5 beach games we love

Tired of building sandcastles? Try one of these family-friendly games instead!

Photo by Tony Garcia/Getty Images

Sand skeeball
Dig 10 small holes in the shape of a triangle, starting with one hole in the top row, and four in the bottom. The holes should be big enough for a tennis ball to fit into, and about 20 cm apart. (Make the spaces wider for a bigger challenge.) Stand 1.5 m from the bottom row (let younger kids stand closer), and try to roll a tennis ball across the sand and into the holes. Give each row different point levels, with the single furthest hole having the highest. Whoever gets to 100 points first wins!

Do you remember?
Collect various objects from the beach, like rocks, shells and toys. Arrange them together on top of a towel or blanket. Let the kids look at all the different objects for a minute, and then cover everything with another towel. Have the kids try to remember as many items as they can. Once everyone has taken a guess, remove the towel and see what they’ve missed (or not!). Whoever remembers the most objects wins.

Towel jump
This one is a fun twist on the classic party game musical chairs. Lay out everyone’s towel in a circle. Stand in the middle and sing a song (or you can play a song if you brought music). Have the kids dance around the towels as the music plays and take away one towel. When the music stops, they must lay down on a towel as if they’re suntanning. Whoever is left without a towel must help sing the song and take away towels. Play until only one person is left.

Shadow tag
This game is played with all of the rules of regular tag, but instead of tagging people, you’ve got to catch their shadows. Watch out for the sun, and keep your shadow away from whoever is “it.” If that person steps on or touches your shadow, it’s your turn to chase everyone else. Set boundaries to stop kids from running too far.

Sand characters
A trip to the beach isn’t complete without making something out of sand! Take turns doing drawings and building sculptures of your family and friends. Up the ante (and the silly factor) by challenging the artists to keep their eyes closed while they create their masterpieces. Just don’t get offended if the results aren’t picture-perfect.

This article originally appeared in our July 2012 issue under the headline “Beach Bums” (p. 22).

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