18 of the Most Fun Beach Games and Activities for Kids

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The beach is the perfect destination for family fun. When you’re at the beach, what’s your favorite activity? One major benefit of a day at the beach is the many different ways to play.

If you’re looking for awesome beach games and activities, you’re in the right place. We’ve rounded up the 18 best including classic favorites plus games you’ve likely never heard of before.

Ready to get started? Let’s hit the beach!

1. Beach Frisbee Golf

Frisbee golf is a lot like regular golf, only you throw frisbees at targets instead of hitting golf balls into holes. The beach is a great place to play because it’s a large, open area free from obstacles. Use small items such as towels and shoes as targets.

Use different starting points (tees) to accommodate varying skill levels. Younger kids can stand closer to the target than teens and parents.

Playing with frisbees helps develop hand/eye coordination, gross and fine motor control, and sportsmanship. It requires at least one frisbee plus random items for targets. Frisbee golf is best when played on a calm day without much wind.

  • Physical play
  • Group play

2. Build a Sand Castle

Sand is an amazing artistic medium. It’s versatile and easy to work with. Even young kids can easily build simple sand structures.

Building sandcastles (and other buildings) requires a few simple beach toys such as a bucket, spade, strainer, and sand molds. Check out The Best Beach Toys for 2019’s best options.

Beach play is an excellent type of unstructured, creative play. It’s also suitable for both individuals and groups. The whole family can build a large sand castle together.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourselves to castle building. Create a giant animal or favorite fictional character. You can even build a “sandman” complete with rocks for eyes and a seaweed smile.

  • Creative play
  • Solo play
  • Group play

3. Beach Tag

The beach is perfect for rough-and-tumble games. Falling on sand is usually safe and harmless. Tag is a great choice because the slippery sand adds an extra element of fun. Before playing any physical game, check the area for any hidden dangers such as glass, garbage, or rocks.

Physical play
Group play

4. Kite Flying

The beach is often an easy place to fly a kite because it has great visibility and typically no tall obstacles. A variety of kites are available from simple, small ones, which kids can fly on their own, to larger kites which the family can fly together. Check out The 10 Best Kites for Kids to learn more.

Beginning fliers probably want to fly relatively inexpensive kites at the beach. If a kite goes down in a park, you can probably recover it. However, if a kite takes a nose-dive into the ocean, you’re not getting it back.

Also, never fly a kite over a crowd of people. A sudden change in wind direction can drop it down and injure anyone below. Avoid flying a kite over anyone in the ocean, too.

  • Creative play
  • Requires help from parents

5. Sand Angels

Sand angels are the snow angels’ sandy buddy. Lay down on the sand then move your arms and legs from side to side.

Kids will get sandy, but clean-up is easy. Just take a quick dip in the ocean to rinse off. Sand angels are often a great way for kids to burn off any extra energy. It’s a short, fast burst of physical activity.

  • Physical play
  • Creative play

6. Scavenger Hunt

A beach scavenger is a perfect game for a large group of kids. First, you’ll create a list of items commonly found at the beach as such shells, seaweed, feathers, rocks, and more.

Give each child a list and an empty bucket. The “contestants” then race to fill their buckets with the items. The first person to cross the finish line wins.

Scavenger hunts can cause kids to scatter in many directions, so make sure enough adults are on hand to keep an eye on all the little ones. Also, don’t include any live animals on the list.

Scavenger hunts help kids learn how to pay attention to detail. They also must think analytically to determine each item’s likely location. Also, because a scavenger hunt is a competitive game, kids learn sportsmanship and fair play.

  • Group play
  • Competitive play

7. River Race

Dig two trenches of equal size near the tide. Create a separate pool of water. Use a sand dam to block the water from the trenches until you’re ready. Then, smash the dam to release the water into the trenches.

Flooding the trenches is often enough of a game to keep younger kids entertained. However, older kids can add racing. Create boats from paper or driftwood. Flood the trenches with water to push the boats towards the finish line.

Kids can also create trenches and other waterways near the water’s edge. The tide will push water into the pathway then pull it away.

  • Solo play
  • Group play
  • Introduces STEM concepts like tides and engineering

8. Limbo

How low can you go? Beach limbo is a classic game for a reason. It’s easy to set up, simple to play, and guaranteed to end in laughs. You’ll need:

A limbo stick
Music
At least three people

You can make a limbo stick out of just about anything including a rolled-up towel, beach noodle, or oar. Two people hold the stick at each end to create a horizontal line.

Each player takes a turn attempting to walk under the limbo bar. If you fall backward, you’re out. After each round of players, the bar lowers. Last one standing is the winner.

Add some fun with beach music. YouTube has plenty of free options you can play on your smartphone.

  • Group play
  • Physical play
  • All-ages play

9. Bucket Head Race

A Bucket Head Race is a perfect way to cool down. Divide everyone into two teams. Each team needs one bucket and several cups. Plastic for both is best.

