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Everyone enjoys the beach. It’s a fun outdoor activity for the whole family and doesn’t take a lot of planning or supervision if you have kids.
You can go on the weekend with 1000’s of other beach-goers or you can go on the weekdays when beaches are less crowded. Some beaches are hidden-gems that only locals know about, while others attract summer tourists by the bus-load.
Whether you visit the beach in the high or low season really doesn’t matter. Your children will probably enjoy hanging out in the water, sand, and sun and they will find something to keep busy.
The reason for this article are the dreaded words “I’m bored”. Kids should never be bored at the beach. Below are 10 ideas to keep kids busy. Many of the activities will also keep parents busy too!
I’ve read a few similar articles and many of them are repetitive. These suggestions aim to identify easy, yet unique options for your kids at the beach.
10 Ways To Keep Kids Busy At The Beach
No. 1 Swim Trunks
This is a no-brainer right? I didn’t have to mention this idea because it’s the most obvious… swim trunks are important. Kids can play in the shallow water or if they can swim they can venture out farther.
I always wear swim trunks to the beach even if I’m not going in. They’re comfy and dry quickly if they get wet. Here’s a few other activities you can do with your swim trunks in the shallow water
- Take a walk along the beach
- Search for seashells
- Dig for sand crabs
No. 2 Shovel and Buckets
A few buckets and a shovel are a good addition to any beach trip. Plastic is relatively lightweight and when carrying them to the beach you can put food or other items inside the buckets.
If you’ve seen the latest beach buckets, they have patterns inside the bucket so sand is formed “sand-castle style”. Just fill the bucket up, pack it down, turn it over and you’ll have a watchtower already made.
The shovel is an underestimated tool for boys at the beach. Let them “dig to China” or bury each other so only their heads remain above the sand.
When I was young my siblings and I would go to the beach with my father and grandfather. We’d collect driftwood, then start digging to make a fort and use the driftwood as walls.
Related: Beach Essentials for Women
No. 3 Don’t Forget the Boards
Depending on how familiar you are with beach sports, you might only know about surfboards. There are however, many options for beach boards and some are better suited for young kids. Here are a few options for your kids to keep busy in the shallow waters:
Skimboards are made for the shore, so they’re a great activity for younger kids. If you’re familiar with “hydroplaning” then you’ll easily understand how skimboards work. They are used when the water begins receding from the shore.
Timing and balance are key for being a good skimboarder. If you have competitive or hard-working children they will love practicing skimboarding. Once they learn, they’ll be able to do tricks like spins and jumps.
Check out my article on the Best Skimboards for the Beach
Bodyboards are more common than skimboards and are used a little further out in the surf. Bodyboards are good because they can be used by amateurs and small kids in the whitewash, or they can be used on big waves, much like surfing.
Bodyboards will provide your kids with hours of fun and they are affordable.
Related: 9 Best Bodyboards for the Beach
No. 4 Go Fly a Kite
Kites are an age-old beach activity and they never seem to go out of style. I remember flying kites with my family at the beach when I was young. They are easy to use and learn and can keep both girls and boys busy for a few hours. There are a few different types of kites to consider.
Single-line (as the name suggests one line) are your most basic kites and are great for young kids. They take little skill and basically fly on their own if there’s enough wind.
Single-line kits can come with a frame or be frameless (parafoil). I really like frameless kites because they have less assembly and are easy to pack for a day at the beach. Frameless kites are usually less likely to break as well.
Dual-line kites are the sport kites (aka stunt kites). These take more skill and knowledge, but once learned they can be a lot of fun.
With dual-line kites you have two lines, 1 for each hand. Subtle movements of the hand will make the kite move up, down, left and right.
If you’ve ever seen a stunt kite at the beach they are amazing to watch. Dual-line kites also have frame and frameless (parafoil) options.
Each type has its benefits but like single-line kites, frameless (parafoil) kites pack small and are a bit easier to fly (sometimes they require strength though and give a good workout). See cool video below:
No. 5 Throw Something (paddle ball, soccer, football, frisbee, volleyball)
A beach is a great place for sports because there is so much space. Diving into the water chasing balls or a frisbee is fun too. Whether it’s playing catch with dad, football with friends, paddle ball with mom, or trying to master throwing a frisbee, or games are a good idea to keep kids busy.
- Paddle ball
Related: Best Beach Games for Kids and Adults
No. 6 Eat
People need to eat even when having fun at the beach. Kits will no doubt want (or expect) a few snacks.
Instead of bringing a big lunch or meal, think about easy-to-eat snacks that the kids will enjoy. Trail mix, fruit bars, fruit, and don’t forget plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Because of the ocean and heat, kids will have a tendency to become dehydrated. Make sure they are consistently drinking water throughout the day even when you think they don’t need it. Eating will keep kids busy at least for a small amount of time!
Related: Best Food and Snacks for the Beach
No. 7 Any Book Worms?
These days I’m aware that most kids would rather look up information (or play games) on an iPhone or Ipad. The problem with phones and electronics at the beach is that they can easily be ruined (best beach reads).
Sand tends to get everywhere and salty water can also be corrosive. If you have expensive electronics make sure you keep them in a zip lock bag or a similar case where they won’t be invaded by sand.
Books are perfect for the beach because they can take some wear and tear. Sand can be cleaned from them pretty easily and water, though it may make pages stick together, is relatively harmless compared to a Kindle.
Comic books magazines are great options too. Bring a few, and if your children get tired of playing they can relax under the umbrella and read.
No. 8 Bring a Friend… and a GoPro
A friend always cures boredom. If there are enough seats in the car let your kids bring a friend. They will likely spend a few hours hanging out, playing games, and exploring the beach. 2 minds will allow them to brainstorm and come up with new games and ideas to have fun.
If you have the money to buy a GoPro, it will allow you kids to become directors of their own videos. GoPros, or similar video cameras can be water and sand proof so its great for recording in the waves and around the beach.
Related: Beach Gear You Need
No. 9 See Any Dolphins or Whales (Binoculars)
Don’t forget Binoculars! These can be used to keep an eye on your kids on the beach and can be used by your children to look for dolphins or whales beyond the surf. You can even play a game: first kid to spot a dolphin or whale gets a candy bar.
If your kids aren’t using the binoculars you can use them to explore the water. Just remember parents: no looking at lifeguards with the binoculars!
No. 10 Schedule Lessons
These days almost any big beach (tourist areas) have activities for youngsters. In San Diego, whether in the summer or offseasons, there are surfing and other camps to keep kids busy. Camps can be for games, surfing, and there are even lifeguard camps.
Search for information in your area/beach to see what activities are offered for kids. Some activities/rentals might be a good time for adults too like jet skiing.
So there you have it. These activities will hopefully give you the right ideas to keep your kids busy at the beach all summer. If you have more good ideas feel free to let us know in the comments.
If you’re looking for more beach information, reviews, and tips, feel free to visit Beach Life Expert and explore. Thanks for reading!