Whether you will be going away on a holiday or enjoying a sunny day at your closest beach, there is plenty of STEAM fun to be had, so it is time to grab your bucket and spade and head down to the beach to play. Everyone loves playing in the sand and splashing in the sea! There is much more to do at the beach than play, it is incredibly simple to bring the STEAM philosophy to your child’s day out by the seaside. Tinkerer have some ideas to transform your day at the beach from a sand foray to a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths expedition.


Engineer a Sandcastle

There is a difference between making a sandcastle and engineering one.


One of the most important considerations when building a sandcastle is the balance and levels of the design. Your child can develop their skills by using trial and error, this is an important skill for all future scientist. Having the ability to reflect and adjust their models dependent on what worked and what didn’t in previous designs.


After you have made an immaculate castle, then experiment with ratios, by altering the amount of sand and water that goes into the bucket.



After your child has built their standard castle why not ask them to integrate other materials into the structure. Does using shells make it stronger or weaker? How about using lollipop sticks? Experiment with different materials and how it helps or hinders the design.


Build a castle close to the waves and see how long it takes to be eroded flat. Or build a series of castles at varying distances from the shore. This is a great activity for observing and evaluating.


Another important step in introducing STEAM to building a sandcastle is the aspect of asking questions, observing and altering outcomes, and recording results.

Measure the Tides

Have your child measure the tides. This broadens their understanding of the changes that occur in the natural environment, it also allows them to predict and evaluate the future outcomes. Measuring the tides also improves their measurement skills. You can do this by drawing lines in the sand or if you are at the beach all day why not set up your camp and then they can count the steps it takes to get to the sea. If you take a notebook, they can track the time and the number of steps, and when they get home make a graph.

Examine the Sand

See what you can see! The sand is tiny broken pieces of rock and shells have your child identify the many different colours, textures and materials it is made of.


Do Objects Float or Sink

This is a classic experiment but to add another level to it fill one bucket with salt water and the other bucket with tap water. The salt water should make the objects more buoyant, have your child collect the data from their experiment.

Study Shore Birds and Marine Life

Look to the sky or into the sea to awake an interest in nature in your child and discover new species. If your child is older, they can even try to identify the birds or marine life by name. If you go to the beach often, they can track which animals they see each time. You’ll have a marine ecologist in the future!

Salty Water

Children will of course know that there is salt in the sea water, but it is still fun to do an experiment to see this. Get a dark object (preferably black to make the contrast of the salt more noticeable). Put some salt water on top of it and leave the object in the sun for the water to evaporate. The child can then see the salt that is left.


We hope you enjoy bringing STEAM into your day at the beach! Why not share your STEAM engineered sandcastle with us on Instagram or Facebook by using #tinkererbox.


Written by,

Rebecca Clifton