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Friday, 13 June 2014

Homemade Flags for Sandcastles

Have you ever thought to make your own sandcastle flags? They are usually just a round thin wooden stick with a rectangle or triangle of paper attached to the top.

Building sandcastles is a typical childhood summertime activity and flags are often a last minute thought, even when just arriving at the beach. When the sun goes in behind a cloud, (well in a British summer, that happens), what better thing for young children to do than build a sandcastle.  Did you make sandcastles as a child?

British Beach in Summer

And, isn't waiting for a summer holiday is a difficult thing for children to do! Here we are preparing with a physical activity where their thoughts are, and can still be, focused on what they want to think about - their summer holiday or trip to the beach. When children use their hands doing a craft activity, it keeps them busy, making it easier to control any excitement and keeps them calmer too.

Flags can be made as simple or elaborate as you like - use any craft materials you have to hand. All you need are round wooden lolly sticks which will stand easily in the sand. (better for using than flat lolly sticks as they are less likely to blow over in the wind) Each packet contains one hundred sticks, which will make several sandcastle flags for one child or could be shared between a group of children.

Depending on your child's nature and interests you could make cute ones, pretty ones, funny ones or themed ones. They can be hand drawn and coloured or decorated with googly eyes, foam shapes or glitter. You could add ribbons to the top, which will blow in the wind. The opportunities are endless.
Paint will run if it gets wet (acrylic paint will last longer), the same with felt tipped pens but of course, that depends how disposable you want them to be. If you really are wanting to economise you could make some which will last year in, year out by using felt or fabric. Round, thin wooden lolly sticks can be cut easily with a pair of scissors by children so they can make their flags as small or large as they like.

We were going to add a list of suitable craft materials for children to use to make their flags with but, when thinking about it, almost any children's craft embellishments will do.

Round Wooden Lolly Sticks & Craft Materials
A Mixture of Children's Craft Supplies

Attaching the flag to the lolly stick can be done in numerous ways. The most simple method is to glue the stick to the rectangle of paper or card along the shorter edge. If you would prefer the stick not to show, cut a piece of paper or card twice the intended length and fold around the stick. Glue with pva glue or use double sided tape to stick the card to itself. Or, you can punch holes in the side of the flag and then thread it onto the stick

We are really, really reluctant to share a photo of some finished flags. This is simply because we prefer to encourage creativity and as soon as an idea is seen it seems to suppress any creative ideas. How hard is it to get what you see out of your mind and start afresh? But here are just a few.

Assortment of Children's Handmade Flags
Homemade Flags for Sandacstles

Homemade sandcastle flags don't always have to be played with on the beach. They can be used in a sandpit at home or at preschool, encouraging imaginative small world play for children. Flags will also stand in soil, gravel, play dough and cakes.

Building a sandcastle is a learning activity as well as fun. It incorporates science as well as art. Maths can be included by counting the castles sorting the flags, or sequencing castles and flags. Discovering the world in which we live and the physical skill of getting the sand into a bucket, patting and turning out, not to mention the patience required. What a magical moment for a child!

Sandcastle Flags