Spending summer vacation at the beach may not be out of reach with a little imagination and a backyard sandbox. Treat children to a fun day “at the beach” by bringing the ocean home to the backyard. All that is needed is the sun, water, sand, and a little creativity. A family backyard beach staycation can be part of a summer day or as the theme of an exciting backyard birthday party!
A Sandbox and Backyard Beach Party Decorations
A day at the beach requires sand and sun. Don’t have a sandbox? Set up one cheaply by filling an inexpensive wading pool with play sand from the local hardware store. Build a permanent sandbox — without carpentry skills — by using these plans for turning a raised garden bed into a sandbox.
Set up lawn chairs and beach towels next to the sandbox for grownup observers or children who need a break. Add tropical flair by wearing floral leis from a party supply store. Make sure little beachgoers are prepared with swimsuits, hats, and lots of sunblock. Flips flops are optional!
Beach Comb for Shells in the Sandbox
What’s the best part of going to the beach? Collecting seashells, of course! Bury some ocean treasures in the sandbox for little beachcombers to find. Use seashells from a real beach vacation or use store-bought shells. Shells can be found at dollar stores and craft departments very inexpensively. Don’t use shells that are fragile or so small they would be lost easily.
How deep to bury the shells depends on the age of the children digging for them. Toddlers should be able to see a bit of the shell to help them find it, while older kids can find shells buried deep.
Equip each child with a plastic beach shovel and pail to deposit his or her treasures. Shells can be buried again and again for more fun. Make a game of it by timing the children and challenging them to find the most shells in a minute. Make fun awards to hand out by hot-gluing a gold-painted shell to a ribbon.
Bring the Ocean Home With a Backyard Wading Pool
Every day at the beach needs an element of water. Add some mock ocean fun by setting up a wading pool near the sandbox, or just turn on the sprinklers.
Even if a backyard already has a permanent pool, a shallow wading pool is still a good idea to clean the sand off little swimmers.
Tropical Food for a Day at the Beach
Serve kid-friendly tropical treats during a backyard beach bash. This could be as simple as putting out a bowl of tropical dried fruit mix and serving pineapple yogurt. Or go a little farther by preparing tropical fruit kabobs. Thread large chunks of fruit (pineapple, strawberries, grapes or melon) on straws with yogurt for dipping sauce.
Make a quick fruit smoothie with equal parts flavoured yogurt and milk, and then add frozen fruit and mix in a blender. Pre-frozen fruit like blueberries is quick and easy to use.
Play Backyard Beach Games
Round out a beach staycation by playing beach themed games on the lawn. Play Limbo with a broomstick, or use a beach ball to play volleyball or soccer. Create a makeshift volleyball net by stringing a clothesline between two trees and hanging a blanket across it for the net. Use a toy magnetic fishing set (or create one from scratch) to “fish” in the wading pool. And don’t forget to build a sandcastle!
What is your favourite activity to do during a backyard beach staycation with the family? Comment below!