Going to the beach is a magical affair for any kid. They look forward to it with anticipation and envision running free, digging sand dunes, and splashing in the water until the sun goes down.
But what if you could take your beach trip up several notches and make it super memorable? You certainly can with the beach day ideas we'll share with you in this article. In it, we'll share the most creative things to do at the beach with kids.
Tips: Check out our Beach Day Edit to get everything for more summer fun!
Sandcastle Building Competition
Chances are, as soon as you step onto the sand, your kids will want to build a sandcastle. But imagine how excited they'll be when you reveal to them that they'll be participating in a sandcastle-building competition!
To bring the competition to life, you'll do the following:
- Split the kids up into teams or let them build alone if that's what they prefer.
- Get them some buckets & spades, sand castle molds, and any other beach and sand toys they'll need to build their sandcastles.
- Share the rules of the competition with the kids. Give them a time limit - 30 minutes to an hour is ideal. You can also come up with scoring criteria, like height, originality, or detail. Then, introduce the judges, whoever they might be.
- After the kids are done with their creations, select the winner(s) and then shower them with prizes. Depending on the ages of the kids, you might also want to reward participants.
- Take photos of the sand castles to keep as a reminder.
Scavenger Hunt on the Shore + Sand Art
What kid doesn't love a scavenger hunt? Virtually all of them do. And when you add sand art to the equation, that just adds to the fun. Make a list of small things for the kids to find at the beach, like seashells, seaweed, starfish, driftwood, and pebbles. You can also bury items in the sand beforehand and include them on your list.
Distribute the scavenger hunt list, give the kids some buckets, and send them on their hunt. To add urgency to the game, you can set a time limit. When time is up, check how many items each kid brought back. The winner is the child who brought back the most items.
Now, for the second part of the game, ask the kids to empty their buckets and make their best art with the items. They can arrange the items or use them as tools to create cool sand shapes. The kids will have a ball making their sand art, and you'll be surprised by what they create!
Frescobol, frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe, beach volleyball, and other sports!
The beach is the perfect setting to get active! Before the kids make it to your spot, set up a few sports stations where they can compete in sports like frescobol, frisbee tic-tac-toe, beach volleyball, and more. You can keep score and award medals afterward. Here's how to play a few of the games:
Frescobol / Beach Paddleball
Have the kids choose one opponent each. Position the kids so that they are standing about 15 feet apart, facing each other. Then, give the kids paddles and balls to hit back and forth. You'll soon hear shrieks of excitement.
For frisbee tic-tac-toe, you or the kids will draw a tic-tac-toe board in the sand with a stick. Then the kids will take turns throwing a frisbee at the board wherever they want to make a mark (an X or an O). The one who gets three Os or Xs in a row is the winner!
Preparing for beach volleyball is a cinch. Just tie a net or rope between two trees or poles. Then the kids can take turns trying to hit the ball over the net. They'll be having so much fun that you want to jump in for a serve!
Water Tag With a Twist
Water tag is a game that virtually every child plays when they're in the water with friends or siblings. Why not play it with a twist? The kids could hide behind inflatables, swim rings, inflatable pools, or use them to mark safe zones! Things can quickly get crazy in a game of water tag, so always keep safety at the forefront with a high-quality beach wear like swim vest.
Underwater Photo Challenge
Kids are fascinated with all things under the sea - why wouldn’t they be? There are loads of beautiful creatures and cool marine plants waiting to be explored. So, letting them test their skills as an underwater photographer is a no-brainer! To make this happen, you'll prep them for the job - they'll need an underwater camera, swim goggles, dive snorkel sets and arm floaties at minimum.
Then, find a good spot for the challenge - it should have low currents and clear waters. To add an element of excitement to the mix, come up with several underwater creatures, plants, or items the kids should photograph while exploring. The one who photographs the most from the list is the winner.
Last-One Standing Team Water Gun Fight
Break out the super soakers! One of the best things to do at the beach with kids is to have a team water gun fight. Fill up some water guns and give one to each child. Let them go wild spraying each other. But as soon as they get sprayed, they're out! The last one standing is the winner.
