Family Life


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30 things to do at the beach this summer (that you probably didn’t think of)

kid playing on the beach

Sure, you know the basics. But we tapped the experts on fun for 30 creative things to do at the beach this summer to make sandy play epic.

1. Play Hopscotch
This is a simple, fun one for all ages to play on the beach. Find a stick or shovel to mark out the game. Get some rocks or shells for throwing, and your kids will have a ball.

2. Make a Construction Site
Bring your child’s tonka trucks along and create a construction site that will blow their mind! Gather rocks, shells, water, and obviously sand. Let their creativity do the rest.

Play sand darts - parents canada

3. Play Sand Darts
Mark out a dart-board in the sand, and see who can land their shell closest to the bullseye. It takes so little time to set-up, but you’ll be playing for hours.

4. Dig a Hole
You can make just about anything fun when you make it a competition. There are various ways to make something a simple as digging a hole into a fun contest. Who can dig the biggest hole? Who can dig the biggest hole in 5 minutes? Who can hit wet sand first Your kids could even incorporate their hole into their castle’s property. It could be a pool for the royal residents.

5. Find Animal Habitats
Here is a way to teach your kids while vacationing, and best part is that they won’t even realize they’re learning. Walk around the beach finding various animal habitats. Teach them about the habitats they’re surrounded by: grasslands, water, and the dunes. If your kids ask you questions you don’t have answers to, look up the answers on Google and it’ll be a learning experience for the entire family.

6. Collect Seashells
Don’t forget the simple pleasure of searching for seashells at the seashore. Kids love this sort of scavenger hunt, and it requires no work on your behalf! They also are perfect for arts and crafts if you bring them home.

Collect seashells arts and crafts - parents canada

7. Design Seashells
What do you do with the piles of seashells that are now indispensable to your kids? Get out the sharpies you packed, and let them go to town designing their own shells. Granted if you have toddlers, you’re rolling your eyes right now. But this is a great creative outlet for older kids. Additionally, after you’ve decorated the shells you can place them around the beach you for future beach-goers to find.

8. Play Trains
If your little ones are obsessed with trains, you can create an entire series of tracks in the sand for them. They very well may spend hours chugging Thomas the Tank Engine along the sand tracks. Using the same concept, you can make roads for matchbox cars. Whatever you do, just make sure you don’t leave the cars at home!

9. Limbo
Limbo is a classic beach game that will get everyone involved, moving, and laughing. Find a jump rope, pole, or stick, turn up the music, and let the games begin.

10. Pictionary in the Sand
This is a clever spin on a classic, beloved game. The prime time to play is when the tide is out and the sand is prime for drawing. Use the cards that come with Pictionary or make up your own beach-themed ones.

11. Be a Mermaid for a Day
Are your kids obsessed with mermaids? Make their dreams come true. Dig a hole, bury them, and then draw a mermaid body and tail in the sand. To make this even more fun, let them bury you too!

12. Story Time
You can only go, go, go so much. Take a breather and gather round your kids for story time. Pack your favourite family read-aloud or a beach-themed one. Granted, you’d rather be wrapped up in your novel, but it’ll make sweet memories for your kids and ingrain a love of books in them.

Story time for kids - parents canada

13. Build a Sandcastle
Build a creative sand castle with your kids with minimal toys using what’s around you: rocks, shells, sticks, and leaves. If your kids are older, have a sandcastle building contest. Who can make the tallest castle? Who can make the most creative castle?

14. Save the Planet
Picking up trash
along the beach with your children is an excellent way to teach responsibility to children. It’ll help ground them and remind them that even at the beach it’s not all about them. It will also provide an opportunity for you to serve alongside them and talk with them about the importance of protecting our earth.

15. Build A Snowman
Do you wanna build a snowman? Come on let’s go and play! Sound familiar? Olaf couldn’t survive in summer, but you can build snowmen in the sand with your kids who will thrive in hot climates. Use shovels for arms and legs, hats, sunglasses, whatever you can think up!

16. Melt Your Sandcastle
There’s always the tried and true helter-skelter 3-second method of destroying the castle you just spent half an hour building. Or you can slowly destroy it  with water. Your kids will be riveted as they watch it slowly waste away as you pour water from a cup or small bucket over the castle slowly.

17. Take a Picture
One picture that is great to take each year is one of your entire family’s footprints lined up underneath the year drawn out in the sand. It’s meaningful to accumulate a new photo year after year and see how much they’ve (or rather their feet) have grown.

18. Host a Relay Race
Divide the kids into teams, and at one end line them up with a bucket of water. At the other end place an empty bucket. The goal is for them to run back and forth with shovels or small cups, seeing who can fill their bucket with water first.

19. Have a Foot Race
If you don’t have enough kids for a relay race, do a good old-fashioned foot race. Mark the starting line and finish line in the sand. Once the kids tire of this, have them run the distance individually and try and beat their personal best records.

20. Do Yoga
This is going to take a little brainstorming if you want to avoid getting covered in sand, but it’ll be a welcome calm, relaxing exercise in the middle of an exhausting day in the sun. Lead your kids to strike poses that keep you all from rolling in the sand.

21. Play Skee Ball
Bring the beloved game to the beach. Dig holes in the sand to place buckets in, and mark each one with a set number of points. Take turns rolling a ball down toward the buckets and see who can get the most points.

22. Play Musical Towels
Bust out some music for a lively game of musical towels. Set up towels folded in squares the same way you would set up chairs for musical chairs. Same rules apply but for this version you’ve got a pretty sweet view.

23. Create a Shoreline Masterpiece
Once the tide is low and hard, wet sand in is left in its wake, it’s time to get artistic. Have your children draw their own picture in the sand with a stick. Encourage them to use items they find around them in their masterpiece: flowers, rocks, shells, and leaves. Why not join the party? They’ll love having you participate.

24. Host an Art Contest
Challenge your kids to draw in the sand with a stick, each round being a different theme. Who can draw the scariest monster? Who can draw the prettiest flower? Who can draw a flying car?

25. Go on a Beach Scavenger Hunt
For little ones who may be afraid of the water, this is a fun activity that doesn’t involve the big, scary ocean. Create a list of objects for them to find around the beach. Kids of all ages love a good scavenger hunt. Winner chooses where the family is going for dinner!

26. Organize a Beach Ball Relay
Organize everyone into two teams, and two people from each team carry the ball to the finish line. Here’s the catch: you can’t use your hands. First one to cross the finish line wins!

27. Play Tic-Tac-Toe
Sketch a tic-tac-toe board in the sand and use creative beach treasures for the xs and the os. Use the shells from your seashell hunt or little rocks to mark your place. Three in a row wins the game!

28. Balance on a Boogie Board
Line up all the kids at the water’s edge, everyone standing on their own boogie board. As the waves come and go see who can stay on their board the longest. Last one standing wins.

Balance on a boogie board - parents canada

29. Re-Create the Olympics
This is an entertaining activity that will get everyone moving and laughing. Organize family-friendly beachside Olympic games. Here are some ideas to get your gears turning. Make a balance beam in the sand, set up hurdles, use a shell for a discus throw, play beach volleyball, or have a 20-yard dash.

30. Beach Ball Toss
This is sure to get the little ones laughing. Everyone holds a corner of a blanket. Place a beach ball on top and get it bouncing. See if you can work together to keep it from falling to the ground.

Find more from this article Originally published in 2019.

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