From Panama Jack — August 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm

7 Best Beach Alternatives to Sand Castles

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©istockphoto/Nadezhda1906

©istockphoto/Nadezhda1906

Building sandcastles on the beach is a tried and true tradition for every summer vacation, but once you’ve got the first one under your belt what do you do next? Never fear, because there are plenty of other things to be made in the sand. Next time you’re lounging on the beach and need something to distract the kids, give these sand creations a shot.

Ball Runs
You can purchase small plastic balls at any dollar store in a beach town, and you might want to stock up on a few for this. If you’re crashing on a beach with a steep angle, take a small shovel and start digging thin trenches in the sand. You want them to be long enough to hold the ball inside but not too deep. Create lines heading down toward the water in different directions and let the ball go at the top. Your kids will have a blast watching them tumble to the ocean, or you can even race them!

Wading Pools
If you have children not quite big enough to handle the surf, but still want to splash around in the water, then you’re going to need a wading pool. Take a couple of shovels a dig a pit in the sand a little above where the tide rolls in. Make it roughly five by five feet so there’s plenty of room for the kids to splash around. Then dig a couple of trenches from the water to the pool so when the water rolls in it’ll steadily fill the pool. Just remember to fill it back in when you’re done.

Sand Animals
Rather than go for the classic sandcastle, try teaching your kids to make sand animals instead. Turtles are a popular starter thanks to their pretty familiar shape. You just need a little damp sand to mold and shape the shell, head and flippers. Some other great alternatives are starfish, dolphins and, if you’re feeling frisky, maybe an octopus.

Sand Jar Candle
This one is about as easy to make as it gets and is a great souvenir! Buy a few mason jars at your local dollar store and fill them up with sand about halfway. You can also layer in some seashells to give it a little flourish and touches of color. Then top it off with a votive candle! These are great to take home and set outside during summer cookouts with friends.

Sand Towers
Creating epic sand towers is a fun exercise because it can often be treated like a game. How high can you go? There are many methods to this with the most obvious being just piling damp sand on top of itself until it can go no more. A slightly more difficult one is to fill sand buckets with damp sand and try to stack each layer on top of one another without toppling it over. It’s kind of a reverse Jenga on the beach.

A Sandman
Who says you need snow to make a snowman? Make one with sand, instead! You’ll need to use wet sand from right up against the water for this one. You’ll collect enough to form a round ball and then squeeze out as much water as you can. Then, add dry sand and mix and cover it a little until it forms a fairly solid ball. You can make them as big as you’d like. Stack them on top of each other than add seashells and sticks to for the face and arms!

A Drip Castle
Drip castles are a great play on the traditional sandcastle. You start by building a base the way you normally would. Instead of continuing to shape and stack your castle, combine water and sand until it forms a pancake like consistency. Then hold the sand above your base and let it slowly drip down on top from your hand. You can move your hands around to help form shapes. It’s a fun, neat way to spice things up!

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