Spending the day with your children by the sea can create beautiful memories that last a lifetime. Or, between the sand everywhere, the complaints that they’re hot or the constant worry that they’ll go out to far into the water, it can create sour memories. Plan a few seaside activities before hitting the beach and you’ll likely leave with the memories you want to make instead of ones that only recall a day of hassle.
Build a Sandcastle
Bring buckets and shovels to the beach with you, and you’ll be able to build a sandcastle as a family. Building sandcastles builds fine motor skill development and encourages cooperation. Once the main sandcastle is built, let your children be creative about decorating it and making it their own. They might collect seashells, rocks and seaweed to push into the sand walls. Have them build a moat around the castle or decorate the outside by building trees, cars and gardens out of sand. Perhaps your children would rather make a sand house, school or amusement park instead of a castle. Allow them to be creative and they’ll enjoy the activity more.
Beach Scavenger Hunt
Create a scavenger hunt before heading to the beach. Include seaside related objects, such as a crab, sandcastle, seaweed or beach ball. Give each child a copy of the list and see who can find all of the objects. Older kids can compete against one another and younger children can work together to complete the hunt. Bring along your camera and take pictures of each item so you have a record of the fun.
Explore Tide Pools
Tide pools are small depressions of water that are left behind in the sand after high tide. They are often teeming with wildlife, which children are likely to find highly interesting. Bring large magnifying glasses to the beach with you, and give each of your children one. Ask them to see whether they can find seaweed, mussels, hermit crabs and sea stars. Encourage your children to see what else they can find. Remind your children not to step in tide pools or touch the wildlife living in them.
Ask each of your children to find a long stick and write their name or draw pictures in the sand. Draw a large tic-tac-toe or hopscotch game and play a round with each of your children. Give each of your child a bucket and ask them to start a collection of beach objects, such as shells or pebbles. Encourage your children to gather pieces of beach debris, such as driftwood and seaweed, and make a sculpture, or have your children line up and chase the waves as they come in and out.