Sunny days are best spent at the beach! Whether the beach you have in mind requires a road trip or a plane ride, you should make sure you have your time there well planned out, especially if you’ll be going with family. Families with babies and toddlers might need to plan a little more carefully before heading out to the beach.
Since you’ll likely be out of the house or your resort for a few hours, it can help to have fun activities in mind for when you get to the beach, including baby beach games. For the 21 best baby beach activities and tips for a tear-free beach day, read on!
Finding creative ways to entertain a baby or a toddler at the beach doesn’t need to be difficult. Here’s where you can begin:
While it might be a while until your baby is independently swimming, they can still splash around in a paddling pool while the rest of your crew plays family games at the beach. Get a paddling pool with a sun cover to keep them cool and fill it up with water from the ocean. Your little one will be in their element, and you’ll be able to join in on the splash fest as well!
Expert tip: Babies, toddlers, and young children should be supervised in the water at all times, no matter how shallow.
If you want a sand sensory game for your baby to play at the beach, try placing a bucket of wet sand next to a bucket of dry sand so they can explore their sense of touch and play. Another option is making a sensory pile that contains various objects, like shells, seaweed, rocks, and more. For older babies, you can try burying some small toys or baby-safe objects in the sand for them to find and play with. While doing the sensory play, you should keep an eye out just in case your child mistakes any of the items for food.
Bouncing and rolling balls is an activity that always seems to catch the attention of babies. Even if these items are completely still, once your child spots them, chances are he or she will want to interact and play. If you’re heading to the beach with your baby, bring along a few different colored balls they can play around with in the sand. Ensure these balls are large enough that your child won’t be tempted to stuff them into their mouth.
Burying toys or other items in the sand can catch your baby's attention, especially if you leave a bit of the item exposed for a clue that there’s something there. While on the beach, you and your baby can dig up treasures and bury them again as many times as you want. You can also play this game with older toddlers and take turns hiding and finding your treasures. Items you can use for this include plastic animals and dinosaur figurines.
Building things up and breaking them down is all part of a pleasant beach day with small children. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t put any effort into helping your adorable little ones create the most stunning sandcastles though (plain and regular ones are fine too)! It’s the effort that counts, as well as the chance to bond, learn, and create something new together. All you’ll need to make some neat sandcastles are a bucket or two and some shovels. If you have older kids, they can help as well.
The beach can be the ideal construction zone for young, creative minds. Your baby or toddler will have all the raw materials they need to play around and build whatever their heart desires. To make this extra fun, bring along some toy construction tools and maybe even a couple of small diggers and dump trucks if you can fit them into your suitcase. While on the beach, you can help your kids make a road in the sand complete with shells and pebbles. For more ideas on what to bring, you might want to get familiar with these travel-friendly toddler beach toys.
An oldie but a goodie — making sand molds on the beach. If you bring molds along on your beach vacation, this activity can be an easy way to get creative with your baby or toddler. Toddlers might even be able to do this on their own. You can make some sand molds together with your baby, and he or she can enjoy smashing them afterward. Use this as a teaching moment to explain different animals and colors to your child.
Kites always seem to catch the attention of babies and toddlers no matter where they see them. Get them a kite of their own before you go to the beach to add some excitement to your beach day. Involve your kids in the process of getting the kite ready for take-off by having them identify colors and shapes on the toy. Brightly colored kites can be especially fun as you’ll be able to point out the colors even when the kite is flying high in the sky.
Expert tip: If you’re feeling creative, you can make your own kite at home to bring with you to the beach. Toddlers might find the whole kite-making project quite exciting, especially if you use it to build anticipation about the upcoming beach day.
The sand is just nature’s chalkboard while you’re out on the beach. Take the kids to an area with damp sand and let them practice writing numbers and letters. This is a cool and educational activity that will keep toddlers entertained. Once you’ve helped them write the letters, you can all try to recite them before the waves wash them away!
With just a beach ball and a few other items, you’ll have all you need for an exciting game of beach bowling! Babies and kids will love watching the items come toppling down, and they’ll want to get into the action as well. No need to acquire proper bowling pins. Things like water bottles, beach buckets, and even bottles of sunscreen can work for this activity, but if you want to go all out, you can bring along a lightweight play bowling set.
Beaches are the perfect place for a treasure hunt - so much so that you might not even have to place any items ahead of time! Search for things like shells, pebbles, flowers, and even leaves. You could even turn this into a game of ‘I Spy’ for toddlers. For the treasure hunt aspect of this game, accompany your toddler as they search for a certain number of treasures as instructed by you. You can even create your own list of items with pictures from home ahead of time to make this game more interesting.
There are so many things you can do at the beach with babies and toddlers, but none is simpler than just getting into the water for a swim. You might find yourself doing this several times during your beach day just to cool off. An important rule of thumb for going swimming with non-mobile babies: keep a tight hold. Never leave babies that are still crawling or new walkers unattended either. You’ll want to keep a close eye on your children no matter how independent they might be. Armbands and life jackets are highly recommended, and you should stick to the shallows to help keep everyone safe.
Incoming waves are definitely a source of fascination for children. Babies and toddlers will enjoy chasing the waves on the beach and you can all make a game out of it. Try to see who can keep their feet dry for the longest, then declare a winner!
If your baby is too young to run around on the beach, there are lots of other ways to keep them occupied at the seashore. Bring along a baby pool float that allows your baby to sit upright and be comfortable in the water. This can help them feel more independent, and free up one of your arms as well. If you use a float with a sun cover, you and your baby can enjoy the water for longer. Remember to stick to the shallows.
