Fun things to do
We have put together some simple activities to keep families and youngsters engaged and learning on the beach. These activities require little or no preparation or equipment. Rather than taking home ‘precious’ finds, take a photo! Good for the environment and a treasured family memory.
It is important to teach kids about community service and picking up trash on the beach is a wonderful way to do it! Take a walk along the shore armed with gloves and trash bags to gather litter as a family. You can even do this beach activity if the weather’s a little chilly; just bundle up with a jumper and close-toed shoes.
How many, different sea and shorebirds can you spot? Take a notepad and keep a count of different types and draw them too. You could also photograph them and upload your observations to mobile apps like eBird or iNaturalist.
Hunt for Footprints
Go barefoot and make footprints in the sand and then follow other footprints that you find. You might see bird tracks or dog paw tracks or different shoe or feet sizes.
Bugs & Sea Creatures
Get outdoors and go collecting! Then make bright, arty bugs, starfish or any creature from nature using leaves and sticks.
Sharks and Minnows
One person is the shark, the rest are Minnows. The shark stands in the middle of the group and must catch all the minnows. If you are a minnow and you are caught you must stand still.
Make a shell mandala on the beach with concentric circles of different colored seashells we find around us.
Watch the Sunset
At the end of the long day, enjoy the sun setting over the sea and the colours of a beautiful sunset.
Fun activities for kids
You will need six plastic bottles for this fun beach game for kids. Fill them partly with sand and set them up in a pyramid shape (three on the bottom, two in the middle, and one on the top). Take turns rolling a tennis ball to knock them over – just like makeshift bowling. Remember to recycle the bottles once you have finished!
Beach Golf Frisbee
Substitute a plain old game of frisbee with frisbee golf. Set up targets using items you brought to the beach (could be a picnic blanket, an umbrella, a towel, or you could even dig a hole in the sand to aim at). Take turns trying to throw your frisbee as close to the target as you can. Make sure smaller kids are allowed to stand closer to the target than the bigger ones.
Ready, set, go! For this beach relay race, have your kids fill cups with water, then empty them into bigger buckets placed several feet away. The first one to fill their bucket to the top wins the race! This is a fun beach game for kids already, but if you want to make it more difficult, set up obstacles along the path to the bucket. For example, kids can jump over towels or wiggle through a hula hoop.
This might be one of the best beach games involving your towel! Ask two kids to hold a towel stretched taut and challenge them to bounce a beach ball in the air, catching it with the towel. See how long they can keep it going.
Build a Sandcastle
Be sure to pack little figurines (princesses, dragons, etc.) and make the castle come to life!
Draw circles and numbers in the sand to set up a dart ball-like game. Each circle can correspond to point value (for example, the bigger circle can be five points, a medium circle can be ten points, and the smallest circle can be fifteen points). Toss shells, stones, or small toys into the circles to rack up points.
Create a sundial using driftwood and rocks. Every hour, get your kid to place a pile of rocks at the tip of your stick’s shadow. As the day passes, the shadow will move in a circle – just like the hands of a clock!
Draw in the Sand
What is more natural than wanting to make marks in the sand? Write messages, draw huge sea creatures, use seaweed or pebbles to outline the shapes.
Draw hopscotch in the sand. You can use things like seashells as a markers.
The beach and the estuary environment offer a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge other senses by removing sight and light. It will provide a mental snapshot to that can be recalled at later times. Have children close their eyes and ask them to listen for a minute or so (time depends on the age of the student).
What did they hear? Are these sounds human made or natural? Where are most sounds coming from?
Make a Mermaid
Draw the outline with a nice curvy tail then use seaweed for the hair, shells for tail scales and decorate using stones and more.
This activity gives a beachy twist to musical chairs. Simply set up towels in a circle (with one fewer towel than the number of players), turn on some music, and have your kids walk over them. Once the music stops, they must lay down on the nearest towel. The player without a towel is eliminated. Remove a towel after each round until you have one player left standing.
Kids love parachute games. Adults love parachute games. So grab a large beach towel and a beach ball, hold the ends and sides of the towel with the ball in the middle of the towel, and see how high that ball can bounce.
Aim for the sky!
Kids have seen snow angels on TV – they may even have had a chance to make them in the snow! Transfer those skills to the sand and make summer angels.
Move over, sandcastles! Take a cue from Frosty the snowman and encourage your kids to create sand people, complete with seashell eyes and stick arms. They can also recreate your family members as a sandy self-portrait.
Step by Step
By simply calling out what is under your feet as you walk up the beach from the water’s edge you enable participants to awaken to the conscious realisation that there are bands of water, debris, sand and ﬁnally plants.
Capture the memories of your best sandcastle, the shells you have found and the fun of splashing in the waves! See how many different and interesting things and angles you can take photos of. (Make sure you ask permission if taking photos of people).
Draw the game board in the sand and play! You can use objects like stones, seed pods or algae to play.
Bring coins or objects and hide them in the sand and around your area for your children to find. You can also use objects like stones, shells or seed pods! Make sure to take all objects you brought home with you.
Tug of War
Using a skipping rope or towels tied together, stand at the water’s edge. Divide into two teams. Make sure the middle of the rope is right over a line drawn in the sand. Hand the ends of the rope to each team and show them how to pull. Be prepared to end up in the water!