The beach has so much to offer families it’s not surprising that so many of us choose to holiday close to one! Aside from the obligatory sandcastle building and paddling there are many other fun and creative beach activities that the kids will love. They might even give you a bit of time to relax too!
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Living on the South Coast of the UK we tend do a lot of beach trips. There is so much to explore and enjoy about the beach environment and I find the girls are pretty good at making their own fun. But if you’re planning to spend a fair amount of time at the beach, like we did recently on our holiday to Cornwall, then having a few beach activities up your sleeve can be helpful! Here are some of our favourite ways to have fun and make wonderful memories at the beach.
Without a doubt the best beach-based activity I packed for our recent holiday was our Posca Paint marker pens. The girls spent hours over the week decorating pebbles that we found on the beach. Miss 5 told us one of the highlights of her week was when we had a big pebble painting session together! I have to agree it was a lot of fun!
Here are just some of the pebbles we made! Miss 16 months was desperate to join in too so I let her loose on her own pebble with our paint sticks, which she loved! If you have a very little one paint sticks are a great alternative to Posca Pens for their first pebble painting experience. In fact paint sticks are brilliant for lots of art projects and are one of our favourite recent finds!
The brilliant thing about Posca Paint pens is that they are mess-free so I wasn’t worried about using them in our holiday home. They are also easy to transport and use on the beach itself- a brilliant activity when the kids are starting to get tired or a need some down time. And if the beach you’re visiting doesn’t have pebbles you could always decorate some seashells instead.
Some of our happiest holiday memories as a family involve rock pooling at the beach. Firstly using a net is universally exciting to a kid! Then when they actually catch something it’s beyond exciting! I love rock pooling because it encourages those awe and wonder moments and forces children to slow down and appreciate the wonder of the natural world. It’s also a great opportunity to develop patience and perseverance!
Rock pooling does require a few bits of equipment but nothing too expensive. We found our new telescopic nets brilliant. They are much easier to transport to the beach and take up so little room! A clear bucket is also useful so that they can observe what they have found easily, as is a magnifying glass for taking a closer look. I also highly recommend taking a sea life identification book to help out with all those inevitable questions!
Beach art is one of the simplest beach activities but provides so much opportunity to be creative! Whether you’re on a pebbly beach, stony beach or surrounded by beautiful shells you can create amazing pictures and patterns with seaside treasures. The proper word for this is ‘transient art’, in other words a non-permanent piece of art work. There’s something so lovely about using natural materials in this way and being at the beach gives children the opportunity to work on a large scale if that want to.
The more time I spend with my kids the more I realise it’s the simple activities that bring the most joy. Flying a kite is definitely one of those activities. We’ve had a few kites in our time and all have died a death when the frame has snapped. To avoid a repeat of this we went for a parafoil kite this time. Parafoil kites contain no rigid frame but instead have pockets that fill with air enabling it to fly. They are brilliant for taking to the beach because the majority are compact and easily fit in a beach bag. They also require zero building time or repairs of a frame that keeps coming apart! We bought ours from Amazon and it was really easy to get it in the air- even Miss 3 was able to fly it!
The beach environment provides the perfect setting for small world play so why not think of packing some plastic animal figures to take along to the beach? My girls really enjoy taking their animals to the beach and making up stories or building homes for them.
Any animal figures could be taken to the beach and my kids would find it fun but I guess sea life is the obvious option! Amazon do a great sea life bundle which we have and are the types of ones you wouldn’t mind losing a few of at the beach! If you’re looking for premium quality, hard wearing and the most realistic looking animals I always recommend Schleich. We’ve tried many brands of animal figures but none of them come close to Schleich. They are on the more expensive side but they are really hard wearing and do stand the test of time compared to other brands.
Something on my wish list that I would LOVE to take to the beach one day is the Way To Play Road set. This is a set of connecting road pieces that are flexible and made out of rubber. Way to Play can get wet and be used on a variety of surfaces without any problems. They would be perfect to take to the beach with a set of cars or to be incorporated into an epic castle building project!
Beach Scavenger Hunt
Scavenger or treasure hunts are always a big hit with little kids and the beach provides an interesting environment in which to enjoy one. There are lots of ways you can set up your own scavenger hunt but if you’re short on time a great card game that we take on holiday and on days out is gofindit. Gofindit is a wonderful nature scavenger hunt card game where the idea is to find objects in the environment to match the descriptive words on the cards. We’ve enjoyed many occasions playing this game, several of these at the beach. You can read my full review of the game here.
Sand Play dough
If you’re holidaying in the UK then sadly there’s one thing you can’t guarantee and that’s good weather! Whilst we brave the beach in most weathers there are some days when it’s just not worth it! Sand Play dough makes a great alternative for those days that are a wash out or if you are looking for a way of keeping the kids entertained after the beach.
This sand play dough was easily made using our regular play dough recipe with 1 and a 1/2 cups of sand added to the dry ingredients. So that the dough is not too dry, you may also need to add a little more water than stated in the recipe.
This play dough has a lovely rough, grainy texture as well as looking just like sand! But it moulds and prints just like normal play dough. Paired with your beach treasures it makes a lovely beach themed activity.
These are some of our favourite beach activities but there are literally hundreds of other ideas on pinterest. There’s also lots of ideas for beach inspired activities and crafts to do at home. I’ve been collecting my favourites to do with my own kids so if you’re looking for more inspiration do take a look at my pinterest board below.