From identifying seashells to making animals in the sand, there are so many great beach activities for kids of all ages. Get the whole family involved in these fun games that make a day at the beach even better.
Remember the absolute joy of being a kid at the beach? Sure, the surf and sand are a ton of fun, but there are lots of other great things to do too. Spark their imaginations and even score a few parenting bonus points for educational activities too.
Fun Beach Activities for Kids of All Ages
Don't stress if you have kids of different ages. Whether your kids are toddlers or teens, everyone will love these great ideas for what to do at the beach.
Collect Pebbles and Beach Glass
The beach is full of treasure! Searching for pretty pebbles and pieces of beach glass can be a fun way to spend a day at the beach. When you get home, you can display these treasures in a bowl for everyone to admire.
Write a Disappearing Message or Picture
There's something exciting about seeing how much of a message or picture you can create in wet sand before the waves wash it away. Kids can enjoy racing the waves and reading or admiring one another's work. Pro parenting tip: Snap phone photos of the work if they want you to preserve it.
Have a Beach Scavenger Hunt
Before you head to the beach, make a list of items for kids to find there. You can include seaweed, shells, rocks, sand, driftwood, and anything else you know they might be able to find. Give them buckets and the list and see who can find the most items. You can chill on a beach towel while they stay busy for a while.
Read a Beach Book Out Loud
Beach reads are fun for everyone, even kids. Choose a beach-themed book or just something light and entertaining. Then gather everyone around on the beach towels and enjoy the story.
Play Beach Dodgeball
If the beach isn't too crowded, have a game of beach dodgeball. You can use a beach ball if it isn't too windy. Split everyone into teams and have a blast trying to tag each other with the ball.
Have a Beach Music Party
Make a playlist of your favorite beach music (think tropical songs, the Beach Boys, and anything playful). Set up your phone or some portable speakers and have a dance party with the kids on the beach. We promise - no one will judge your goofy dance moves if you're dancing next to your kids.
Make Sand Angels
This warm weather version of snow angels is a cool beach activity for kids. You can practice getting up without disturbing the angel print, and then kids can add seaweed hair, shell eyes, and other beachy touches to their angels.
Build a Beach Fort
Find lots of driftwood sticks or use your beach chairs as supports and then spread beach blankets or towels over the top to create a great fort. Kids will love hanging out in the fort, and it's ideal for when they need a little break from the sun. Toss a few coloring books in there, and you might even get time to read that book you brought along.
For kids, bubbles are a great beach activity that creates even more magic at an already magical place. Bring along a big bottle of bubbles to refill smaller ones and choose a sheltered spot where the wind won't instantly destroy their creations.
Fly a Kite
The beach is the perfect place to fly a kite, since it's usually windy and tends to have few trees. Choose a spot without a lot of people and help kids get the kites up in the air. They'll love directly interacting with the wind.
Dig a River
Grab the shovels and have a group project creating a river near the edge of the water. You can even construct stick bridges across your river and add sand castles to its banks.
Educational Games and Beach Activities for Families
Bonus alert! Many fun beach activities for the family are also educational. There's a lot to learn at the beach, so try one of these great ideas.
Pick up a guide to seashells in your area or do some research ahead of your beach trip to learn about the various species you might encounter. Then work with kids to match the shells they find to the guide.
Don't know the names of the animals that made the shells? Don't stress. You can classify them in groups and even make a bar graph in the sand showing which ones you found most often.
Find Tidepools and Habitats
If you're visiting a beach with tidepools, this can be a wonderful learning opportunity for kids about habitats. Even if you're going to a lake beach or a place without tidepools, you can talk about the creatures that live by the shore and examine the features of their habitat.
Clean Up Litter
Learn about environmental concerns and help the Earth by collecting litter together at the beach. This will help kids feel like they are connected to the world and making a difference.
Catch and Release Hermit Crabs
Hermit crabs are fascinating for kids, since they use the discarded shells of other sea creatures. Make a game of catching the crabs and examining them, then letting them go. Kids can even keep notes about the sizes of crabs they find and what the crabs were using as a shell.
Use a Magnifying Glass
Bring along a magnifying glass to see what the objects you find at the beach look like up close. Kids will be able to see the details in a grain of sand, the texture of a shell, or the features of a tiny insect.
Make a Simple Sundial
Your kids might not even know about an era when people couldn't check the time on their phones (honestly, it's even hard for us to remember that). Take them back a few centuries by making a sundial on the beach. All you need to do is make a circle out of rocks or shells. Put a stick standing straight up in the middle of the circle and watch how the shadow moves as you're frolicking in the waves.
Break Out the Metal Detector
Metal detecting can be a fruitful beach activity for the family. Rent or borrow a metal detector if you don't already have one and see what kinds of treasure you can find buried in the sand. This is an educational activity, since you can also discuss the history of the objects you discover, or even make up stories about them.
Count Bird Species
Buy a bird book or borrow one from your local library and bring it along. See how many bird species the family can find. You can snap cell phone photos of the birds if you need more time to identify them.