Beach Treasure Hunt
The beach is the perfect setting for a treasure hunt! Bury a toy chest or box of goodies under the sand at the beach. Then, write a step-by-step list of instructions or draw pictures to act as a treasure map. If you want to be super creative, you can throw a few riddles in there for good measure. Give the kids some spades or diggers to dig the treasure up!
Sandy Obstacle Course
Looking for an action-packed beach activity? Let your kids release all that pent-up energy on a sandy obstacle course! The goal of the sandy obstacle course is to make it to the other side. But along the way, the kids will strive to conquer every obstacle in their way. You and/or the kids can use beach towels, cones, flags, and other items to build the course. And then, all the kids will compete to see who can complete it fastest.
"Yogi Says" Kid's Yoga Session
After running, jumping, digging, and swimming, the kids might need a cool-down session. That's where yoga shines. To keep things interesting, you'll make it a game - Yogi Says. You will be the Yogi, leading the kids through a fun yoga routine. But they should only copy your pose if you say the magic words, "Yogi Says." If they copy your pose and you didn't say the magic words, they are out for the round. Get a kids yoga mat and use traditional yoga positions, or do animal-inspired poses to.
Dancy Dance Pool Noodle Limbo
Pool noodles are for more than staying afloat in the water. They make a great limbo stick for Dancy Dance Pool Noodle Limbo! To start the game, you'll turn on some upbeat music and hold the pool noodle high - at the kid’s eye level. The kids will then get in a single file line and do their silliest dancy dance as they walk under the pool noodle. You'll then put the noodle lower and lower before the kids dance under it. The kids that either fall or touch the noodle with any body part will be out for the round. The last one dancing wins!
Beach Ball Bowling
Bowling is a blast no matter the setting, and we're sure your kids will agree. For beach-themed bowling, the kids will roll a beach ball to try to hit bottles. To set up, get 10 empty Coke bottles, fill them up halfway with beans, and then screw the caps on tightly. You can also buy bowling pins, but it's not necessary. Arrange the bowling pins on top of the sand however you'd like, and you're ready to begin.
Every pin a child knocks down is equal to 1 point. After a set number of rounds, the score is tallied up, and you'll have a winner.
Freestyle Sand Mini-Golf
Freestyle sand mini-golf is a twist on traditional golf that combines typical golf with sandy obstacles! To play this game, you and the kids will find a wide-open spot at the beach and get to work sculpting sand obstacles. You can create difficult holes, form slopes, gather the sand together to make bumps, and more. The goal of the game is to sink your golf ball into the hole in as few strokes as possible. You will need a mini golf kit to play.
Sand Sack Race Challenge
Hopping around in a sack is as challenging as it is fun. But when you add the adrenaline of a race to the mix, things get wild in the best way! If that's what you want for your kids on your next beach day, this is the activity for you.
For this game, players will jump from one point to another in a burlap sack. Use a stick, towel, or flag to designate the start and finish lines. You can create challenges for everyone to complete along the way. Set up cones in a zigzag formation, create some sand mounds players have to go around, or make up trivia questions players have to answer before continuing on the course. The choice is yours!
Squirt Ball Race
Most kids have never heard of squirt ball, but once they play it, it's sure to become one of their favorite games! In this game, kids use a squirt gun to move their beach ball to the finish line. They'll have a ton of fun switching up their tactics on the fly to keep their ball from going off-course. And when they finally get to the finish line, there'll be a burst of excitement and satisfaction.
Sand is Lava
The viral game, "Floor is Lava," has brought fun to countless households. And now it's time to take it to the beach. There are only two goals: (1) make it to the finish line, and (2) don't “burn” yourself on the sand. Set a starting line and a finish line, and then set up beach chairs, towels, or other beach toys and accessories the kids can use as safe zones on the way. Whenever a kid touches the sand, they are eliminated or have to go back to the starting line. The first one to make it to the finish line is the winner!
So, there you have it - our top creative and fun things to do at the beach with kids! Try one or more of these beach activities the next time you take a beach trip. We hope you found the information you were looking for, and we wish you hours and hours of sun-soaked family fun!