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Group of kids run away with a kite on a beach

Top 10 Activities for the Best Beach Day Ever

Nothing soothes the soul like a day at the beach and sharing the joy of the beach with your children is even better. Except when it isn’t. Kids and the beach are like peanut butter and jelly, but if you don’t spend a little time planning and having some extra things on hand to make the day a success, well… it can actually turn into oil and water.

But how do you avoid having your baby eat a bunch of sand? Or having your toddler get so sticky and hot that they have a full meltdown? Or hearing your big kids moan with boredom and want to pack up as soon as you spread your blanket? With a little extra planning and packing in advance of the beach excursion, kids of all ages, including you, will have a great day at the beach filled with memorable moments.

Here are out top ten ways to extend the fun at the beach to keep the whole family engaged and refreshed at the beach this summer.

1. Make a Beach Fort or Cave

This might be the very first and best thing your kids do after a quick swim. Creating an oasis away from the sun is an ideal activity that will extend the fun and then allow for a bit of a rest later in the day. If you happen to be at a beach with some driftwood, gather large pieces with your kids. If not, you can use your beach chairs and umbrella as supports and then drape beach blankets or towels over the top to create a shelter. Kids can even make sand pillows beneath their towels to rest their heads on. Fill the fort with some snuggly friends and books, and let it be the refuge for when the sun gets too strong or the play gets too tiring.

2. Have A Scavenger Hunt

This activity can be as elaborate or impromptu as you would like. If you have time before you head to the beach, you can make a list of items for your kids to find there. Things like seaweed, shells, rocks, sand, driftwood, and anything else you know they can easily find. Give them buckets and the list and let them gather their treasures. These treasures can then form the starting point for many of the activities on this list.

3. Fly a Kite

There are few better spots to fly a kite than at the beach since there is usually ample wind and few trees. And like the fort, this activity can extend through the entire day as the wind shifts. Kids can observe which direction the wind is coming from and then choose a spot without a lot of people to get their kite up in the air.

Red Building Shovel - HABA USA

4. Dig Tunnels and Rivers

Making rivers and tunnels is a very instinctual beach activity and your kids will need little prompting to grab their shovels as they start making rivers and tunnels near the edge of the water. As the waves refill these rivers and kids get a sense of the water flow, they can even build stick bridges and sail boats up and down their canals. And of course, the shore can be dotted with sand castles and villages.

5. Identify Seashells and Create a Shell Museum

As you and your kids wander down the beach, gather seashells in a bucket and observe all the different varieties. Perhaps you have a seashell guidebook on hand, great, you can identify and match the shells they find to the guide and discuss the different names of the shells on your beach. If not, you can make up names for them and come up with all kinds of creative names. When you get back home, google the different images and see what they are really named. Then make little labels for your shell collection and start your very own Shell Museum.

6. Use a Magnifying Glass

Bring along a magnifying glass as you gather shells and other treasures. Sand looks even more cool under a magnifying glass and so do hermit crabs! As your kids get a close up look at the details in a grain of sand, the texture of a shell, or the features of a tiny insect, they will appreciate the wonder of nature even more.

7. Write Sand Messages

Drawing and writing in the sand is a great way to have fun and provide a little learning while at the beach. You can play the disappearing sand message game by seeing how much of a message or picture you can create in wet sand before the waves wash it away. Or create a more enduring message higher up on the beach and take pictures to remember your sandy poems. Our spilling funnel is a great tool for crafting these sand scripts and will add some challenge for older kids as they get the sand just the right consistency.

8. Create Rock Art and a Sundial

If you happen to be on a rocky beach, rocks provide the ultimate art supply for beach art. Gather a variety of rocks in a pail and then make spirals, towers, and even rock people. A very cool activity using rocks is to make a simple sundial so that they can keep track of the time the old fashioned way. Simply make a circle out of rocks or shells, put a stick in the middle of the circle, and watch how the shadow moves throughout your beach day.

9. Play Beach Ice Cream Shop

Although having a real ice cream cone at the beach is pretty great, playing ice cream parlor is a close second. Kids can scoop up some imaginary ice cream cones and then top them with shells, seaweed, or tiny pebbles. Perhaps their ice cream parlor also sells cookies and pies, and maybe even an occasional hamburger and fries. Yum!

10. Have a Beach Clean Up

Although your kids might be crispy at the end of the beach day, encourage them to look around and pick up any extra trash they can find to bring home, leaving the beach better than they found it. They might be surprised at how much trash ends up on the shore and how that directly affects the marine animals and the ecosystem. Doing their part to clean the beach, bit by bit, will help kids feel like they are connected to the world and making a difference.


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