Summer in the Twin Cities: Build a Sandcastle With Kids

sandcastle with boy at water

Building sandcastles with kids is not about creating the perfect sandcastle or becoming professional sand sculptors. As a kids activity it is about together time, sensory experiences and creating summer memories. You don’t even really need the right tools; an impromptu family build on a sandy beach using bare hands can be enough for kids to create the sandcastles of their dreams. It’s time to get creative and make the best sandcastle you’ve got whether it’s a huge mountain of sand or a small intricate cottage.

However, if you want to make a little more out of your adventure and build a really cool sand castle, read on for a few steps to make sand castle building fun for the whole family.

Step One: Get Excited for a Sandy Adventure

We recommend reading The Sandcastle That Lola Built by one of our favorite local authors, Megan Maynor. This fun story is read in the style of This is the House that Jack Built and focuses on friendships that are created during the course of building a sand castle (again and again). While building sand castles can be discouraging when things go wrong, the fun is in the process.

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Step Two: Pack Your Beach Bag and Gather Your Tools

Pack your beach bag with all your necessities – sun block, swimsuits, towels and snacks. Then add these tools:

Black backpack with a rainbow heart patch packed with supplies for a day out with kids

Step Three: Pick Your Location

Build your sandcastle at one of our many local beaches, a local park or even in your backyard sandbox. Remember you need wet sand, so plan for a spot with lots of water or a source of water – like a hose. If you don’t have a great source of water (like the Stone Arch Bridge sandbox pictured below), choose a day after a rainstorm.

Step Four: Time to Build!

So, as we mentioned above, we are not sandcastle masters, but we have learned a few tricks from from experts to incorporate into our building techniques. Run Wild My Child is a California-based family website. Obviously, they get more beach weather in San Diego than we do here in Minneapolis. They have some great advice for how to prepare your sand and set the foundation with a “plot and jiggle” technique, and how to stack, carve and tidy your tower. They even have instructions for adding ramparts and sturdy bridges.

girl digging in sand
Little girl building sand castle

Look around the beach for decorations. Shells are not plentiful around here, so bring your own or get creative. Leaves make great flags and rocks look like pretty bricks in your sand wall.

Step Five: Don't Forget to Build a Moat

You have to have a moat filled with water for any proper sand castle. Younger builders will love carving sand into a pit around their castle with plastic shovels and filling the dry sand moat with water.

Two small children digging a moat on the beach
The smallest kids love digging moats to fill with water

Step Six: Godzilla Time

Half the fun of building a sandcastle is stomping it down like a monster. Just make to stick to your own sandcastle. We don’t need to end our day with a sibling fight.

Half the fun is kicking down your sandcastle

Sandcastle Adventures Through Creative Play

Bring your sandcastle fun home with some sandy arts and crafts or science experiments. 

A drawing in sand of a bucket and shovel sandcastle

Sandcastle Adventures Around Town

July 29, 2023: Sandcastle Contest

Orono Park, 18599 Gary St, Elk River, MN 55330
Join a sandcastle contest at Elk Riverfest. Some tools will be available or you can bring your own. Sign up for this event the day of when you arrive at the beach. 10am-12pm. Learn more here.

July 30, 2023: Sunday Funday: Bob and the Beachcombers

Bush Lake Beach, 9140 East Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington, MN 55438
Join this beach party featuring a sandcastle contest, beach music and beach games. 4pm-6:30pm. Learn more here.

August 2-12, 2023: Hot Art! Sand Mold Tiles

Caponi Art Park, 1220 Diffley Rd, Eagan, MN 55123
Register for an all ages workshop at Caponi Art Park. earn how to make open-faced sand molds in the design of your choice (a sandcastle?) during the week leading up to the August 12th Hot Iron pour. Cost is $35/mold and it is best for families with small children to work together. Pre-register for the workshop of your choice. Learn more and register here.

August 11, 2023: Global Kinetic Sand Day

I don’t know who made up this holiday. I’m pretty sure this website and the kinetic sand industry just made this day up. But, we’ll play along. The Minnesota Children’s Museum has a really simple recipe for making your own Kinetic sand out of play sand, cornstarch and cooking oil.

Any Time:

Share Your Own Idea With the Community

We would love to hear your ideas for an adventure building with sand. Leave a comment and we'll share with the community.

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