Three children run on the beach in their bathing suits, laughing

10 creative activities to do at the beach with kids

We all love a good beach game. Classics like sandcastle-building and frisbee are always part of a fun beach day. But these more unique options add a little staying power and novelty to beach days. Set up your umbrella, bring your picnic or BBQ, and settle in for the day—it’s going to be a fun one!

1. Get creative with chalk

Chalk is a budget-friendly, joyful way to create on driveways and sidewalks—but it’s arguably even more fun at the beach. Bring bowls, paint brushes, and a wooden mallet to crush chalk, mix it with lake water, and make chalk paint to decorate rocks and shells. This simple addition to your beach bag will have kids running back and forth to the water and using their brains and bodies to get creative.

2. Bring something unexpected, like small characters or figures

Nothing elevates sand and water play quite like the addition of well-loved toys for rich, creative play. The toys don’t need to be expensive, new, or fancy. Keep it simple and check your local thrift shop or buy-and-sell site. For little ones, Rocky and his recycling truck can scoop sand and save the day, while knights and royalty can guard their sandcastle from invaders. If your kiddo needs a little break from swimming and running in the sand, these types of toys are also great for a little shade break under the umbrella.

3. Play a unique beach game, like Spikeball

This super-fun family game is great if you have older kids who are reluctant beach-goers. With rules that are a mashup of four-square and volleyball, this two-on-two game is a guaranteed way to get moving and have fun together. If a new game isn’t in the budget, be sure to check your local public library for free sports equipment rentals.

4. Invest in a stand-up paddle board for kids

While this is a pricier option for beach play, an inflatable stand-up paddleboard will serve your family well for years. Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun and joyful sport, and can help kiddos develop their confidence and independence and believe in their own ability to safely steer the ship (quite literally). Ensure safety by setting firm, clear guidelines, always wearing a life jacket, and going out on the SUP with your kids while they’re still learning to use it. 

5. Clean up trash

It’s hard not to notice when a beautiful beach is polluted with garbage or discarded, broken toys. Make it a habit to always bring garbage bags and gloves to your beach (and park) days. Teach your kids the value of our natural areas and encourage them to take the lead when it comes to caring for nature. After filling a few garbage bags, enjoy the view of a garbage-free beach and start your day feeling hopeful and positive.

6. Bring an underwater camera

This is such a fun way for kids to notice their underwater surroundings and capture the magic of being submerged. It’s also a lovely way to bring memories of the beach home. Choose your kid’s favourite shots to get printed and frame as a reminder of the beautiful beach days you’ve enjoyed together.

7. Bring flexible rubber roads and plastic cars

These flexible rubber roads are a cool and unique indoor/outdoor toy that can be laid out on almost any surface—including sand. Build mounds in the sand with your kiddo to make hills, then build your rubber roads on top of the hills to drive your toy cars over.

8. Practice cartwheels and handstands (or yoga poses)

Practicing cartwheels and handstands (in and out of the water) is always a fun way to boost energy and connect with your kids while having a friendly competition. Warm up with some yoga poses first (downward dog is way more fun when you can sink your hands into warm sand!).

9. Bring an active board game

While plenty of board games don’t require players to move their bodies, there are also plenty that encourage movement. Kids on Stage is a charades game for kids that’s guaranteed to get them up and moving and have the whole family connecting and laughing together. Feed the Woozle is another fun option that requires gross motor movement.

10. Have a water balloon fight (but make it eco-friendly)

These reusable water balloons from Tiny Toy Co. are handmade in Canada (and best of all, will not pollute our beautiful beaches or waterways). Even better? Little and big kids can refill them again and again using lake water, and keep their high-energy game going for hours with minimal parental help required.

Read more about summer activities for kids:

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