Days out diary - child friendly and family activities

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What does a castle, dragon, face and a turtle pianist have in common?

Sand

Sandcastle, Dragon sand sculpture, Sand-face and a Turtle playing a piano on the beach.

Toddlers and sandcastles

There is something about sand that kids love. I certainly used to enjoy playing in the sand when I was younger and my two children both love playing in the sand. The problem is that my youngest child is a toddler who enjoys jumping on the sandcastles just as much as creating them. Normally he jumps on top the moment the castle comes out of the bucket; the photo below is about as much as we've been able to keep intact before he destroyed it. In this case my wife had to distract our toddler by burying his feet whilst I helped our older daughter (5 years old) to make as many castles as we could in a few minutes.

Sandcastle on the beach near Butlins Minehead

Sandcastle made during our holiday at Butlins Minehead 2010.

Sand sculptures

Whilst recently visiting Scarborough we saw the following sand sculptures featuring a Dragon and a Turtle playing a piano. These were made by two different sculptors on the same beach.

Sanddragon on Scarborough beach

[I didn't get the name of this sculptor please let me know if you recognise this]

Sand sculpture - Turtle pianist at Scarborough

By Roger's Sand Sculptures

Seaside art

Unfortunately I don't think I'm quite up to creating a proper sand sculpture, but there are other things that you can do with a bit of imagination. So my daughter and I created this sandface whilst on Bridlington beach during the same weekend.

Sandface created from seaweed and stones on Bridlington beach

The beach at north Bridlington had a good variety of stones and seaweed all over the beach and so made this sand art easy to achieve.

How to make the perfect sandcastle

Back on the subject of sandcastles it seams that I've been doing it all wrong. Making the classic mistake of patting the sand out from the bottom of the bucket whereas I should be patting the sides instead.

Butlins have teamed up with sand sculpture Mark Anderson to provide masterclasses for parents wanting to perfect your sandcastle making techniques. These are being run at the three Butlins resorts at Minehead, Skegness and Bognor Regis during August 2010. Butlins guests can pick up a step by step guide from the Infunmation Point or nurseries on resort.

You can view a short video with the top tips on the Butlins website: The perfect sandcastle at Butlins.

You can see examples of Mark Anderson's amazing sand sculptures at www.sculpturesinsand.com.

Sand Guru Mark Anderson said: "I spend every summer on the beach and year after year I see families making simple mistakes that result in a lack of sandcastle success. So I'm pleased to be able to teach families how to create their own mini masterpieces with the first ever sandcastle workshops at Butlins."