A family trip to the beach is a must during the summer. There are so many benefits of outdoor play and adventure for children of all ages. Not only do they enjoy the fresh ocean breeze and joy that comes with playing in the waves, but also they get to expand their imagination and learn about nature while exploring the sand. 

If you are looking to keep the fun going at home and out of the water, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite beach crafts for kids as well as fun things to make at the beach to give you idea inspiration. We can’t wait to see what your children create this summer!

Beach crafts for kids

The beach is the gift that keeps on giving. When you are out in the sand, walk around with your child and collect pretty shells, dried starfish, pieces of coral, and anything else that catches your eye (as long as it is not currently being lived in - make sure you check). Then, over the next few days at home, you can create some of these beach crafts for kids and bring the magic of the ocean to your daily lives.

Shell decorated picture frame

If you’ve found a lot of small, pretty shells, you can very easily use them to decorate a picture frame and then frame a photo of your family at the beach! You can use one of these 99 cent scalloped wood picture frames from Michael’s and then let your child paint or color it to start. Then, once the paint is dry, help your child glue the shells onto the frame however they would like. In the end, you will have a beautiful mixed media art picture frame to remind you of summer fun.

Make sand slime

Did you know that you can use sand from the beach to make slime? Children love slime, so this activity will definitely be a hit. You can use this recipe to make blue slime from beach sand and then fill a plastic bag or container with it so it looks like water. Then, throw in some plastic fish, turtles, and other sea animals to create a little ecosystem. Much easier than getting your child pet fish!

Photo of beach crafts for kids

Create your own tropical fish

All you need to do is paint your shells bright colors, then glue on smaller shells for fins and googly eyes! Voila, you have your very own tropical fish made out of shells. You can glue a small magnet to the back and use these as refrigerator magnets or you can add them to your picture frame for a little more pizazz.

Beach crafts for preschoolers

Crafting with toddlers is next level, so we wanted to include some of our favorite beach crafts for preschoolers so you can have fun with the little ones in your life. These nature crafts are as fun as they are beautiful!

  • Paper plate fish. All you need is white paper plates, markers or paint, glue, googly eyes, and any additional items you want like glitter, sparkles, etc. Use one paper plate for the body of the fish and let your child decorate it as they want. Then, fan the other paper plate and tape or glue it to the first one to be the fish’s tail.
  • Handprint crab or starfish. For a crab, have your preschooler dip their hand in red paint and then stamp the paper sideways in both directions, so it looks like a crab! For a starfish, have them use pink and try to organize their fingers to make a star. You can help them create an underwater or sandy scene around their handprint animal.
  • Sand art. At the beach, collect sand with your toddler in a water bottle or other airtight container. When you return home, separate the sand into a few different containers and dye each one a different color. Then, let your child create their own sand art by putting the colored sand together in a container or using it as glitter on a different art piece.

Fun things to do at the beach

For many, a trip to the beach is a full day affair. So, how can you occupy your child for the whole day at the beach? The team at Sawyer has you covered! Here are some of our favorite fun things to do at the beach with our families.

  1. Build a sandcastle. This is a give-in! Make sure you come prepared with some buckets and shovels, then watch your child become an architect before your very eyes. 
  2. Play a sport. The beach is a fun place for you and your child to practice volleyball, soccer, having a catch, or any other sport that they are interested in. The power of sports on children’s development and growth is enormous.
  3. Create a beach scavenger hunt. Before you hit the sand, write a beach-themed scavenger hunt for your family. Include items like “find 5 different colored shells” and “take a picture of a sea creature.” This is a great way to get your family active and exploring while enjoying everything the beach has to offer. Check out our list of scavenger hunt ideas for more inspiration.
  4. Jump in the waves. Depending on the age and height of your child, playing in the waves is one of the most fun things to do at the beach. Just remember to stay with your child in the water and keep a close eye out, since the tide and surf can be strong.
  5. Take pictures. If your child is interested in photography, the beach is a great place for them to explore their passion. Let them borrow your phone or camera and have them take pictures of the sand, waves, sunset, and your family. Then, they can learn Photoshop and practice editing their photos. You might just have the next Annie Leibovitz on your hands.
Photo of fun things to do at the beach

We hope our list of beach crafts for kids and fun things to do at the beach have given you the inspiration you need to make this summer’s beach trip the best one yet. If you are looking for more craft projects just for toddlers and arts & crafts activities for kids, check out the online and in-person activities and camps that our wonderful educators are offering on Sawyer!

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