Is there anything better than a day at the beach? There is something about a bright shining sun in a blue cloudless sky that makes it impossible to be in a bad mood. It’s one of the best parts of summer for a lot of people.
After all, for many of us, the prospect of relaxing all day without a care in the world sounds like pure bliss. However, if you are making a trip to the beach with your family, you may be worried about your children having enough to do to keep themselves busy. Here is a selection of fun and creative ideas to keep occupied on your beach day — and most of them involve no or very little equipment at all.
Digging in the Sand
Let’s start with the most basic of beach activities. Actually, a better word to describe this one would be “classic” — who doesn’t love the act of digging in the sand? Not only is this a wonderful sensory experience, but it also is a great opportunity for your children to make the most of their imagination. They can believe that they are building a moat for a castle, or that they are trying to dig a hole to the other side of the world. It’s best if you bring a few miniature shovels with you, but in a pinch digging with your bare hands works, too. Here are some great ideas for the kinds of things that you can do while digging in the sand.
You knew that this one was coming, didn’t you? The first beach activity that comes to mind for many people is the making of sandcastles. One of the best things about the sandcastle building is that you don’t have to be limited to a sandcastle at all — you can use your creativity to build a sand house, or a school, or a resort. There are many different kinds of toys and moulds out there that can help you make the best sandcastles, but you can even just use your own hands for building. The most important tool will be a bucket so that you can wet the sand for better building quality.
Some sports are better suited for the beach than others. Beach volleyball just might be the most famous beach sport of them all. Some beaches will have their own beach volleyball net, but if you want to take a DIY there are ways to bring your own portable net. If you want to try it on easy mode, leave the authentic volleyball at home and instead opt for an inflatable oversized ball (just make sure that you’re not playing on a windy day).
If beach volleyball isn’t your style, you might enjoy a game of beach badminton instead. This will involve bringing a few more supplies, but the most important component is the same: the net. Or, better yet, you can use the same net in both your beach volleyball and beach badminton games.
Water Bucket Relay
This is a great beach idea for large groups. With limited supplies, you can put on an exciting water bucket relay that promotes major team coordination. Learn how to have the ultimate water relay here.
Fly a Kite
If the day is too windy for a game of volleyball or badminton, you may want to do an activity that thrives in windy conditions: of course, we’re talking about flying a kite! A beach is a perfect location for kite-flying because there is a lot of wide-open space. If you are going to the beach on a windy, cool day, then this might be the perfect time to pack a kite because the beach is likely to be less busy. If you would like to make your own kite, here are some great DIY ideas.
Water Balloon Fight
Now here’s an idea for the very hot days. If you have a large group, one simple and inexpensive way to engage everyone in an activity is to stage a water balloon fight. You might want to fill the water balloons up in advance and place them in a cooler before going to the beach, though, as they are best filled up via tap or hose, and you may not be able to find those near a beach.
Here’s another thing: old discarded balloons have the potential to pollute our beloved beach areas, so make sure that you don’t leave them behind in the aftermath of your water balloon fight. You might want to make it a contest to see who can clean up the most balloon remains! Here are some other tips for having a successful water balloon fight.
Have you ever played bocce ball? This underrated game is popular in some families but not quite popular in the mainstream. You can purchase many different bocce ball kits, each with its own unique design, but you can make your own as well. Bocce ball is a great way to pass some time at the beach — it can be played by all age groups, by small groups and big groups, and can even be played tournament-style (which could take up your whole day).
Collect Sea Shells
She sells seashells by the seashore? Well, we can’t guarantee that you will get to the selling point, but the first step in the process is definitely to find seashells in the first place. The types of seashells that you will find washed up on the beach will depend largely on what part of the world you’re in (and how frequently they comb the beach), there are some things that you can look out for that will make you a seashell-seeking expert. Check out some great tips for seashell hunting here.
