Five educational moments to share with your children at the beach
15 December, 2023
The kiss of the sun, the sand between your toes and the tug of the waves – going to the beach is the quintessential Aussie summer holiday. Whether you head to the beach for a week, or just a few hours, slip in some learning with these fun beach activities your kids will already want to do!
Pack a bucket and take your children for a walk to see what they can discover. Talk about the different shells, describing their colours and how they feel, for example: smooth, bumpy or sharp. Encourage your child to sort their collection by size, type or colour. Count the different types or group them into pairs or groups of three. If you find shells with holes, consider threading them onto string to make an anklet for the summer holidays or a mobile to hang at home.
Draw in the sand:
The endless sand stretching out before you is the perfect natural canvas. Beachcomb a stick or whatever you come across to be your pencil, or use your fingers or even your feet. Write your name in the sand and your kids will want to write theirs too. Encourage them to draw shapes, practice their letters or challenge them to a game of noughts and crosses. Draw some squiggles close to the water and watch the waves wash them away, then do a drawing higher up the beach and discuss whether it will still be there tomorrow.
Pick up litter:
Help develop your child’s environmental awareness and community spirit by heading to the high tide mark and collecting the plastic that’s washed up overnight. You may be shocked at how many tiny pieces in all sorts of colours are there, along with other odds and bobs. This is a great opportunity to talk to your kids about the impact plastic has on marine creatures, and how we all can help by always taking our rubbish with us. Plastic takes 400 years to break down, so picking it up (safely) and putting it in the bin protects marine life and shows kids how they can make a difference.
Explore the rock pools:
Hone your little one’s observational skills by encouraging them to point out all the different marine life they can see. There is usually shells and seaweed and – if you’re patient – perhaps fish and crabs too. Encourage your kids to describe what they spot. Later, they may like to draw a picture of the rockpool and label all their exciting discoveries.
Build a sandcastle:
Make predictions and experiment with buckets as moulds, using dry sand and then wet sand. Children can use their imaginations and creativity to build tall towers and tunnels, then walls and moats to protect their creations from incoming waves. This is an opportunity to develop skills in teamwork and problem solving. And they can use the shells they collected earlier to add pizazz to their constructions too.
Not going to make it to the beach these holidays? Try these educational moments in your backyard instead.