Fun Family Ideas for the Summer

There is a movement afoot to get people outdoors, especially children and families. The health benefits of being outdoors and in the sun (without sunburns, of course) are coming to light, encouraging people to get out into nature and the outdoors.
Getting out on the beach is one of the most beautiful and fun ways to do this. But some families aren’t really sure what they are supposed to do once they get out there. Here are some ideas for family fun in the sun.

Games

If you aren’t sure what to do on the beach, try some fun games. Volleyball and badminton are fun, but they do require nets and some special equipment. Bring along a Frisbee if you just want to have fun without a lot of items to carry and set up.

Water Sports

Try something new! Sign up for a snorkeling class, go boating, or just participate in old-fashioned body surfing. Tubing is fun, too – you sit in an inner tube that is pulled along by a motor boat. As long as everyone in the family can swim, there are fun opportunities at the beach to try new water sports.

Crafts

Sand, shells, feathers, driftwood, and other (safe) finds on the beach can be made into interesting crafts. Shells can be made into necklaces, pins, hair clips, and funny animal shapes. Did you know you can cast shapes in the sand using plaster of Paris? Here’s how:

In damp sand, dig out a shape you like, such as a fish or starfish shape. Make it about 2 inches deep. If you want a mosaic-like effect, lay shells or other colorful items such as marbles in the bottom of the shape you dug out, pushing them into the sand slightly so they won’t move. Mix the plaster so that it is thick, then pour it into the mold. After about an hour, you can dig the plaster cast out. Let your memento dry in a safe place for about 24 hours.

Sand Castles

Don’t forget about this classic beach activity. The whole family can build one big sand castle, or you can have a friendly family competition to see who can build the most elaborate, most creative, or most whatever castle. Bring along buckets, cups, and other hollow items to mold interesting shapes.

Fire It Up

A bonfire on the beach is a beautiful and enjoyable activity for the evening. Depending on your location and the time of year, interesting creatures come out at dark on the beach, such as ghost crabs or glowing jelly fish. Bring blankets and towels and view stars and constellations.

You can bring along the fixings for dinner, or head out to the beach after dinner for dessert (s’mores, anyone?). Or you can do both! A bonfire doesn’t even have to involve food; it’s just a lovely end to a fun day in the sun.