Art Activity: Sandcastles

Build and design a sandcastle inspired by Hearst Castle!

Activity best for children age 2 and up

Julia Morgan was an architect and engineer. She was the first woman in California to become a licensed architect and often designed “castles” for wealthy and influential Californians. In 1904, she had her own architecture firm and designed the famous “Hearst Castle” in Saint Luis Obispo, CA for a wealthy newspaper owner who had many celebrity guests!

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Now it’s your turn to design and build a castle! Let’s go to the beach or sandbox and get started!

Materials You’ll Need:


Recycled containers 

Sand shovel or old spoon

Rocks, branches, flowers, shells – safe found objects for you and the environment



Before you go, read a book with references to castles. You may have one, or the library will! 

Parent Tip: Reading to your child, then doing projects together associated with the book, creates connections with language.



Let’s think about YOUR castle! WHO will live there? WHERE will they sleep? What kind of bed will make them comfortable? WHAT will they eat? HOW will they cook it?

Parent tip: Leading questions help the creative wheels turn. There are no wrong answers! If this is a castle for garden gnomes or fairies, then so be it! Ask questions like “Oh this is a castle for fairies? So where will they take off and fly?” The idea is to get them PLANNING in an organic kid-centered way and using their language to explain their ideas.

Provide tools and help collect elements to add to their “castle site.” Rocks, twigs, and shells are fun to use for tiny details. Tools like old spoons and recycled containers are perfect for molding the sandRemember to take those items home when you are done! 

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Drip Sandcastle technique. Make a mountain of sand. Then add features like windows, doors, and a moat. Fill the moat with water and get a bit more in a bucket. You can combine the sand you dug up from the moat to make a muddy sand soup. Drip the mud through your fingers to make turrets for your castle and top off with a feather flag or shells!

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