If you’re taking your kids to the beach, you’re sure to have a great day, especially if there’s plenty for them to do. They’ll love digging in the sand and splashing in the sea, but they may need some fresh ideas at some point to keep them happily occupied. Here are eight free or low-cost activities for you to set up for them – and preferably join in. Plan ahead and take along any items you may need.
Children love building sandcastles, but often tire before they’ve got very far. But with a helping hand and a few ideas from you, they’ll be spurred to carry on. Suggest they decorate their castle, carve a doorway and carve out a moat. Finished? Fine – now they can turn it into a spiral run for a ball or dig a tunnel through it.
Using fingers or sticks, help your kids draw and write in the sand. Etch funny faces or stick-men. Who can write their name or initial in the sand? Your older children might like to try a whole sentence, such as a mystery message for a stranger to find. Take turns to lie down and let the others mark out your outline. Who can remember which is which?
Help your children search for interesting flora and fauna. A net or bucket would be handy for scooping, but you could make do with a plastic box or bag. Look out for pretty shells, stones with fossil markings and any wildlife around, such as crabs or mussels. Return live creatures to their homes after inspection.
If your beach is a firm, sandy one, it’ll be perfect for sports and athletics. Encourage the kids to burn off energy with ball games, running races or gymnastic competitions. See who can do the best handstand or the silliest walk. Set obstacle races involving rocks, pools or deckchairs. Chase the waves out and race them back in.
Gather in the shade for a singsong. Nursery rhymes or any family favorites will serve the purpose, especially ones to do with water, boats or fish. Perhaps the kids could teach you a song they’ve learnt at school. Clap the rhythm or tap pebbles together for percussion. If you’ve brought any musical instrument along for the occasion, take care to protect it from damp, heat and scratches.
Rocks are good fun for scrambling over, but can be sharp or slippery, so your kids will need appropriate footwear, such as trainers or plastic sandals. Accompany younger children to ensure their safety, keeping a close eye on older ones, too. If your beach has sand dunes, you can all go for a slide.
Playing Beach Café
Help your children set up a make-believe café on the sand or rocks. They’ll enjoy collecting items to serve, such as pebbles for pretend cookies and buckets of seawater for coffee. They might like to bake some sand pies or seaweed sausages, too. Anything else for the menu?
If your children are hot or tired, entice them into the shade with a read-aloud story or a restful game like “I spy”. You may have to shift your belongings to a shadier area, but it will be worth the effort to keep everyone fresh and comfortable.
With simple activities and tactics like these, you can keep your kids smiling all holiday. It may mean cutting corners off your well-deserved rest, but it’ll be worth it for the bliss of family harmony!