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10 Classic Summer Beach Games to Play With the Kids

Posted by Jody on June 25, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Emma Roberts of Summer Nanny:

A trip to the beach might be all about the sun and surf in theory, but that’s just not always the case when there are little ones in tow. Kids’ shorter attention spans make diversions necessary, even when they’re surrounded by the wonder of the crashing waves and acres of pristine sand. Instead of tossing out a pail and shovel for everyone to squabble over while you read a book, why not indulge in these 10 classic beach games for a bit of quality time with your brood over summer vacation?

Let's Play!

Let’s Play!

  • Volleyball – When the question of playing games on the beach is posed, volleyball is the first that comes to mind for many people. Many beaches even have nets already set up that are municipally maintained, so all you’ll have to bring is a ball. Be prepared, however, for a long wait for a turn at the nets if you’ve chosen a particularly popular destination.
  • Miniature Golf – Along the boardwalks and seaside amusement parks that dot the coast, one of the most common sights are miniature golf courses. While you certainly can shell out admission for each member of your party to play putt-putt, you can also foster creativity and save a few bucks by building your own mini golf course. Dig holes, mold obstacles out of damp sand and invest in a few cheap plastic golf sets. Before you know it, you’ll be playing a rousing game of golf for a fraction of the cost at a shore course.
  • Frisbee – If you really want to get the whole family involved in a beach game, this is one that allows you to even get Rover in on the fun. It’s wise to invest in a handful of Frisbees, rather than just packing one because they’re easily lost or blown away. Being able to pull another out of your bag will keep the fun rolling, even if one goes missing on a crowded beach.
  • Cornhole – A classic at backyard barbecues and tailgating parties, whether you call it “cornhole” or “beanbags,” this game is an ideal way to pass time at the beach. Try to arrive before peak times or select a spot that’s a bit farther from the shoreline to ensure that you have enough room.
  • Sharks and Minnows – While this adults-versus-kids version of Hide and Seek typically requires the adults to be blindfolded, you may want to skip the scarves in favor of simply closing your eyes while you’re wading through shallow waters at low tide for safety’s sake.
  • Bocce Ball – Beloved by many beachgoers, Bocce ball is such a classic beach game that it’s often referred to as “beach bowling.” Sets range from relatively cheap to quite expensive, and many municipally maintained beaches have Bocce ball courts to accommodate players.
  • Tag – When the beach is crowded with other people, sending your kids weaving in and out of other groups as you chase after them might not be your idea of a good time. In the earlier morning hours or past peak times, however, it’s a great way to get in a workout while keeping your little ones giggling.
  • Kickball – A sort of hybrid between baseball and soccer, kickball is a playground classic beloved by generations of kids. Bring this traditional game to the beach by substituting an inflatable beach ball for the harder kick ball that’s typically used. As an added bonus, the soft beach ball makes the game more suitable for smaller kids.
  • Relay Races – Whether you’re filling buckets or passing batons, there’s nothing quite like a good relay race to foster a sense of healthy competition while keeping everyone in the family active. Take turns acting as referee so that everyone has the chance to rest and get hydrated between rounds.
  • Tug-of-War – Adults will probably have to throw the game a bit by not exerting all of their strength, unless the sides are unevenly matched in kids’ favor. Still, all you need is a rope and a sense of adventure to create hours of fun in the sun and spray.

As with any beach games, it’s important to keep safety first. Games that require kids to hide or sprint across a crowded beach may not be ideal choices during peak time, as the last thing you’ll want is to lose track of a little one. Take the time of day and beach conditions under consideration, then have a ball!

Reprinted with permission from Summer Nanny.


18 Responses to “10 Classic Summer Beach Games to Play With the Kids”

  1. I love these ideas! Summer Nanny, can you come with US to the beach this summer?

  2. ..and vital when trying to entertain a 3 and a 5 year old!

  3. I’m from a famous beach city in Brazil called Rio de Janeiro. I miss it so much! Can’t wait to hit the beach again in August 🙂 if you don’t mind me asking, could you visit my blog and read something I posted in English? I started it a few days ago and I could use some helpful hints or just opinions. Thank you so much!

  4. Ajaytao2010 said

    I Nominate you for Bouquet of Super Awards – 27 Nominations

    please choose any 3 awards out of the 27
    accept it and oblige

    there are no linkbacks for this award

  5. tosid01 said

    I used to enjoy Wave jumping! Usually it was me and a few other random kids having a contest to see who could jump and clear a wave…if any part of you touched the wave, or if it crashed on you, you didn’t get a point. If you cleared it completely you got one point! We would keep a tally in the sand…

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