“In every curving beach, in every grain of sand, there is the story of the Earth.”
Rachel Carson

With the summer holidays either approaching or begun, then there is nothing better than a visit to the seaside. Living in the north of Scotland, I am spoilt with a beautiful coast and many beaches which are rarely packed with people.

In many ways I think the suggestions below are unnecessary. Go to a beach. And just enjoy playing with your children. However, consider them a starter for ten!

Can you spot my dog rolling in the sand?

Dig to Australia

Dig a hole. Dig some more. Keep digging until you reach Australia. Watch the tide doesn’t come in when you are down under!

Sand Hills

Make a big hill of sand. Have fun jumping on and off it. Add water and create channels and waterfalls. Put a moat around the edge and fill it with water.

Another Place

Become an Anthony Gormley sculpture. Stand still. Look far out to sea and be very serious. Get a friend to take a photo of you. If you are really keen, bury your legs up to your knees before the photo is taken.

Beach Trails

Take your foot for a wander over the beach. Drag it along to make a trail in the sand for someone else to follow. Make waves, spirals and other interesting patterns.

Walk Like an Egyptian

Look at video clips about sand dancing and make up your own repertoire for the beach!

Hide and Seek

Hide or bury objects in sand. This can be shells, seaweed or twigs, etc. Have fun finding the hidden objects. (NB Burying your mobile phone is not a good idea)

Bottle a Beach

Collect some interesting objects from the shoreline that can be pushed into a bottle. Fill three-quarter full with dry sand. Try and spot every treasure hidden within the bottle – tip up, down, sideways to have a good look. Add a message on a piece of card to read.

The Smallest Shell

Have a hunt for the smallest shell on the beach. Broken shells must not be counted as some sand is made up of lots of broken shells.

Big Word Art

Write the biggest word you can possibly make in the sand. Think about how you can make this stand out and be read by passengers in a plane. What word do you think they would like to read?

Sand Dungeons

These are the opposite of sand castles. Instead of building up, dig down and create a dungeon with different rooms and other features, sunk into the sand. Put a dragon in the deepest pit! Watch out very carefully for the incoming tide – build your dungeon above the high tide line.

Finally for inspiring, beautiful beach art, enjoy this video of Peter Donnelly at work:

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Jaime Oliver July 6, 2013 at 21:49

Loving the idea of digging to Australia x


Juliet Robertson July 6, 2013 at 23:02

Yes – and it always tickles me to find out where children in other countries dig to…


Coombemill July 6, 2013 at 22:58

Love the be4ach trails, we do this down on the sand but the kids are getting too wise and often try to cheat by creating dead ends and branch lines! A lovely list of ideas here. Thank you for sharing on Country Kids.


Juliet Robertson July 6, 2013 at 23:03

Beach trails were always one of my son’s favourite activities. It can be really absorbing and yes, children do add in rules and deviations which always outsmart their parents! Sigh!


Su Tyler July 7, 2013 at 18:54

We used to love holidays at Carbis Bay. There’s a small stream that runs down to the beach and children have fun digging trenches and dams. Brings back such happy memories.


Juliet Robertson July 10, 2013 at 21:44

Oh I can imagine – what fun!


Alison July 8, 2013 at 10:36

Beautiful beach. Definitely want to dig to Australia


lisa July 8, 2013 at 20:46

love playing on the beach, these are great ideas!


Tom Bedard July 10, 2013 at 13:30

When you think about it, there are so many kinds of beaches that offer a rich opportunities for play and exploration. I really liked the video of the sand dancer. I could not help but wonder how this man got along as a child in school. His heart, imagination, and physical fetes are so big. Thanks.


Juliet Robertson July 10, 2013 at 21:46

Yes – when I visited Sweden in 2008, one educator kept repeating “The classroom is too small” and I have to agree when you see Peter Donnell on the beach.


fee mackenzie July 14, 2014 at 07:24

My guys love to make a ‘sloppy centre’ mix wet sand and use it to plaster the rocks xx


Juliet Robertson July 14, 2014 at 07:36

Oooh brilliant! I think that sounds like really good fun! Thank you so much for letting me and others know.


Tim Gill July 14, 2014 at 07:48

Two words: dribble sculptures. Endless fun. (Ok that’s two more words.)


Juliet Robertson July 14, 2014 at 07:50

Of course! I totally forgot about the endless fascination of dribbling sand. Thanks Tim.


Rosalyn Boyes November 23, 2015 at 21:43

Hi Juliet,
Following the Beach School course in Robin Hood’s Bay, I am now working in three Outdoor Classrooms and loving it. In January I will be holidaying in New Zealand and wondered if you could recommend and couple of Beach Schools to have a look at perhaps. I am visiting both the North and South Islands over a period of four weeks.

Rosalyn Boyes


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