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June 6, 2011

7 Ways to Encourage Summer Learning at the Beach

Written By: Brandi Jordan
Category: Home Life
X Ways to Encourage Summer Learning at the Beach

Ways to Encourage Summer Learning at the Beach

Guest post by Charity L. Preston

Summertime is traditionally thought of in terms of vacation, sun, and sand for most.  Kids love to play at the beach by splashing in the water and creating sand castles.  While the beach is a great place to just be carefree, parents can also use this time to do some creative learning while the kids don’t even realize it!  Here are seven ways in in which summer learning can be brought to the beach.

Summer Learning Fun!

Picnic Letter Tiles

In your picnic basket, bring a baggy full of letter tiles.  On top of your beach blanket, two or more players start by pulling out six letters and seeing what words can be made.  When no more words can be made form the current choices, each person pulls another letter.  This continues until all letters have been pulled.   The person with the least amount of letter tiles left wins!


Sorting Shells

Have children fill a plastic sand buckets with shells and other items found in the sand along the beach and/or the water.  Dump all the contents out onto a flat beach towel and each child takes a turn in sorting the items into separate piles.  For example, large and small items, smooth and rough items, or various colored items.  See how many different groupings can be made.


Snack Estimation

Before opening an individual sized bag of snacks, have children estimate the number of items contained in the bag.  Ask for a reasoning based on size of object, weight, and possible air in packaging.  See what creative ideas your child comes up with for their answer.


Counting Frisbee

Have a group of people stand facing each other in a circle, and throw the Frisbee from one to another in a random order.  The only catch is that before the disc is tossed, the thrower must say the next number in a number set.  For example, counting by threes, or multiplying by fours.  If someone incorrectly names the next number, the group must start again at the beginning.


Scientific Method Seeds

Have your child use the scientific method, a paper plate, and toothpicks to hypothesize and test how many seeds are contained in a piece of watermelon.  He or she can use the steps, such as question, research (perhaps get more information from an adult or use a mobile device), hypothesize, experiment (by digging out the seeds with the toothpick), and communicate the results.  The best part?  Getting to eat the experiment, minus the results!

Write a Poem in the Beach Sand

First start by writing beach-related words that rhyme in the wet sand.  Then, come up with a simple four-line poem, using the words you have already brainstormed.  Don’t forget to take a picture to keep the memory alive!


Map-Skills Treasure Hunt

Before going to the beach, place several coins in a sealed baggie.  Once there, have the kids bury the “treasure” somewhere nearby.  Make sure you do not look while they are working.  Hand them paper and crayons for them to create a treasure map for you to be able to find the treasure using a real-world measurement tool (such as a stick or a flip flop).  When you have successfully found the treasure, share the loot with the pirates!

The beach is a great place to imagine, play, and learn.  No special equipment is needed, and the kids will always remember the fun games they played while at the beach.  Don’t forget your sunblock and have fun learning in the sun, sand, and surf!


What other fun learning ideas do you have for summer?



About the Author

Charity L. Preston is an author, teacher, and parent. Most importantly, she is an educator in all roles. The ability to teach someone something new is a gift that few truly appreciate. Visit her now at The Organized Classroom Blog or on Facebook! Check it out now!

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  • Melly
    June 8, 2011

    Marvelous ideas. We thought about having a scavenger hunt as well…something to represent each area of instruction…reading, writing, and math at least! What can your child find that he/she relates to each subject? Give good explanations…

  • Lori
    June 8, 2011

    Take a stopwatch to the park. Time your kids on how long it takes them to do an activity. They can work on their time skills and comparing to see who was faster or slower. You can also work on adding times together if you have more than one child.

  • Tara
    June 8, 2011

    I like to practice writing letters and numbers in the sand with my little one. We can do this with our fingers, or we can grab a stick or a shell to change the game a little bit. This is a simpler variation of writing a poem in the sand for smaller children.

  • Lori Archer
    June 7, 2011

    I love the sorting shells idea. I expanded it and had my son collect the shells and then we counted them too.

  • Crystal F.
    June 6, 2011

    This is a great idea. Our school is near a beach and could easily be used in a lesson. This will be a suggestion that I send home to my parents for continued summer learning.

  • Kris
    June 6, 2011

    Love these great ideas! I have several friends’ kiddos with summer birthdays. It would be a great gift idea to create a ready-made learning kit for the beach in a pail with their names on it! Or even a prek or kindergarten graduation gift.

  • Julianna Mann
    June 6, 2011

    It is always great to find ways to make learning fun to where the children don’t even realize they are learning…I really liked the buried treasure idea for teaching map skills. I teach in north Alabama in a school with a high free/reduced lunch population. It is sad how many of my students have never been to the beach or on vacations at all.

  • Mika Grace
    June 6, 2011

    Thank you for this informative article. I found the different activities for the beach exciting. Children should be having fun and learning at the same time throughout the year including summer! I will definitely pass this article to family and friends with children.

  • Dawn Marsh
    June 6, 2011

    Great ideas for the beach! My daughter and I will be sorting shells when we go next month!

  • Anne Conway
    June 6, 2011

    I think the beach would be a great place to do some weather observations-why it is so warm this time of year, why the sun is with us for these longest days of the year. Also what is seaweed? What is the difference between salt water and fresh water and the creatures who live in each? Also measuring quantities of sand-a pint, a quart, a gallon. How many gallons does it take to make a sandcastle? Finally, what sinks and what floats?

  • Nicole
    June 6, 2011

    These are all great ideas. Another great idea would be to have younger children practice writing their letters/name in the sand! Even their numbers, too!!!

  • Marilyn Schmid
    June 6, 2011

    These ideas are great for my preschool! Our school is right across the street from the beach and these ideas will make our beach visits even more meaningful! Thanks!

  • CL
    June 6, 2011

    What fun ideas!

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