7 Fun Beach Science Activities for Kids

We just got back from a really amazing vacation to the beach.  Sun, sand, and surf made for a relaxing way to spend time with the family.  We also learned a few things, too.  Here are 7 Fun Beach Science Activities for Kids. This post contains affiliate links.

Kids can learn while they're having fun at the beach with these 7 beach science activities. Great STEM learning for the summer.

SAFETY NOTE:  Young children and weak swimmers should always be supervised at the beach.  Please use your knowledge of your children’s capabilities to make sure they are safe.

Feel the Sand

The sand in most beaches is made of fun.  Oh wait, insert science here…  Silicon dioxide in the form of quartz.  But you might be lucky enough to play on a beach made of coral or even the gem peridot like at Papalokea Beach in Hawaii.  The materials become sand over thousands of years as weather and nature wear away the rock into tiny pieces.

Science legend suggests that there more grains of sand on the Earth than there are stars in the universe.  What do you think?  Click through to Universe Today for an answer.

Watch the Tide Roll In

Tides are an easy one to see if you are at the beach all day.  Show your kiddo how the water levels change throughout the day.  What is a little more complicated is explaining how they work.

  • Ocean tides are created by combining the gravitational pull of the moon and the sun, combined with the rotation of the earth. The moon’s gravitational pull is stronger than the suns which makes it the most important factor in creating tides.
  • The tides are really long-period waves that appear as the rise and fall of the sea as they reach the coastline . High tide is the crest of the long-period wave and low tide is the trough of the long-period wave.

Tide pools are another fun way to learn about tides.  Animal and plant life thrives in these small areas of sand that fill up at high tide and empty at low tide.

Feel the Wind

The wind that flies a kite owes itself to the beach itself.  And pressure changes…  Since air is cooler over the oceans than over the sun warmed land, it causes a pressure differential and air flows towards land.

what makes the wind blow left brain craft brain featured

For more wind science and fun things to do with it, check out 25 Ways to Play & Learn with the Wind.

Learn about Water Safety

We definitely can’t ignore one of the most important learning activities at the beach, water safety. We spent a lot of time with my daughter talking about this.  She’s newly swimming and newly adventurous, so we had to be extra careful.  The Red Cross has a thorough Beach Safety guide that is a must read.

Exploring the Beach Left Brain Craft Brain

Also, kids need to know what a rip current (or rip tide) is so that they know how to safely get out of it.  It is a current of water that runs close to the surface and heads away from shore.  Water that has flowed up to shore because of waves needs a place to return to the ocean and looks for the spot of least resistance like between sandbars or under piers.  The safest way to get out of a rip current is to swim parallel to the shore.  The Red Cross Beach Safety guide has even more info to keep you and the kids safe.

Be a Sand Architect

Building sand castles makes for a great learning activity at the beach.  You can explore gravity and design.  Oh and demolition too.  My daughter’s favorite part is smashing her constructions!!  And that is why there are no pictures of sandcastles in this post…

Sand Architect Left Brain Craft Brain

Sandcastles are possible because the water in sand creates grain-to-grain bridges that support other grains.  Surface tension in the water is responsible.  NASA has an awesome discussion of the The Physics of Sandcastles.

Feel some Seaweed

Seaweed is one of the greens of the sea and you can often find some floating in the waters or washed up on the beach.  It’s slimy feeling makes it especially intriguing to the kiddos, so help them learn a little bit about it… Seaweed is a type of algae that serves a vital role in the ocean ecosystem.  They are a food source and kelp forests create safe housing for fish and other animals.  Need an in-depth look at the science of seaweed?  OceanLink has a great summary.

And if your kiddos haven’t tried roasted nori {affiliate}, a dried seaweed snack, definitely pick some up.  My daughter and most of her preschool friends can’t get enough of this salty, crunchy, way better for you than chips snack.

Explore Water Creatures

One of the most fascinating things about the beach is all of the things that live there!  My daughter foraged for coral and shells, watched the birds and looked for fish.  If it moved or was hidden, she was intrigued!

Coral Left Brain Craft Brain

Beach Reading

After your beach trip, do a little reading to remember the fun…

Beach: A Book of Treasures

Beach: A Book of Treasures {affiliate} by Josie Iselin showcases all the wonderful things you can find at the beach like shells and algae.  It also gives some of the science behind the items.  Beautiful ecology :)

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This Beach {affiliate} book by Elisha Cooper has gorgeous watercolor pictures that tell the story of a fun outing to the beach.

Science, Tech, Engineering, Art, and Math Fun for Kids

Looking for some more STEAM inspiration that use can use right now? Instant gratification style? Check out STEAM Kids: 50+ Hands-on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math Hands-On Projects for Kids ebook! It’s packed full of a year’s worth fun learning activities that will wow the boredom right out of your kids.

7 Fun Beach Science Activities for Kids LBCB

9 thoughts on “7 Fun Beach Science Activities for Kids”

  1. The beach is a great place to combine learning and fun! Another great book is Emily Morgan’s “Next Time You See a Seashell”. Great series to combine science and a sense of wonder! Now I am itching to go to the beach!

    1. leftbraincraftbrain

      Thanks so much for the book suggestion! I will definitely have to check that out.

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