Do a Beach Cleanup
Seashells are not the only things that you can find washed up on the beach. Unfortunately, garbage and other detritus are also all too commonly found close to the seashore. While many beach municipalities around the world work tirelessly to keep their beaches clean, many cannot keep up with the sheer amount of litter that makes its way into our oceans and lakes. You can do your part for your community and environment by performing a beach cleanup with your family — just bring gloves and a plastic bag and you’ll have everything that you need.
Here’s one for the budding Picasso in all of us. If sandcastles aren’t quite your thing, you might be interested in the idea of creating a work of art in the sand. This can take many forms, from sand sculptures to drawing pictures in the sand with sticks.
Disc golf is another outdoor recreational activity that lends itself well to the beach environment. You will need to bring your own disc golf sets in most cases, though, unless your local beach happens to have some disc golf infrastructure.
Is it cheating for us to include reading on this list? No matter how simplistic of an activity it may seem, there’s no denying that reading and beach days were meant for each other. Whether you are deep into a book trilogy or looking to pick up some light reading material that is perfectly suited for a carefree beach environment, reading is a great way to pass the day by the water. What could be more relaxing than losing yourself in a story while listening to the crash of the waves in the background? If you’re unsure of what to read, here are some classic beach read ideas.
Look for Beach Glass
We mentioned earlier that a lot of garbage ends up in the ocean — but did you know that sometimes this garbage can actually turn into something beautiful? Not that we condone littering. We just know that sometimes the glass that is discarded can be worn down to the point that it is turned into beautiful beach glass. Beach glass can come in a variety of colors, and many people love to collect it during every visit that they take to the beach.
Who says that mini golf can only be played at fancy mini golf courses? You can set up your own game of mini golf at the beach using either store-bought or homemade materials. Just make sure that you are sticking to your course and not hitting balls all willy nilly into the water. That’s one surefire way to never see your golf balls again!
You’ve heard of snow angels, but did you know that you can also make angels out of sand? There isn’t much to this idea — you just lay down in the sand and flail your arms — but it’s definitely enough to keep the young ones occupied for at least a little while.
Play Make Believe
Can you think back to your favorite beach memories from when you were growing up? What do they all have in common? Chances are you were having fun playing with your siblings and/or cousins in a giant game of make-believe. Sometimes it’s better to not overplan your beach days and to just let kids be, well, kids.
When in doubt, grab a frisbee! Or at least that’s what we always tell people who are packing for a beach day. One of the best things about frisbee is that it’s a game that requires very little explanation. There may be a technique to being good at it, but pretty much everybody knows how to play frisbee.
Have Fun With Baking Moulds
Remember how we mentioned earlier that the best sandcastles are made by using sandcastle building tools? Some of the best sandcastle building tools aren’t even designed for sandcastle making. You can use baking molds to make adorable sandy creations (don’t worry, you can still reuse them for baking later — just throw them in the dishwasher first).
Set up a Hammock
Hanging out at the beach is fun and relaxing, but it can be uncomfortable to sit on a flat towel all day long. If you can, try to bring your portable hammock to the beach! We won’t judge you if you use it as an opportunity to steal a little nap.
A trip to the beach is the perfect time to practice your yoga skills! This is especially true if you happen to be at the beach around sunset time — arguably the most relaxing yoga setting ever. Here is a list of some basic yoga poses if you need a refresher.
Tug of War
Tug of War is another old-school game that deserves a bit of a resurgence. You will only need limited supplies, as well: just a rope and something to use to draw a line in the sand. Here are some instructions for pulling off a great game of tug of war.
We promised you a game to play that requires little to no materials, and “I Spy” is definitely one of them. You know the game — the one where you look out and exclaim “I spy, with my little eye, something that is [color]”. This game is a great way for kids and adults to bond.
No matter what you choose to do, we’re sure that it will be fun — the most important ingredient of all is the beach, anyway. Which activity are you the most excited to partake in with your family?