Many people head to the beach with their kids in tow without a plan for what they will do once they arrive. This can lead to boredom and frustration on both parents' and children's parts. Below are 12 activities that you can do at the beach with your children, plus some suggestions about what equipment you will need for these activities.
1. Build sandcastles or sand sculptures such as sharks, turtles, dolphins or mermaids. All you need is a bucket of damp sand, some tools (like spoons and forks), and an imagination.
2. Collect shells for an afternoon craft project ...or just let them play with them as they please! Just remember to pack up any seashells that could pose a choking hazard before heading back home--they may be pretty, but not all beach finds are safe for little ones who still put things into their mouths from time to time.
3. Catch crabs in tidal pools or look for hermit crabs or starfish.
4. Play hide and seek among sea oats, dunes, or beach grasses. Use your eyes only--no peeking! This is sure to keep any child occupied for hours. And parents should be able to get some work done or just relax!
5. Search high tide line (especially after a storm) for driftwood that has washed ashore. Stack it into structures like teepees, homes, fences--the sky's the limit here; let their imagination run wild!
6. Play a game of catch with a beach ball or frisbee. This can be great exercise, as well as fun for all ages and abilities. Just remember to pack sunscreen and water bottles.
7. Fly kites in windy weather but don't forget the stakes that anchor them into the sand so they won't take off without you when a gust blows by! The kids will love chasing their tails through the air.
8. Ride boogie boards or bodyboards in the surf. This is a great activity for kids of all ages (although you may have to help very young ones stay on their board). Just be sure to swim close to shore so they don't get too tired and can easily make it back to land if needed.
9. Have a picnic lunch on the beach. Pack enough food and drinks for everyone, plus napkins, plates, cups, and utensils. And don't forget a blanket or towels to sit on. For a special treat, pack a thermos with iced coffee and iced chocolate.
10. Play hopscotch or other simple games in the sand using seashells as markers/objects to jump over/onto..
11. Search for pretty rocks along the shoreline and take them home as keepsakes .
12. Have a water balloon or water gun fight.
As always, make sure you bring sunscreen even if it's overcast outside.
And don't forget to pack a towel or two, extra clothes if necessary (especially swimsuits and coverups), hats, sunglasses, and sand toys like buckets and shovels. With all of these items, you're sure to have a fun-filled day at the beach that both parents and children will enjoy!