20 Nature-related Beach Activities for the Whole Family

Beach activities for families

There are plenty of inspiring activities you can do at the beach to get you closer to nature. These activities needn’t be done all on one visit,  in fact it might work better if you kept to one or two at a time. Having a family goal can make your trip so much more enjoyable (and educational). 

  1. Search for animals at the beach. There are usually plenty of birds at the beach, but if you look closer you may find crabs, fish, jellyfish, starfish and, if you’re lucky, a turtle! Low tide is the best time to go hunting for creatures on the beach.beach and crab
  2. Dig a little deeper, don’t forget those pippies. Some animals live under the sand and aren’t as easy to find.
  3. Close your eyes and listen to the sounds of the ocean and animals.
  4. Talk about the animals that live in the ocean and around the beach.
  5. Count how many birds you see.  Can you see different species of bird? How can you tell they are different types of birds?
  6. Talk to a ranger, lifeguard or beach cleaner to find out what animals have been sighted on the beach lately.
  7. Can’t find many animals? Look for signs of animals on the beach. Crab escape holes and footprints are great to look at. Guess the type of animal that made it and think about what the animal was doing.Wildlife watchingGo and explore – many animals will be in hiding if there are lots of people around. Hunt around mangroves and other sheltered areas where animals may like to hide.
  8. Look for seeds washed up from the waves. How did they get there?
  9. Play – splashing in the waves is the perfect time to pretend you’re a dolphin or other ocean animal. Not going swimming? Pretend you’re a crab or seagull instead.
  10. Take binoculars – you may be able to spot a whale or a dolphin when you have the better vision to do so.
  11. Search the rock pools, they always have an array of creatures hiding inside but look carefully because many animals camouflage very well with the rocks. Can you see the crab in the picture below?beach fun for kids
  12.  Scavenger hunt – before going to the beach sit down and write a list of animals you think you will see at the beach. If you can’t find an animal on the list, think about why you can’t.
  13. Size it up. Before you go to the beach, find out the length of different types of animals and measure them out in the sand to see how big they are in comparison to each of you. For example, pace out a line in the sand that is 3.9 metres long to get the idea of how big a dolphin can get.
  14. Pick up rubbish and discuss why it is important to do so.
  15. Try to mimic the animal sounds you hear
  16. If the tide is going out, mark a link where the water’s edge is and go back to it just before you leave. How far has the tide gone out?
  17. Stand on different parts of the beach and describe what each feels like on your feet, e.g. mud, sand, small rocks and then back on the grass.muddy feet
  18. Make animal-shaped sand castles.
  19. Observe what happens one meter in front of your feet as you walk along the sand when it’s low tide. Gently step into a left over pool of water. Do you see any animals scurrying/swimming away from you? How did they get caught?

exploring the beach

The best part about this list is that if you’ve done everything, it’s still enjoyable to do it all again!

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    • Penny says

      I know, we love them. The best part is that we are in between two very different types of beaches so it’s great to compare the too. There would be no why that we could find all the animals we did on the surf beach side. I really should to a contrast between the two with Miss Poss. That would be interesting to see why she thought the animals were on the protected side.

    • Penny says

      We finally are now the rain has subsided. I got these photo in between showers, we couldn’t stay in the house any longer!

  1. Danya Banya says

    You had me peering into that pool like I was searching for Where’s Wally. And yes, I found the crab :) Love the idea of measuring out the size of different animals in the sand. Actually, love the whole list – lots of fun!

    • Penny says

      Naww thanks Danya! I’m glad you found it. It was hard too see hey! I should get the girls to see if they can find it too. They saw it for real but I think they would struggle at finding it on the image.

  2. Debi says

    I love your list, Penny! We spend quite a bit of time at the beach & my kids are drawn to burying themselves in the sand & using seaweed as a broom. No two outings are ever the same. :-)

  3. kirri @ kirri white coaching says

    “The best part about this list is that if you’ve done everything, it’s still enjoyable to do it all again!”
    So true. The beach has and always will be one of my most favourite places. I have to say that we haven’t had the best summer for that (at least not in the last six weeks), but it looks like we have plenty of good weather coming up (fingers and toes crossed!)

    • Penny says

      No, we haven’t had the best summer for that. We got these photos in between showers, we just couldn’t stay inside anymore!

  4. says

    What a fun filled list of experiences that are sure to make for wonderful memories. So many special and unique sensory experiences to be had at the beach. You have provided so many examples for creative thinking too. I am looking forward to doing your wonderful activities at the beach with my family. Thanks you for sharing this.

    • Penny says

      Thanks you for taking the time to comment Elise, I agree. I love the sensory experience that can be had at the beach. There’s nothing quite like touching sand. Wet sand and dry sand are soo different too (I forgot to add that to my list!).

  5. says

    Great ideas as always Penny! The beach is 30 mins away for us and a bit of a challenge for Ruby’s sensory overload but we are slowly getting there with each little visit. Perhaps incorporating some of these ideas will help…thanks for the inspiration lovely x

    • Penny says

      We around about 20 minutes from a beach, both going north and south. The Twins adore the beach but are still quite hesitant of the surf side. I takes them a little bit to warm up to the waves splashing against their feet. Slow and steady I always say. One day I won’t be able to get them out of the water and back in the car!

  6. Aleta @ Hinterland Mama says

    I found the crab!
    Lovely photos.
    This post should help those poor folks who carry toys to and from the beach for their children – unused

    • Penny says

      Well done Aleta. It was hard to find him I think! I had quite a giggle about the comment on carrying toys to the beach. Unless it’s a shovel and spade, you’re sooooo right! lol

    • Penny says

      Four hour! Oh Katie, I can’t imagine living that far inland. Perhaps you could get some sand from a landscaper and recreate a beach scene in your backyard? Make some craft crabs and get in your swimmers. Sounds quite nice actually. :)

  7. says

    I love the post, but I love your photos even more! Makes me long for the beaches in AU, Beaches here are all rocky beaches which are fun, but not the same as a sandy beach. Lots of creatures to find though!


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