Look for Animal Tracks
Wet sand is a great place to find animal tracks. Walk along the beach and ask everyone to point out any tracks they see. Some animals, like seagulls, will make obvious tracks, but others can be a lot more subtle. This can be a great educational beach activity for kids of all ages.
Measure the Waves
Bring along a yardstick and measure the waves. Have kids note the measurements in a notebook and see if there's a pattern to when the waves are larger or smaller. This is a hands-on way to teach math and measurement and have fun at the beach too.
Collect Samples for a Microscope
If you have a microscope at home, you can have fun collecting samples at the beach. Bring lots of little containers for water, seaweed, sand, insects, mud, and anything else. At home, you can make slides and look at what is going on microscopically.
Creative and Unique Beach Activities
The beach is a great place to get creative. Make something fun and interesting with these cool beach activities for kids.
Build a Driftwood Shelter
Get the whole family involved in making a driftwood shelter. Gather all the long pieces of driftwood you can find and dig down into the sand to give them a solid base. Then arrange the sticks in a conical shape.
Create Rock Spirals in the Sand
For this fun beach activity for kids, have everyone gather lots of rocks and stones. Pick a place to start the spiral and begin arranging your rocks outward from the center. You'll end up with a piece of temporary beach art that was amusing to make together.
Keep a Beach Journal
If you go to the beach often, keep a journal about your adventures. You can start with a blank book and let everyone write a sentence or two about what makes that day's beach visit special. Kids can also draw pictures to communicate the events of the day.
Construct Sand Animals
Build animals out of sand and use sticks, rocks, shells, and other materials to embellish them. From sea turtles to penguins, there are lots of fun animals to construct together.
Make a Landscape Painting
The view at the beach can be inspiring for kids of all ages. Bring along some paper and watercolor paints and create a masterpiece about your day with the sand and surf.
Take Photos With a Waterproof Camera
Pick up a waterproof disposable camera and give each family member a turn documenting the day. Sure, you may get some random shots when you get your film back, but it's fun to see what the beach day looked like from each kid's perspective.
When you get the film developed, ask the lab to scan the film for you. That way, you can share your family beach photos online!
Create Sun Prints
The beach is the perfect place to make sun prints. Pick up some sunlight-sensitive paper and lay things like shells, seaweed, and other treasures on the surface. Let the sun hit the paper for the specified time and develop it according to the directions. This can be a great way to make art from your day at the beach.
Play Beach Bakery
Before you head to the beach, scour your kitchen for some old pans and containers (we're looking at you, Bundt pan that never gets used). Kids can use them to make a ton of different cakes, cookies, pies, and other desserts out of sand, shells, and stones.
Kids Games to Play at the Beach Without Equipment
Not into hauling a lot of gear with you to the beach? We get it. You don't need lots of equipment and toys to have a great time by the water. In fact, there are lots of beach games and activities that don't require any equipment at all.
Have a Game of Beach Charades
Take turns acting out beach-related words or concepts. You can come up with a list of ideas ahead of time, or simply just look around and come up with something to act out. Everyone will have fun guessing.
Play Impromptu Tic-Tac-Toe
Grab a stick or shovel and make a giant tic-tac-toe game in the wet sand, or arrange some sticks to create a game grid. Then use shells or stones in different colors for your markers and compete to see who can win the most games.
Have a Beach Relay Race
Form the family into two teams and have a relay race down the beach. You can choose something, such as a rock or shell, that one person needs to pass to the next team member. The rules are flexible, and you can scale this beach game for kids of any age.
Hold a Sand Mermaid Contest
Split into teams and see who can make their partner into the best sand mermaid. This is like burying someone in the sand, but you have to create a tail with the person's lower half. Sculpting the tail and adding shells and details will help you win the game.
Find the Strangest Thing at the Beach
Set a timer and give everyone five minutes to find the strangest thing at the beach and bring it back. You can set rules about how far kids can go or how close they can get to the water. When everyone returns, they can show the rest of the family what they found.
Beach Day Activities for School
Even if you aren't really going to the beach, school beach days can be a lot of fun. Channel the real beach experience with these fun beach activity ideas:
Make Shell Necklaces and Art
Have plenty of shells, string, beads, glue, and other materials on hand so kids can create shell art and necklaces. This can be a fun and creative way to add beach flair to an ordinary day.
Create a Sand Handprint
Bring the beach to you by making a handprint out of sand. This is a fun and easy beach craft for kids of all ages. Simply make a handprint in glue and then sprinkle lots of sand over the top. Let it dry and shake off the excess.
Make a Beach in a Jar
You can make your very own beach to take home, whether you're doing a beach day at school or actually going to the beach. Grab a clean canning jar and fill it with layers of sand, shells, and rocks. It's a fun sensory activity for everyone.
Have a Water Balloon Toss
At the beach or outside at school, fill lots of water balloon with water and take turns tossing them at a target. This can be a fun way to practice hand-eye coordination and have a great time.
Create Memories With Fun Things to Do at the Beach
The beach is an exciting place for kids of any age. Whether you're having a beach party for someone's birthday or simply just creating family memories together, there are lots of fun beach activities for kids.