12 Toddler Friendly Beach Activities

If you’ve got vacation on the mind, you’re not alone! It’s about that time of year where you can’t stand to put your winter coat on one more time. If you’re headed somewhere sunny with the family and the kiddos, then you’re probably in need of some ideas to keep the littles busy at the beach (so you can at least take a minute to breathe in the ocean air).

Grab your sunscreen, beach hats, and The Traveler. Here are a few of our favorite toddler-approved beach activities.

1. Dig for buried treasure

Swing by your favorite dollar store before your trip to find some “treasure” to bury. When nobody is looking, find a spot to bury it at the beach! Then, set the kids out with a mission to find the buried treasure. A little bit of work on the front end, but big pay out on the back end!

2. Draw pictures in the sand

If you have older kids , they’re probably drawing pictures at home or at school all the time! Why not let them bring the creativity to the seashore!  Challenge them with a list of things to draw – turning it into a game will keep them interested longer! Or you can take turns drawing and guessing what the picture is. The best part is that you never run out of room! 

3. Search for seashells

There are few better childhood memories made at the beach than those made searching for seashells. Grab a pail and let your kiddos discover a whole new world under their feet by searching through sand and pebbles for little treasures from the water. You can even make it a game and encourage them to find a certain number of a certain shape or color. And be sure not to miss a sweet moment sitting with them afterward going through their treasure together. Their wonder is priceless! 

4. Build a sandcastle

When it comes to building sandcastles, we’ll just say that sometimes the classics are classics for a reason! Building a sandcastle can be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy together, or it’s one that your kiddos can manage on their own if you’re looking to kick back a bit. It’s the perfect activity for your littles to let their creativity run wild. Your kids will delight in playing with you in this way, so don’t miss out on this bonding experience! If you’re brave, you can even let them bury you in the sand! 

5. Play with a beach ball

Beach balls can provide hours (okay okay, minutes) of entertainment! Not only are they fun, light, and colorful, but there are so many games you could play. If you’re wanting to keep it easy, you could just toss it back and forth, or you could always switch it up with monkey in the middle. If that gets old, try playing soccer, volleyball, or kickball instead!

6. Have a beach picnic

There’s just something about picnics on the beach that feel even more exciting than a regular picnic. Pack your favorite snacks, and maybe a few special treats, and enjoy it together as a family! You can even set up an umbrella and an extra large blanket to give yourself a comfortable area. If you’re in the vacation spirit, you might even consider splurging on the types of things you usually take out of your cart and put back on your regular grocery runs.

7. Fly a kite

The beach is the perfect place to fly a kite because there’s always a breeze!   If you want to go for a walk on the beach, letting your little one bring a kite in tow just might change their interest level in joining you! 

8. Make sand angels

Let’s be honest, beach vacations can be a little messy. Likely, you’ll be finding sand here and there for weeks after. You’ll be better off to just embrace it. ? Get down and dirty with the kiddos and make your best sand angels and then rinse off in the ocean. Take lots of pictures! It will be a memory for years to come, for sure.

9. Water balloon toss

Vacations are always made more memorable with a few little surprises! Have you seen those new reusable water balloons yet? So fun! ? You can fill them up in the sea and toss them until they pop open, then fill them up again and repeat!. 

10. Baby Wading Pool

Pack an old shower curtain to make a DIY baby wading pool in the sand! Just dig a little pool, lay the shower curtain down into the hole and bury the edges at the top. Get the whole family to pitch in lugging buckets of water to empty into the pool. Take our word for it, babies and toddlers will LOVE having this approachable way to play in the water at the beach and it’s great intro to ocean play. 

11. Watch for wildlife

What kinds of animals are there on your beach? Seagulls? Crabs? Snails? Don’t forget to check the water, too. You’ll be able to find all kinds of fish and other sea creatures below the waves. See how many seagulls your kiddo can count, or make a game where the first one to find five crabs wins a prize. Binoculars make this extra engaging! Just make sure you have a pair for each set of eyes! 

12. Wave hopping

Sometimes the simplest activities really are the best. Scoop up your kiddo or grab hands with their hand, and hop over the waves together! Toddlers get so tickled by this, and it’s so sweet to see the joy on their faces. The higher the wave, the bigger the smiles.

Want more toddler-approved activity inspiration? Be sure to check out our blog!