Sand, seashells, and stones can provide hours of family fun both on the beach and at home. Get some ideas for beach-related activities, games, and crafts to try with kids of any age.
by Erin Dower
Seashell Wind Chime
This craft is almost as simple as a walk on the beach. Go on a shell hunt with your child and follow these easy directions to make your own seashell symphony. Toddlers can help pick out the shells, but only older children should help you with nailing holes in the shells.
Colored Sand Candle Holder
You don't have to pay money at a fair or craft store to create colored sand art. Use food coloring to make your own pretty sand and a colorful candle holder at home. Lay down a plastic tablecloth to help prevent a huge mess. This is great activity for children ages 3 and up.
Take a stroll with your kids on the beach or in a park and gather rocks of all shapes and sizes. Then use paint, glue, and other fun items – like pipe cleaners and googley eyes – to design some lively rock art. This activity is recommended for kids ages 4 to 10.
There's no wrong way to build a sand castle, and it's a great activity for children of all ages. But if your family is looking to build one that's over-the-top, learn how to make towers, ramps, arches, and other stupendous sandcastle features. Just don't get too attached to your sand structure. It won't last forever, you know!
A beach scavenger hunt is another activity that's fun for all ages. Make a list of objects and creatures for your kids to find in this nature hunt, such as seashells, round stones, seaweed, and hermit crabs, and send them off with a bucket or bag in a race to collect their treasures. Help your younger children in their hunt to make it a fair game.
Spelling with Sea Shells
Wondering what to do with all the seashells your child collects on the beach? Keep him busy by having him write out his name or words and phrases in the sand with his shells. Try to guess what word he's spelling after each shell letter he "writes," or have him draw a picture using the shells and guess what he's creating. Children ages 6 to 10 will probably have the most fun with this game.
Sea Creature Sand Sculpture
Older kids and teens might be over building traditional sand castles. Challenge them to sculpt a sea creature, like a dolphin, shark, or sea turtle, or even make a sandy self-portrait. While buckets and shovels are good for constructing sand castles, these other kinds of sand creations are best built by wet hands.
Use binoculars, a telescope, or your naked eye to play a game of "I spy" with your younger child, adding up her clues to guess what she sees at the beach – a bird, a plane... hopefully not a shark!
Use the prettiest shells you find at the beach to make beautiful seashell magnets. Then you can use them to cover your fridge with your favorite family photos from your beach adventures. Children ages 3 and older can do this simple craft.
Keep track of fun memories from the beach this summer by taking photos, buying postcards, and collecting sand and other little keepsakes from places you visit. As the summer comes to a close, make a summer scrapbook with your preschooler or older child to enjoy for years to come.