Children need the freedom and time to play. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity. ~ Kay Redfield Jamison
As I mentioned before we are the outdoor kind of couple. Most of our vacations we take- we travel on a self-catering basis. We like to rent a house/condo, rent a car and off we go exploring the island! With kids or without, this is our all time favorite type of vacations. A lot of time people keep asking us how do we manage to do this with kids, how do we entertain them without all these fancy all-inclusive playgrounds, splash pads and pools.
To be honest we never had a problem entertaining our kids. There is so MUCH to do on the beach! We even tried to go to all-inclusive vacations with kids couple times, they were much harder for us. Why? First of all, once kids saw the these slides – they were glued to that place. We couldn’t get them to the beach, plus with all the older kids around we couldn’t relax, because our small kids kept falling, hitting themselves, got pushed or pushed other kids….everybody running, it is slippery….maybe it is much easier on older kids, but not on toddlers. Plus our kids didn’t want to play in a “baby section” its for babies, you know… haha, they always went all the way to the older kids sections.
I don’t know, it just didn’t seem safe or fun to us. And we never could relax even for a moment.
So if you are wondering what you could do with your kids on the beach, without the kids clubs, slides etc -here are some great ideas of beach activities for kids.
Ball Channel Races:
With a stick or spoon, dig a channel in the sand, about as deep as the height of a ping-pong ball. Drop the ball in the end of the channel, and blow it from one end to the other. Dig as many lines as there are kids, and have a race! ( via Mom.me)
Build a Sand Castle:
This is a great beach family activity that never gets old. Use buckets and other containers to shape the castle walls, or simple shape it with your hands. Kids can also help bringing water for that huge castle of yours with towers 🙂 Don’t forget to have fun destroying your creation before you leave!
Create Footprints on the Sand:
Be creative and shape prints of dinosaurs, giant birds, and other creatures in the sand. Might adore your own footprints as well. Sometimes they come out funny and in 3D 😉
Build Beach Fort:
Kids need a break from the sun, but who wants to leave the beach? No need to drag another piece of equipment with you—just drape towels, blankets and sarongs around two beach chairs, and you’ll have the perfect little spot of shade. ( via Mom.me)
The beach is a giant sandbox where you can design pictures with pebbles, shells, and the sand itself. Or you may just teach or practice with your kids in writing.
Here are some great ideas of drawing sand homes from apartment therapy.
Fly a Kite:
There’s nothing like flying a kite at the beach. No electricity poles to worry about. If you fall from trying to keep up with your kite you land on soft warm sand. Choose a store-bought option or be even more frugal and make your own kite. Make it a contest to see who can keep their kite in the air the longest.
Tic Tac Toe:
Here’s a game you can play anywhere, any time, whether you’re 4 or 94. Draw just one board, and use toys, balls, shells… or anything else that you have as playing pieces. ( via Mom.me)
Collect Sea Shells:
This activity is like a treasure hunt without any effort to set it up. Walk along the shoreline and see what treasures catch your eye. Later in your vacation, see if you can find a jewelry maker to turn the shells into a bracelet or necklace to take home.
If you’re playing games at the beach, don’t forget about that huge body of water that refreshes and cools down your active kids! Here’s how to play this fun game: Two opposing players sit on the beach next to each other, holding a large cup on their heads. Their teammates run to the ocean, fill a small cup of water and run back to dump it into the cup. The first team to fill the large cup wins! ( via Mom.me)
Play Beach Bowling:
Set up empty cans or half-filled water bottles as the pins. Take turns trying to knock them down with a beach ball or soccer ball.
Fill the sand hole:
Dig holes in the sand. Amount of holes = amount of kids. Give kids some cups or kids water buckets and let them fill their own hole with the ocean water. Whoever fills their holes up faster – wins! 🙂
Make a Pond:
Dig and make a puddle of water in the sand.Kids will have fun hopping in it until it dries.
Turn a day at the beach into a Olympic-inspired competition. Head over to A Small Snippet and see how to set up games like hurdles, a 40-yard dash, discus throw, and more. A true showcase of sand athletics, these little hurdlers even had shirts made for the occasion!
Build a Sand Volcano:
Use this fun activity to illustrate how real volcanoes erupt. Kids will love watching this fun chemical reaction! (via Growing a Jeweled Rose)
If your beach vacation comes complete with clear waters, forgo the trip to the aquarium and bring your own snorkel along instead. You will view sea life up close without spending a dime.
Take photos of your funny faces on the shadow:
Make some funny face on the sand, then stand the way that your shadows will overlap with the funny faces on the sand. Take a memorable photo! 🙂
Take a small inflatable pool to the beach. Kids are sure to love it. Be sure to add some sand at the bottom of the pool and splash water out of it. And since the sand is so soft under the bottom of the pool, they can jump into it over and over again. This will make it even more fun for them.
Blow bubble on the beach:
Kids love bubbles. And bubble on the beach sound like double fun!
Stand at the water’s edge with your little one, holding their hands. As each wave comes help them jump it, splashing down with their feet as it recedes. We do this for hours.
Try cooking, baking, and creating with sand. You’re familiar with mud pies. Try sand pies! (Sand looks a lot like brown sugar, after all!)
Boogie Board Balancing Act:
Have everyone line up their boogie boards near the edge of the water. Have your little acrobats stand on the board with their backs facing the water (so they won’t see the waves coming). The winner is the last one standing on their board when the water retreats.
Make Sand Angels:
You might end up a little sandy, but that’s what going to the beach is all about! Claim your patch of sand and wave your arms and legs to make a sandy angel. See how long it takes for the tide to come in and fill in the outline.
Go for a walk along the beach:
Exercising is good for all of us. Walking along the beach isn’t only a great exercise, but also an awesome family time spending and talking.
Make a Sandman:
If you happen to live South, where you have sun 24/7, or decided to take a sunny vacation during Christmas time – go ahead, make Snowman’s cousin – a Sandman!
Peddle boat, sail boat, kayak, glass bottom boat. You have a lot of choices. And in case you are in a resort or hotel, many of them offer free use of non-motorized water equipment. So jump in, grab the paddles and go have fun! 🙂
Throw a frisbee:
Run, jump, catch it, throw it back!
Become a Mermaid:
Bury someone’s body or feet in the sand and create a mermaid tail with the surrounding sand.
Beach Ball Toss:
Sometimes the simplest games can be the most fun. So forget the fancy gear. To start a giggle-inducing game of toss all you’ll need is an oversized beach towel and beach ball. Pair your kids up and give them a beach towel and a beach ball. Have them work together to toss the beach ball into the air and then catch it on their towel. This bright idea is courtesy of Brilliant Beginnings Preschool.
Skee-Ball on the Beach:
Skee-Ball + sand = fun. Recreate everyone’s favorite arcade game at the beach. Just dig holes and get rolling.
Beach Scavenger Hunt:
The beach is full of hidden treasures. If your pint-sized pirate isn’t quite ready for ocean exploration, then a land-based scavenger hunt is a great way to spend the afternoon. Start the day off with easy-to-locate items and slowly work your way toward more obscure finds, just like Katie of Views from the Step Stool did with her son.
Play Beach Ball:
As simple as it gets. Kids , ball and tons of laughs. Check out Baby Gizmo for some fun beach ball games.
Play, jump, dive, splash, have fun!
And of course don’t forget the simple things like SPLASH, JUMP, RUN and HAVE FUN on the beach!
These activities will keep you and your family entertained on the beach without spending nearly anything. When it comes to family fun vacations, nothing beats the beach.