Toddlers will love searching for seashells on the beach, and, like most things kid-related, this activity can quickly be turned into a game. If there are lots of shells on the beach you’re visiting, you can start a competition to see who can find the most shells, the smallest or biggest shells, and also who can put together the widest variety of seashells. Let your toddler take a couple of their favorite shells home with them afterward.
Storytime by the seaside is bound to be super interactive. It’ll be a nice change of pace once the kids are done running around, or maybe even before they hit the water. Set up a blanket in the shade with some snacks and a drink and read them a short story they love. As you’ll already be in a beach setting, this might be a good time to read a book with a beach, ocean, or even a pirate theme!
Expert tip: Jamaica is an excellent destination for family beach vacations. There are lots of fun things to do in Jamaica with kids!
A singalong on the sand can be fun for kids and adults alike. This can begin long before you get to the beach - start a serenade as you’re getting ready, or during the commute to the beach. Pick things up again once you’re settled on the beach and sing some kiddie favorites that might include the oh-so-popular ‘Baby Shark’, golden oldies like ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’, or even the classic, ‘I Can Sing A Rainbow.’ The more interactive you make this beachy singalong, the better!
It is totally possible to get artsy on the beach with your baby. One of the ways you can do this is with some magic painting or an aqua doodle. You can pack and bring along the items necessary for this activity to keep toddlers entertained on the beach. All you’ll need to do is fill a bucket/aqua doodle pen with water and watch as babies and toddlers let their inner artist free!
Digging on the beach can be quite fun for toddlers. You can sit with them and dig a hole for the sake of it, or perhaps try to construct a toddler-friendly mini pool near the water. See how deep you can dig together! Remember, it’s all about keeping your toddler entertained and allowing them to feel accomplished as well.
Babies and toddlers love bubbles! But bubbles on the beach? This will likely generate even more interest. Get the whole family into the bubble-blowing action and see who can blow the biggest or the most bubbles. Pack an extra bubble jar or two just in case of any spills to avoid tantrums. When the bubble blowing is over, head to the water to splash around!
What better way to enjoy the seaside than to go fishing? You can grab a magnetic fishing game to take to the beach with you for a fun-filled day with toddlers. This isn’t an expensive game, and it is one the entire family can get into. Fishing games are among those that can aid in the development of fine motor skills, and babies will have a blast.
Expert tip: If you’ll be going to a beach where there are lots of little fishes near shore, you might even be able to give your older toddler a small introduction to snorkeling with the right equipment.
Keeping your kid’s skin protected, as well as your own, while on the beach should always be a top priority. To do this, be sure to apply plenty of full-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF sunscreen (preferably factor 50 and above). Don’t forget to reapply periodically, especially if you get into the water. Babies and kids can be kept extra safe from the sun as well with a wide-brimmed hat or any sort of casual beach hat they’re willing to leave on. Sunglasses for everyone, as well as parasols or windbreakers, will also come in handy.
If you’re headed to the beach with kids, you’ll definitely want to bring lots of drinking water. Your kids are likely to be thirsty after swimming and playing around in the sun, so it’ll be well worth it to have your own quick supply, especially if there are no nearby shops. Bring along juice and snacks for the day as well.
It can be fun to take babies and toddlers into the water, but to do this, planning is necessary. You’re going to want to ensure you pack items like armbands or life vests and swim diapers, as well as sunblock. Stay close to your little ones while they’re taking a dip, even if you’re in the shallows. You should also keep the kids away from strong tides and big waves.
Midday sun tends to be the hottest, so it’s not always a great time to be on the beach with little ones. Ideally, you should go to the beach at a time when everyone can have fun and stay as cool as possible. You can opt to go earlier in the morning, or later in the afternoon when the beach tends to be a bit cooler. If you plan on going in the afternoon, try to time naps over lunch so the kids are well rested for their beach day.
Ever heard of the ‘Just In Case’ bag? This always seems to come in handy during a vacation, and especially a beach vacation. If you want to have one of these on hand for your beach day, be sure to pack things like diapers, sunscreen, a couple of changes of outfits, water, and snacks. For more information on what to pack for a family beach vacation see our handy packing list.
Even though it is a beach day, that does not mean you necessarily have to spend the entire day on the beach. Realistically, being on the beach with children can be tiring. Not just for you, but for them as well. Try to aim for 1 hour to 1.5 hours with toddlers, if that much. For babies, this might be much less. Feel out your child’s mood and make the best decision you can. Consider weather and heat factors too. For toddlers, it’s a good idea to give them notice at least a few times before you actually start packing to leave the beach. This will help you to avoid tantrums or meltdowns on the way home.
Expert tip: Still trying to get that family vacation planning, right? Here are six fun vacation ideas for families with a baby.
There you have it - some of the most interesting baby beach games to keep your children entertained and their curiosity flowing as your family enjoys the seashore. Whether you decide to go to a beach close to home, or try a baby-friendly vacation in a Caribbean territory like Jamaica or Turks & Caicos, these activities are sure to come in handy.
If you’re planning on flying out for your next beach vacation, all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean are a great way to go! Your family will love hanging out together on some of the best beaches in the world, such as Grace Bay Beach, Seven Mile Beach, and Bloody Bay Beach. Try resorts in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, or resorts in Negril, Jamaica that cater to families with kids. There’s also an all-inclusive resort in Turks & Caicos that includes day and night entertainment for parents and kids, Kids Camps, swim-up bars, water parks, and lots more!