Building sandcastles is tough , especially if you don’t live anywhere near a beach. This magnetic sandcastle activity is perfect for you no matter where you live. Not only are kids exploring the texture of the sandpaper they are exploring shapes and how they can work together to create something greater. Another side effect is the storytelling that might pop up like it did with my 4 year old. Her sandcastle was a story. If you don’t have a magnetic surface pick up a cookie sheet like we did for a dollar at Dollar Tree. I buy them 3 at a time.
Gather your materials. You will need some sandpaper, self adhesive magnetic sheets ( ours came from our friends at craftprojectideas.com ), scissors, a marker, and a magnetic surface.
Start by drawing your shapes on the back of the sandpaper. Be careful thinner sand paper will show the marker through if you use a dark color like I did. A pencil may be a better choice.
Add the magnets to the back. My little helper showed up at this stage wondering what I was up to and helped.
Peeling the backing off of these self adhesive magnets is RAD for little fingers still developing fine motor skills, it is also fantastic for concentration and building patience. We can’t expect our kids to develop ways to deal with frustration and patience if we never give them opportunities to face them. She got frustrated a few times and I said ” It’s tough, Mama is having a hard time too. ” that was it. If you think the frustration will block the whole activity step in but it’s OK for kids to try hard things and fail.
This zig zag piece was extra but she insisted on using it so we added magnets to it together.
Time to play. She was totally into it. I liked to see how carefully she was placing the pieces. ” They are rough on one side but not on the other mama!” When my children make observations like that is when I jump on and try to add a little bit more of a lesson without breaking up their exploration. If they are silent I generally let them immerse themselves completely. When a comment like that is made I might say something like what else feels rough like that? Or Do you like the feeling? Sparking more learning but using their observations as launching pad.
Her creation was a pool with diving boards for sand fairies.
Need some books to go with this activity? Check out our Beach Books round up. Click here or on the image to be taken to the full round up with complete reviews of each book.
Jennifer Tammy says
Thanks for sharing your natural teaching approach — when to extend and interject, when to let the children struggle through it and how to encourage them. I had someone ask questions about praise the other day and it reminded me that we need to slow down and explain what might be intuitive for us (now), so I’m loving this.
Allison McDonald says
Thank you so much!