One player on each team is the Bucket Head. They stand on the beach, facing the ocean, with the bucket on their head.

The other places race to the ocean and fill their cups with water. Then they race back to pour the water into the bucket. The first team to fill their bucket wins! As you might expect, all the players end up soaked.

There are two ways to play. The runners can go one after another, like a relay race. They can also run all at once.

Relay races are the best option if players have a wide range of abilities. For example, younger kids could race each other. It’s an easy way for the game to stay fair.

Group play
Competitive play

10. Water Race

Race your opponents but don’t spill the water. Each player rests a full cup of water on their heads. Younger kids typically need to hold the cup slightly, but older kids can often balance the cups without using their hands.

These slow speed races are often more about balance. They’re also hilarious. Don’t be surprised if players drop the cup because they’re shaking with laughter.

Any games involving balance benefit even younger kids. They help develop gross motor skills and spatial awareness.

  • Competitive play
  • Physical play

11. Writing and Drawing in the Sand

Art has no limits when the sand is your canvas. Kids love drawing and writing in the sand. Older kids love creating elaborate illustrations, while younger kids are often happy with creating simple pictures.

Write your family’s name in the sand then take a group picture assembled around it. It’s a fun way to memorialize a family vacation.

Use can also play simple games like Hangman and Tic Tac Toe. When the game’s over, rake the sand to create a fresh play area.

  • Solo play
  • Group play
  • Artistic play

12. Crawling Races

Sand allows for safe crawling. Kids can compete to see how fast they can crawl. It’s like a regular race except your arms and knees must maintain contact with the ground at all times.

Crawling in the sand is generally safe, but parents should check the path beforehand. You want to clear the way of garbage, rocks, and other potential hazards.

  • Physical play
  • Competitive play

13. Squirt Ball Races

Squirt guns are always fun at the beach. Although they’re great for unstructured play, you can also use them in a variety of structured games.

A Squirt Ball Race requires squirt guns and beach balls for each player. Draw a starting line and a finish line in the sand. Place the beach balls at the start.

Each player moves their beach ball by shooting it with their water gun. If the gun runs out of water, the players must run to the ocean to refill. The winner is the first player to shoot their ball across the finish line.

Of course, water guns don’t need tons of rules. They’re great for unstructured play, too. Kids love running around and shooting each other. These water wars can be team-based or free-for-all.

  • Unstructured play
  • Competitive play
  • Physical play

14. Beach Bowling

No bowling shoes required! Line up plastic bottles, empty cans, or other makeshift pins. Use a beach ball or soccer ball to knock them down. You can also buy a toy set of plastic pins and a ball.

Smooth the sand down with your hands to create a bowling alley. You’ll be surprised at how fast and accurately the ball rolls.

Another variation of beach bowling involves the tides. Set the pins up quickly when the water recedes. Then see how many pins get knocked over by the incoming tide.

  • Competitive play
  • Solo play
  • Physical play
  • Strategic play

15. Tug-of-War

The beach is a safe, fun place for a game of tug-of-water – as long as you don’t mind getting wet.

Divide your group into two. You can pit men against women, kids against adults, or otherwise create whatever teams you like. Teams should stand in a line facing one another. They should stand right at the water’s edge.

If you don’t have a rope, tie towels together instead. Draw a line in the sand between both teams. Now you’re ready to let the tug-of-war begin! Be warned: The losing team, and likely the winning team, will probably end up in the water – but that’s just part of the fun.

  • Physical play
  • Group play

17. Animal Safari

The beach is home to a wide range of animals, including many which kids don’t see too often. Gather up the kids for a fun and educational animal safari.

Tide pools and shallow areas are usually the best places to find living creatures such as muscles, crabs, fish, and more. Don’t forget to look skyward, too. You’ll find plenty of seagulls and other birds.

Be careful not to disturb any wildlife. Only take pictures. An adult with a smartphone can help kids learn interesting animal facts about any creatures discovered.

  • Educational play
  • Self-directed play

18. Beach Volleyball

Soft sand is the perfect volleyball court. Players can dive for the ball without fear or injury. Plus, large groups of different ages and abilities can all have fun playing together.

Many beaches have nets already set up for public use. Of course, you can bring a net, too. Honestly, you don’t even need a net. Hitting the ball around is also fun, especially for families who aren’t very competitive.

Volleyball helps develop hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. Plus, competitive play helps kids learn how to win and lose gracefully.

  • Group play
  • Physical play
  • Competitive play

Final Thoughts

A beach is one of the world’s best places to play. The soft sand helps kids and adults stay safe during a wide range of physical activity. Plus, sand is an amazing artistic medium for sculpting, drawing, and more.

The games and activities above help ensure every day at the beach is packed with family fun!

Brett Gordon
 

Brett is the brains behind The Toy Report. Having clocked tons of time in toys research and online resource development, today, he’s dedicated to positioning The Toy Report as a prime toy-fan resource.

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