Apparatus not required: 6 creative beach activities

Life is better at the beach. So say the thousands of Canadians who flock to the coasts, shores, and riverbanks across the country to relax, play, and simply enjoy the outdoors.

Whether it’s an afternoon at the beach or a full-on beach holiday, the activities are endless when water meets sand. In fact, the combo is one of the easiest ways to inspire free play.

Go-to games like beach volleyball, playing catch, kite flying, or building epic sand castles are guaranteed fun. But instead of filling your beach bag with all that gear, incorporate the objects around you as part of playtime.

Here are six simple activities that will lighten the load and get imaginations — and bodies — moving.

1. Jump in the lake

Of course, swimming is one of summer’s biggest and best activities, but not everyone is keen to dive in the water. For new swimmers, laying in shallow water builds confidence. Add an extra challenge by piling a mound of sand near the water’s edge and take turns racing up the ‘ramp’ and jumping in feet-first. Who can make the biggest splash or the silliest jump?

Required: Nothing. Just some extra energy to race down the speedway.

Skills developed: Running and jumping.

2. Build a beach obstacle course

On your mark, get set, go! The sky’s the limit when you create your own beach circuit: jump over a towel, cartwheel over a sand castle, crab walk and toss rocks into a hole that you dug yourself. Then try it on one foot or while going backwards. Got the whole gang? Turn it into a relay race.

Required: Any old beach gear.

Skills developed: Agility through multiple movements like running, crawling, jumping, and throwing.

3. Sink or swim

No, we don’t mean you. Dig a few deep holes, fill them with water, and gather five objects around you. Guess whether they’ll sink or swim before you plop them inside.

Required: Buckets or cups to carry water.

Skills developed: Digging, lifting, and balancing.

 4. Create a sand canvas

Flatten and smooth out a large area in the sand with hands or feet and use your finger or stick to write a message or draw a picture. Go on a nature scavenger hunt and fill your pockets with branches, stones, and shells to decorate your masterpiece.

Required: Nothing other than some creativity.

Skills developed: Pushing and pulling to smooth the sand, coordination and strength.

5. Race down a river

A mini-river that is. Dig a hole a few steps away from the shoreline and add two long narrow trenches back to the water. Gather and dump water to make a flowing stream. Start at the top and drop some light objects like leaves or twigs and see which ones travel the quickest. Make it more challenging by adding obstacles along the way.

Required: Shovel or use your hands. Buckets or bottles to transport water.

Skills developed: Lifting and lowering.

6. Play beach tag

Give a typical game of tag a seaside theme like “Sharks & Fish”. One person is the shark who must tag the others. Once tagged, the fish become part of the shark’s family and help tag the remaining fish. The last person to be tagged is the fastest fish.

Required: Nothing.

Skills developed: Running, balance, and coordination.

Here are 21 more active beach games to try.

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