Fun beach activities for kids

A day at the beach is time for more than swimming and sunbathing: games, competitions, and projects are all fun beach activities for kids.

The United States features thousands of miles of coastlines, shorelines, and riverbanks. Thousands of people, including many families, enjoy beach vacations each year, and many children are interested in more than swimming or sunbathing. With a few accessories, a dose of creativity, and an abundance of energy, kids enjoy many fun and exciting beach activities.

Swimming, surfing, and diving are classic beach favorites, while snorkeling and boogie boarding are also popular. Jet skis, waterskiing, and boating are more advanced activities requiring adult supervision, and children of all ages can experiment with different types of fishing. Water games include swimming competitions, races, and tricks, but children should be monitored carefully to insure their safety. Water pistols and cannons are fun beach toys for creating imaginative water games.

For kids who prefer to stay dry, the beach can host many entertaining activities on the sand. Sand castles can be simple or complex, and advanced construction including towers, moats, and drawbridges can take hours. Children can organize a sandcastle contest, with an impartial judge selecting the winner. If sandcastles are too cliché, kids may prefer building unique structures, including a sea serpent, pyramid, or a hobby-themed sculpture such as a baseball field or favorite animal.

The sand is a useful medium for many games. The smooth, wet surface is ideal for hopscotch, tic-tac-toe or other simple games. Beach artisans enjoy drawing masterpieces decorated with shells, rocks, seaweed, grasses, and other flotsam. With a metal detector, kids can scour the shore for buried treasure, while less energetic treasure hunters collect shells, smooth rocks, or other unique items.

Sports are always popular beach activities. Volleyball and football are enjoyable choices for large groups, while frisbee, badminton, and kite-flying are fun even with few participants. Rock-skipping is perfect for a day at the lake, but take care that rocks are thrown away from swimmers. Scavenger hunts can be fun and educational as children scramble to be the first to find different items, including shells, seaweed, driftwood, and other likely beach debris.

In addition to scavenger hunts, the beach offers a plethora of educational activities. Children can study marine biology and ecosystems by observing and experimenting with tidepools, and a simple microscope is a valuable tool for the aspiring scientist. Sticks can measure tidal changes, while a moat or sandcastle quickly becomes the scene of beach erosion. A bird species book is helpful for naming seabirds, and similar books are available for seashell identification.

A picnic is a great way to refuel young beachgoers. Choose cool, watery foods such as grapes and watermelon to keep children hydrated, and avoid sodas and salty snacks that increase thirst. Foods with eggs, mayonnaise, and other sensitive ingredients should be properly chilled or avoided altogether. If fires are permitted, roasting marshmallows or making s'mores will be a welcome treat. Be certain that active swimmers rest properly after eating before venturing back into the waves.

To finish off a day at the beach, a cleanup challenge teaches responsibility and environmental awareness. Equip each child with a trash bag and a pair of gloves, and organize a competition to collect the most trash, even if they didn't leave it on the beach in the first place. A prize, such as stopping for ice cream on the way home, is a great incentive.

Whether it is a tropical paradise, a remote private beach, or a public lake, kids can enjoy a wide variety of fun projects, games, and competitions. The day's agenda may include marine biology lessons, a refreshing picnic, sandcastle construction, a scavenger hunt, or a cleanup challenge, but whatever the choice, the beach is the hottest place to be for outrageous activities.

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