Sand castles don't have to stay on the beach. Whether you are at home, in a classroom or even in your own backyard, your preschooler can use a sand and glue mixture and some basic art materials to create magical castles that rival their beach counterparts.
Safety should be your number one concern when creating any craft-type project with your preschooler. The young child may try to eat or chew on arts materials or can easily misuse items by throwing or tossing them in the air or at other children. While there are numerous gooey and sticky glues to choose from, it is vital that you select a nontoxic type that is specifically age-graded for your preschooler. Look for the Art and Creative Materials Institute (ACMI) certification logo on children's art products to insure that the item is nontoxic. Only use clean play or craft sand that is designed to be used by children.
Although glue and sand are the basic components, you will also need to gather a few additional items. The glue and sand mixture will not stand on its own; you will need a form or armature for support. Reuse pieces of old cardboard boxes or a shoe or cereal box to create the architectural structure of the castle. Paper towel tubes and tissue boxes are also easy items to turn into towers and other castle parts. You will also need tape to hold the castle structure together, a plastic bowl or bucket to mix the glue and sand, a stirrer or large craft stick and a thick-bristled paintbrush to apply the mix.
Making the Mixture
There are numerous recipes for glue and sand mixtures available for free online at sites such as Preschool Education, Artists Helping Children and Daycare.com. One simple way to mix up a sandcastle recipe is to use 10 parts sand to one part nontoxic school glue and three parts water. For example, if you are making a colossal castle or mixing up a batch for a classroom of preschoolers, add 10 cups of sand, 1 cup of nontoxic glue and 3 cups of water to a bucket. Mix with a large paintbrush or stick. For a smaller castle, use small disposable cups instead of a measuring cup. If you find the mixture too runny, simply add more sand. If the sand isn't mixing well, add a bit more glue.
After your mixture is ready, your preschooler can begin to make the castle. Place a plastic sheet or newspaper on the floor or other work surface. Encourage him to help you stir and mix the recipe with a large paintbrush. Help him to tape together cardboard pieces or boxes to form the structure. Brush on the glue and sand mixture to coat the castle. Allow the sand castle to dry overnight before use.
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