Timeout New York Kids

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Sand-castle competitions for NYC kids

Grab your shovels and buckets-it's time to build.

  • A contestant shows off her work at Coney Island.

A contestant shows off her work at Coney Island.

Good news: All those hours your tot has spent in the neighborhood sandbox may be about to pay off. Two city beaches—and one in the Hamptons—are hosting sand-castle-making competitions for families this summer.

FREE 21st Anniversary Sand Sculpting Contest and Unity Day Celebration
Sign up to compete for cash prizes in one of five categories (kids and adults can vie for a trophy together or separately). Face painting, craft tables and live music mean everyone wins—contest or no contest. Click here to pre-register online; same-day registration starts at 11am. Sat Aug 6 noon--5pm. Coney Island Boardwalk between W 10th and W 12th Streets, Coney Island, Brooklyn (718-266-4653, astelladevelopment.org). Subway: D, F, N, Q to Coney Island--Stillwell Avenue. All ages.

FREE 15th Annual Rockaway Beach Sand Castle Contest
Show off your family's innovative designs at this popular Queens event. Collect shells and seaweed from the beach to enhance your creations, and be sure to check out the professional sand sculptors' displays. Sun Jul 31 noon--2pm; same-day registration starts at 10am. Boardwalk and Beach 117th St, Rockaway Beach, Queens (718-318-4000, nycgovparks.org) Subway: A to Broad Channel; transfer to the Rockaway S to Beach 116th St--Rockaway Park. All ages.

20th Annual East Hampton Sand Castle Contest
Sand Fleas (kids ages 8 and under) can enter with an adult, while Sand Hoppers (tweens and teens ages 9 to 15) can build their own structures. Or enter as a family (the Sand Tribe category) to enhance your, er, teamwork skills. Take inspiration from last year's sculptures—winning entries included Yankee Stadium, SpongeBob SquarePants, a sea turtle and a flip-flop. Click here to pre-register online, or register the day of at the beach. Sat Aug 6 (rain date Aug 7) 9am--4pm. Atlantic Avenue Beach, Amagansett, NY (631-324-6250, ehsandcastle.com). Travel: Hampton Jitney or LIRR to Amagansett, then take a taxi to the beach. $10 per group (up to six people). All ages.

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