Fun Activities To Do in the Sand

Although we may not always want to admit it, sometimes our days at the beach include stretches of "Now what?" and "Mom, I'm bored!" We understand. We've been there. When the kids are all surfed out and the snacks are running low, use this list of active ideas to reinvigorate the group and watch "I wanna go home!" become "I don't wanna leave!"

Build A Sand Castle

Sand castle building is beach vacation rite of passage. Sand castles can be large or small, elaborate or simple, solo projects or all hands on deck creations. 

First, your basic list of supplies:

  • 2 intact buckets (1 each: hauling water, mixing water/sand)
  • 1 waterproof cylinder (a bucket without a bottom, sharp edges removed would work)
  • 1 small plastic shovel
  • 1 medium shovel (or a dustpan)
  • Design tools (straws, popsicle sticks, chopsticks, plastic knives/spoons)
  • D├ęcor elements (shells, seaweed, driftwood)

While there's no wrong way to build a sand castle, there ARE tricks to it that will result in better, sturdier castles. 

First, you need a solidly compacted base for your castle. Create a nice mound of sand and smack, pack, and otherwise beat on it until the floor level is nice and tight. Same goes for the additional levels as you build your castle higher into the air. The tighter the grains of sand, the more stable your structure will be.

Second, your sand needs to be wet, but not too wet. What's that, you say? Can you be a little more specific? Of course we can! During the base building process, you'll want to make sure that your sand to water mixture is about 50/50. Pack the sand tightly as noted above and then give it a minute to drain. If you decide to add something like an arch or you need to make unanticipated repairs, you'll want to use the super wet sand from your bucket and hold it in place while pressing or squeezing the extra water from the mixture. Once it sets in place, give it another minute or two to drain itself, then proceed as usual!

Finally, customize as desired! There are all kinds of things that you can find right on the beach that you can use to decorate your castle. Have a family sand castle building competition, boys against girls or parents against kids. You can even build multiple castles across multiple days and take a family vote for "The Best Sand Castle Of All!" Don't forget to snap pictures for the vacation album!

Go Fly A Kite

Much like building a sand castle, flying a kite along a long stretch of open beach is an experience that you won't soon forget. 

There are a few rules of kite flying etiquette that you should review and understand BEFORE you take your kite out onto the beach. 

First, be considerate of other people, whether they are other kite flyers or beach goers. Flying a kite is an activity that takes up a lot of space, and inexperienced flyers may have a mishap or two. You'll want to be well away from other people before you launch your kite into the air. 

Are you part of a group? Ensure you start with plenty of space and watch out for the other kite lines!

Second, obey the commands of the weather. While some amount of wind is important for a good kite day, too much wind will result in a potentially uncontrollable kite, which may cause injury to yourself or others or damage to property. Additionally, you DO NOT want to fly a kite if there's a threat of a thunderstorm. Remember: lightening looks for the fastest way to reach the ground. Don't put yourself in a situation where you may become a conduit between the sky and the earth!

One of the coolest things about this activity is that you can make your own kite in the comfort of your Sunset Vacations rental! Kite making requires very few, very inexpensive materials, some of which you're likely to have on hand or which can be collected from the beach or the yard at the rental.

Basic kite-making materials:

  • Lightweight sticks (bamboo, seagrass, etc)
  • String
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Plastic bag (grocery bag, trash bag)

Kite-making is a fabulous end-of-the-day activity for the kids or a great rainy-day project. Really, all you need to create a kite is a frame, a sail, and a tether. 

Play Sand Games

While sand castle building and kite flying are awesome beach sand activities, sometimes those activities are a little more involved than what we may in the mood to accomplish. If that's your current vibe, try this list of games instead.

Easy Games

Easy games are those that require very little skill, can be played by people of any age, and don't require additional equipment. Games like tic-tac-toe and word dude (hangman's kinder, gentler cousin) are easy to play over and over right on the same sandy spot. Players who enjoy these options may also be interested in games like high/low and funny faces (drawing silly faces in the sand and taking pictures of your shadow so it looks like you are making those expressions).

Intermediate Games

Intermediate games require a little more skill and may be more enjoyable to slightly older game players. Sand pictionary can be played right on the sand and modified for the environment. Each illustrator comes up with their own beach word, and whoever can earn the most correct guesses within a certain time frame wins! Sand poetry is another option. Each individual can beach inspired couplets across the sand or take turns scrawling the next line in a family-created stanza!

Advanced Games

Advanced sand games take a little longer than the easier options and may require more movement. Take sand pictionary a step further with sand art! Players compete by creating the same fully decorated images. You can time these creations or not. Another advanced sand game option is human sand sculpting. One player lays in the sand while the others cover their body with a thin layer of sand. The non-covered players then draw around the buried player. Think mermaid, dinosaur, a TV star, or a jack-in-the-box! 

A Few General Rules To Keep In Mind

No matter which game you choose to play, please keep the following beach safety rules in mind at all time:

  • Always use the buddy system! Stay together when hunting for castle decorations or flying kites.
  • Always return the beach to the same condition that you found it. Fill in any holes and remove trash/non-native decorating items.
  • Always stay above the high-tide line when playing games that require laying down or covering yourself with sand.
  • Always respect the ocean! Rogue large waves are not very common but they can occur. Don't get caught unaware.

We hope this article helps you enjoy your time in the sand at the Sunset Beach as much as you enjoy the waves! Check back next week to see our recommendations for How To Build Your Perfect Summer Playlist!

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