17 Things to Do at the Beach with Kids

A day at the beach doesn't need to be stressful or expensive. With these easy beach activities for kids, you'll never be bored at the shore again!

Whether you're visiting a nearby lake or tropical ocean, kids love spending the day at the beach. They will probably want to check the classic activities off their to-do list: make sand castles, ride the waves, and eat delicious ice cream in the warm sun. But sometimes it's fun to shake things up, which is why we compiled this list of 17 things to do at the beach with kids.

For these activities and games, all you need is a few simple supplies—most of them are probably in your beach bag already. You also shouldn't forget snacks, fluids, and sunscreen (preferably a physical sunscreen of SPF 30+ that you reapply regularly).

Boy on Beach In Sunglasses Arms Up Around Seagulls
Elena Sherengovskaya/Shutterstock

Try a few of these beach games and activities, no matter if your child is 2 years old or 12 years old, for an exciting day in the sun. Your family will make memories that last a lifetime!

Beach Activities for Kids

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1. Coastal Clues

Boy and girl walking on beach holding Explorer's Bags
Photograph by Sabrina Helas

Create a list of items you might find by the sea—a seagull, a kite, a sand castle, a lifeguard, etc. Your kids can locate all of the items to complete the scavenger hunt and get a reward. (Some ice cream, perhaps?)

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2. Seascape Scrapbook

Have your child collect shells, driftwood, stones, and sea glass. Once they've amassed a trove of supplies, they can use their finds to create a "picture" in the sand.

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3. Blanket Bounce

This might be one of the best beach games involving your towel! Ask two kids to hold a towel stretched taut and challenge them to bounce a beach ball in the air, catching it with the towel. See how long they can keep it going.

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4. Sand Skee Ball

child playing sand games
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Draw circles and numbers in the sand to set up a Skee Ball-like game. Each circle can correspond to point value (for example, the bigger circle can be 5 points, a medium circle can be 10 points, and the smallest circle can be 15 points). Toss shells, stones, or small toys into the circles to rack up points.

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5. Beach Bowling

You'll need six plastic bottles for this fun beach game for kids. Fill them partly with sand and set them up in a pyramid shape (three on the bottom, two in the middle, and one on the top). Take turns rolling a tennis ball to knock them over—just like makeshift bowling. Remember to recycle the bottles once you've finished!

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6. Sand Games

Your children can play hopscotch, tic-tac-toe, and hangman in the sand. All they need is a drawing utensil (like a stick) and some imagination! Some beach finds, like sticks and seashells, can elevate the games even more.

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7. DIY Sundial

Sand sundial
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Create a sundial using driftwood and rocks. Every hour, get your kid to place a pile of rocks at the tip of your stick's shadow. As the day passes, the shadow will move in a circle—just like the hands of a clock!

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8. Musical Towels

This activity gives a beach-y twist to musical chairs. Simply set up towels in a circle (with one fewer towel than the number of players), turn on some music, and have your kids walk over them. Once the music stops, they must lay down on the nearest towel. The player without a towel is eliminated. Remove a towel after each round until you've got one player left standing.

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9. Beach Relay

young boys holding hands running into ocean
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Ready, set, go! For this beach relay race, have your kids fill cups with water, then empty them into bigger buckets placed several feet away. The first one to fill their bucket to the top wins the race!

This is a fun beach game for kids already, but if you want to make it more difficult, set up obstacles along the path to the bucket. For example, kids can jump over towels or wiggle through a hula hoop.

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10. Painted Rocks

Looking for artistic things to do at the beach? This project lets your kids get crafty, and it doubles as a random act of kindness. Bring some art supplies—like markers or paint—and decorate smooth rocks that you find on the shore (you can also bring rocks from home). Hide them for other beachgoers to find at a future time.

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11. Sand People

Move over, sand castles! Take a cue from Frosty and encourage your kids to create sand people, complete with seashell eyes and stick arms. They can also recreate your family members as a sandy self-portrait.

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12. Exploration Walk

Dad and Child Running On Beach Family Watching
Jason Lindsey

Take a walk along the shore, stopping to admire any aquatic life, tide pools, and vegetation you find along the way. It's a great opportunity for a marine lesson (and you can research anything you don't know together at home).

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13. Clean Up

It's important to teach kids about community service—and picking up trash on the beach is a great way to do it! Take a walk along the shore, armed with gloves and trash bags, to gather garbage as a family. You can even do this beach activity if the weather's a little chilly; just bundle up with a sweatshirt and close-toed shoes.

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14. Aqua-Scope

boy looking through aqua scope
Thayer Allyson Gowdy

Create an aquatic viewer from a yogurt container. Cut out the bottom with a craft knife and have kids decorate their scope with colored duct tape. Punch holes on the sides of the lip for a string handle, and use a piece of plastic wrap and a wide rubber band to cover the open end. Take it to the shallow water or a tide pool; your kids will love looking at the undersea world.

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15. Drip Castle

Try this fun twist on a traditional sand castle. Fill a bucket with half sand and half water. Pour wet sand through a plastic funnel to build an abstract beach structure. Don't have a funnel? Cut the bottom off an empty two-liter bottle to make your own.

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16. Fly a Kite

girl running with kite on beach
Priscilla Gragg

With open skies and seaside breezes, the beach is the ideal location to learn how to fly a kite.

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17. Beach Read

Do your kids need a break from the salt and sand? They can sprawl on their towels while you read an age-appropriate book (bonus points if the story takes place near the sea!) You can also do this beach activity while eating lunch or snacks.

Additional reporting by Laura Fenton
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