When I was a kid, we used to make something called a sandcastle. It was made from sand and in a child's imagination it might have resembled a castle. I’m guessing kids still do this, but I don’t really know in the post covid world and digital age.

   I hope they do, but if not, we can change it.

   All you needed was a small shovel or scoop, a dixie cup, and a whole lot of imagination. You didn’t need to know any building codes or have blueprints. Just an idea and the energy to do it. Oh, and sand.   

[ "Not a blueprint, or a floor plan. Just an idea of what it might look like and that it would be fun to try." ]

    The basic blueprint required for building sandcastles is that it will be fun. Usually, it was. Even knowing it was temporary. Knowing that tomorrow all the work you put into it would be gone. Like it had never been there before. Especially if you built it on the beach. The tide is unforgiving. But we had fun doing it anyway.

   It had no other purpose except that it was fun. It didn’t teach me to build a house. I never managed to get one that had any space inside. Mine were not exactly built to scale. Unless the scale was how much you enjoyed it. Just good old "FUN."

Building One

We start with possibilities

    To build a sandcastle the very first thing you have to have is an idea. Not a blueprint, or a floor plan. Just an idea of what it might look like and that it would be fun to try.

   So, you get your tools together. A pail, for water and sand, whichever one you need, a scoop or little shovel, or even a big spoon and pick your spot. And this is the funny part.

  "Even kids know that the sandcastles aren't meant to last."

    You can stretch it out by moving back from the tide line as much as possible, but deep down, you know it’s complete and utter destruction is imminent. And sometimes you build it just to watch it get washed away. Nature takes back what is taken from it and all.

Ideas become reality

    After you pick out your spot it’s time to get to work. Having fun. Getting sand piled up the way you want it too. A dixie cup full here, a pail full there. A few shovels in between. Get out the spoon and do some detail work. And viola, you just made a sandcastle.

   There are professional people out there who spend hours on a single sandcastle. The ones they make are more like works of art than just the fun stuff I did as a kid. Mine never looked like that. But I bet I had just as much fun making mine as they do. Probably more, it starts becoming real work at some point. I don’t know where that point is because I never got to it.

   Then when you put your tools down you get to step back and admire your work. Or get the adults and show them. Or take a picture on your cell phone now. Whatever you do it’s the same thing. That feeling of accomplishment.

I did what I set out to do.


       Then it's off to make another, or fish, or do whatever till it happens. The big "IT" with sandcastles. When "IT" becomes just sand again.

    You either get to watch it wash away or hope it survives till tomorrow. More often than not they don’t make it. But we knew that when we started. It wasn’t going to last. It was just supposed to be fun. Then you get to do it all over again.

It starts with ideas... again

    And we did, all summer. The whole cycle starts over with everyone. The idea that we are going to make a sandcastle and it's going to be fun.

   I’m going to make it look like what I see in my head. Get the tools. Let’s make it. I think I'll start over. Look at what we did. Let’s come back when the tide comes in and see which one goes first.

    The natural order of things, at least from a kid's point of view. From a kid's point of view, it was just fun. Kids have a way of making a lot of things fun.

   It’s called imagination. Some of us still have one. Some of us make careers out of them.

[ "The best people at any job have a great imagination. They are usually what’s called “HAPPY”. " ]


    As it turns out it wasn’t just about fun. There were actually some really good life lessons hidden in making sandcastles.     

  •  Our time here is precious. Make the most of it.
  •  Have an idea of what you want to be and work towards it. 
  • Enjoy it while you’re building it.
  •  Have fun. 
  • Use your imagination.
  • If it’s not turning out the way you want it too. Start over.
  • It doesn't have to be perfect to be amazing
  • Innocence should be guarded “Like smiles on children”
  • Everything changes/ find a way to make it good
  • Everything works according to God's plan (the tides and winds are part of his creation)


   A lot of things kids do today don’t really teach them things they need to know when they get out in the world. Video games and TV aren't known for teaching life lessons. Outdoor activities are. Fishing, hiking, sailing, building a treehouse, exploring, etc. all teach things like confidence, self-reliance, it's ok to make a mistake, and being optimistic. Lessons that will help them make it in the world.


   Even something like building a sandcastle might make a difference in their life one day. 

   The difference in their life might escalate into a difference in the world one day. It might just make it a better one. A world with more laughter and smiles. A world full of smiling children and happy parents who don’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to their kids. A world where good people feel safe and secure, and people help each other.

 A world full of sandcastles.

Enjoy the outdoors. Life is out here.

written by Benjamin Evans