Collage · crafts · painting · paper crafts

“How to Code a Sandcastle” by Josh Funk

I have but only good things to say about this fantastic book from the Girls Who Code series, “How to Code a Sandcastle” by Josh Funk and illustrated by Sara Palacios. By Viking Books.

The story is not only an enduring Summer tale about Pearl, a girl determined to build a sandcastle before Summer break is over, but it also very cleverly introduces to kids computer coding concepts. Pearl provides her trusty robot Pascal various code commands, learning and working together to create the perfect sandcastle on the beach. The illustrations are colourful, vibrant, and fun, great for younger children. I highly recommend this book for kids ages 4-8-years-old, especially girls who code!

Inspired Activity: Build a Textured Sandcastle

Now, this very cool project idea did not come from my brain, although, I did tweak it by adding sand to the process and providing my daughter with all the materials to make one giant castle. I originally saw this great idea on Young School Art with Mr. G‘s Instagram account, and you can find his tutorial here.

Supplies we used for our project:

  • Recycled brown packing paper, flattened out and then cut into various sizes and tower shapes for the castle (I get a ton of this paper from book packages I receive)
  • Large white sheet of paper (or a white Bristol board sheet will do)
  • Artist’s Loft acrylic Blue, purple, and white paint (I mixed the white paint with each the blue and purple for a lovely bright sky)
  • Water (to thin out the paint)
  • Paint brushes and sponges
  • Various coloured paper cut into triangles + toothpicks (for the paper flags on top of the castle)
  • Cream coloured paper (cut into castle doors)
  • Sea themed stickers (seashells, star fish, etc.)
  • Sand (I literally took some play sand from their sandbox)
  • Elmer’s school glue

First, I set the girls up with paint, brushes, and paint sponges to start painting the sky on the white sheet of paper. They loved using the sponge to paint with, it made a really neat effect on the paper. Once the paper was dry, the castle was ready to assemble. This part was put together by my oldest daughter.

I helped her with gluing the castle pieces onto the paper. Once those pieces were all in place, she glued on some doors. Using a brush to paint the glue onto the castle, I showed her how to add the sand – this was her favourite part! I tried helping her further, but she insisted on doing it all by herself, reminding me that ‘this is my project!’ Sometimes, as a parent, it can be difficult to just step back and let your kids do their thing, especially when you know you can help, but I am proud of her for being so independent in her creative tasks.

We added the paper flags to her towers and once the glue had dried (which did not take long outside in the heat) she added some cute seashell stickers. I love her finished sandcastle and can’t wait to build some 3D sandcastles together on the beach this Summer.

In a Public Library setting:

The nice thing about this project is that it can easily be adjusted to fit a drop-in library program. We used very large materials, however, in the Fantastic Fun and Learning tutorial, he uses easily accessible kitchen materials such as paper towels and brown paper bags for this project. Kids ages 4-8-years old would enjoy this activity.

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