you'll need for your castle. That way if you've got a bunch of small helpers, everyone helping knows exactly where to start building.
Shovel sand from outside the lines to the center of your building zone to form a larger pile around the edges. Using the back of your shovel, pack in the sides down until they are about a foot high. Your goal is to make something that looks like a bowl (or the top of a volcano), and is able to hold water.
Get Some Water
Add several buckets of water to the center of your "bowl" and pour evenly, so there won’t be any dry spots. Now here’s the fun part, hop in the middle and jump! Stomp down on the big mud puddle until the water so that it sinks in. Then start taking the sand from the beach and adding it to the water. Keep adding more water and sand until the middle is the same height as the sides. Your goal is to have one really big solid mound of sand as your base.
It’s finally time to stop stomping and start building. Use your hands and shovels to shape your castle. Either by stacking the buckets against it, or around the top like turrets, or carving details into your big solid sand pile. You can even use that plastic knife to start carving in bricks if you want to get really detailed. Make sure to keep that water spray bottle on hand, or a bucket with water, just in case your sand starts getting too dry. Embellish your finish project with seashells or seaweed to give it a little beachside style.
Now is your only problem that you’re not sure what kind of castle you want to build? We have some inspiration for you.
This castle with stairs and a "rock" base may look a little ambitious, but if you start with a solid base and start carving away hunks from that solid sand you made, and this project is doable and will keep the family occupied for the entire afternoon.
Idea from: galleryhip.com
Or you could think smaller and focus your efforts on the details, with a tiny detailed structure like this one.
Idea from: TheFeeheryTheory.com
Having a big beach party? Make something like this amazing sculpture with hollowed out "caves" and lit with candles (real or fake).
Idea from: lightopiaonline.com
Want to break away from the castle mold? Think of all the cute animals you could make. We love this elephant! Use your shovels (and maybe some spoons) to dig out this intricate kind of shape.
Idea from: Dailymail.co.uk
You might need a week beach vacation for something like this, but it's nice to dream big. Express your inner Disney fan and take a go at making The Little Mermaid, Flounder, Sebastian, King Triton, and their underwater castle!
Idea from: x-weird/Disney