Sculpting Sandcastles in South Padre

by Jessica on June 21, 2011

When I dream of a family beach vacation, I see happy sun-kissed children building elaborate sandcastles that are worthy of praise and awards.  In reality, our sandcastle attempts are usually half crumbling piles of sand and frustrated little architects.  Enter Sandcastle Lessons of South Padre Island, where they planned to turn our mess into a masterpiece.

From the moment we arrived at our private lesson, I knew we were in for something unique.    The specially designed lesson area is located in a secluded section of a quiet South Padre beach.  Lessons are conducting on large plastic barrels so that there is no need to crawl around in the sand as you work.  All the tools are provided for your lesson and take home tool kits are available for purchase.

 

Our instructor, David, greeted us with a warm Texas smile and before long he felt like an old family friend.  He seemed as excited to teach us as we were to learn.  Best of all, he had an easy demeanor and naturally related to the kids making them both comfortable and curious to learn more.

Our lesson began with David demonstrating the basic skills of sandcastle building.  We learned how to stack the wet sand in pancake shaped stacks and how to build bridges with our hands.  As he worked, he showed us a variety of skills, including building stairs and making rounded shapes.   As he showed us the details of building sandcastles, he also talked about technique.  There was no doubt we were in the middle of a full scale art class with the carefree attitude of the islands.

 

After showing us the basics, David could sense that the boys were ready to get their hands dirty, so he set them loose with their own tools and buckets.  Ryan and Aidan both began stacking their sand to make their own sandcastle, while Evan took on the more difficult task of carving a dolphin.  Gary watched for a few minutes, but the fun was contagious so he jumped in to carve a pirate ship.

David proved himself to be a masterful teacher, knowing when to offer guidance and when to step back and let the creativity take hold.   To keep the creative juices flowing, he provided the kids with a variety of tools as they needed them and kept their buckets full of wet sand and water.   Despite the heat, the boys were focused on their creations and delighted in trying out their new skills.

We had signed up for an hour lesson, but the Sandcastle Lessons website had assured us that no one would be watching the clock.  Most certainly this was the case, as none of us ever even thought about the time and the teacher stayed engaged with the kids until they had finished their creations.  Even more, he offered to meet us at the beach again anytime to allow the kids to use the tools and sculpt again.

For a family with a wide range of ages and interests, it is unusual to find an activity that everyone enjoys, but this fit the bill.  The concentrated and proud looks on each face as they shared their creations were priceless and I finally had that beach vacation moment of my dreams.

 

 

 

Sandcastle lessons are available from www.sandcastlelessons.com starting at $25 per hour.

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