It’s fair to say that things have changed since the last time you took your own kids to the beach. Of course, since we are all still young at heart, it stands to reason that we want to have our adorable grandkids experience the same joys and fun that we had way back when.
The question is: What can we do with our grandchildren when we bring them to the beach? Once we pry the tablets and phones out of their sticky little fingers, there’s a great, big, sandy world out there that they will be excited to explore. Let’s dive right in!
1. Build Sandcastles
We know you know this one. But here’s the beauty about building sandcastles, especially for young kids who don’t have a ton of experience with beach-going: You can be the sandcastle architect extraordinaire!
Building “witch’s castles” by dribbling saturated sand into amorphous blobby towers? Genius. Adding shells as decorative accents? Inspired. Creating a moat around the structure? Mind-blowing.
2. Take Photographs by the Ocean- and Get Their Input
Of course, we all love taking photos of our grandchildren. The beach is the perfect place to get some beautiful, even artsy photographs. And, kids these days are more interested in photography than ever. Ask them how they would like to stage the photo, and really take their input. You’ll get bonus points if you have a cool old camera that uses film, just like the ones “from the 1900s!” (Feeling old yet?)
3. Go Swimsuit Shopping
This one is up to you and your comfort level. Get ready for a fun beach vacation by going swimsuit shopping with your grandchildren to find the perfect swimsuit. If you’re not up to that, maybe take them shopping for a new pair of flip-flops or a cute beach coverup.
4. Find Perfect Beach Stones
This works best if the beach is of the rockier variety, but regardless you can almost always find some pretty pebbles on the beach! It’s a great activity for kids and adults to search for the “perfect” beach stones, and it’s up to you to decide the criteria.
5. Go for a Stroll
Depending on the age of your grandkids, going for a walk down the beach can be tons of fun. We might not recommend this one for toddlers and very young kids, who may zap all of their energy by trying to run top speed into the ocean as you attempt to prevent them from drowning, but with anyone over the age of five, you can probably bet on them having a nice relaxing walk with you.
6. Try Geocaching
Have you ever heard of geocaching? If not, you need to check it out! Essentially, there is a network of people who hide little clues in locations all over the world, and your job is to find them.
When you do, you can log it in an app and move on to the next one. This is great fun at the beach, but if you start it with your grandkids it could become an amazing tradition wherever you are.
7. Walk the Boardwalk
If you are at a beach area that has a pier or boardwalk, take the kids to the arcade, to get a slushie, or to get the airbrushed T-shirt of their dreams. The boardwalk just never gets old and the people watching can’t be beaten. Plus, you can get grandma points for buying the kids all the sugary stuff their parents won’t!
8. Read a Book
This one might not work for very young kids, but with the older ones, grab a book and have a little reading session. Reading is so important as a habit for kids to pick up, and you can be a positive role model. They can grab their copy of Harry Potter, and you can catch up on your latest beach read.
9. Explore the Tidepools
When the tide comes in, it leaves fascinating little tidepools behind when it goes back out. Take the kids for a mini science lesson to explore these tidepools and see what types of seaweed, starfish, and crabs are lingering beneath the water.
10. Take a Nap
What do grandkids and grandparents have in common? Afternoon naps, of course! If you have been taking kids to the beach in recent years, you know that beach tents are the newest thing. Everyone with young kids it seems has beach tents that can make a cozy nap nook. There’s nothing better than a cozy snooze with the waves as white noise.
11. Have a Picnic
Fact: Kids love picnics. For some reason, the idea of eating outdoors on a blanket draws them in like flies to honey. Sure, you have to accept that you’re going to get a little sand in your sandwich, but it’s all part of the experience.
12. Fly a Kite
Flying a kite is a great idea if you want to do something on the beach that is active, but not as intense as getting down on your hands and knees in the sand, or playing beach sports. The grandkids will love it if you teach them the basics about how to fly a kite, and there’s something oddly satisfying about seeing that little apparatus of fabric and balsa wood waving in the sky.
13. Blow Bubbles
Bubbles are the ultimate grandparent hack. Let’s face it: you’re not 25 anymore, and you can’t be chasing these little energizer bunnies around the beach. Throw on your coverup, sit yourself down on your favorite beach chair, and leisurely blow bubbles while the kids chase them and tire themselves out for a nice early bedtime.
14. Climb Some Rocks
If your beach has larger rocks that could be good for climbing, take the kids. Your heart may be in your throat half the time as they navigate the stone structures, slipping on sea moss, but they will get their footing and you will be the cool grandparent who lets them discover the world around them.
15. Jump Over the Waves
Do you remember being a little kid at the beach and trying to jump over the waves? For some reason, it was just the best! If your knees aren’t quite up to the task, just walk out into the water with them and let them do the jumping. Hold their hand if they need a little support, and they will know that you’re always there for them.
16. Eat Ice Cream
If the beach that you attend has some sort of snack shack, take advantage! It might seem like a small thing to you, but to kids, it can be a big thing. Grab some soft serve, and the kids will be so excited. The best part about ice cream at the beach is that when it inevitably melts down the cones onto their sticky little hands, they can just go rinse off in the water!
17. Play Sharks and Minnows
This game is a hit! One person acts as the shark and all the others are minnows. The shark stands in the middle and has to catch all of the minnows. Once each minnow gets caught, they have to stand still. It’s a simple, fun game that is easy to play. Plus, if you’re tired and don’t want to run around, you can just make sure to get caught first.
18. Make Up Your Own Game
Some of the best memories from childhood often involve weird, made-up games that you came up with as kids, or that your parents came up with. It really doesn’t matter what it is, as long as the kids are having fun.
19. Get Buried in Sand
Not all the way, of course. If you don’t want to get your swimsuit sandy, you could have the kids bury your feet and take turns shaping the sand mounds into different types of shows. If you’re okay with a little sand, they could bury your legs and turn you into a mermaid. They think this is fun and funny, and you get to be stationary and relaxed while still playing.
20. Watch the Sunset
At the end of a long beach day, there’s nothing better than going home to take a shower, have a good summer dinner, then head back to the beach in the evening to watch the sunset over the horizon while listening to the sounds of the waves.
Trust us; you’ll get points just for taking your grandkids to the beach at all. Sure, time at the beach with kids can be exhausting, but it is equally as rewarding. Try some of our beach tips and let us know what you think!