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Beach days are for graceful lounging – and creatively educational?

Beach days are for graceful lounging – and creatively educational?

Graceful Lounging

I love my beach days but when you homeschool and still want to get in a beach day, you must find a middle ground.

The beach isn’t all beauty and fun, you can’t just show up and expect to sit and lounge all day without some serious work effort.  I used to head to the beach and only stay for about an hour.  I wondered how in the world do people sit at the beach all day? It’s impossible with kids! Then, I started paying more attention to the people that were lugging a cart full of gear across the sand. Bingo! No, I’m not going to do it everyday or even once a week but when I say we’re headed to the beach, we load up.  That’s not just a tent, chairs, and a cooler.  A simple theme of the day can take you a long way, here’s some to explore for your next beach day.

Beach Safety First:

Know your beach warning flags and the how to get out of a rip current.

  • Always swim with a water partner, there may be no one to help you when you swim alone.
  • Make sure an adult is nearby.
  • Stay in designated swimming areas.
  • Areas without lifeguards have higher risks – they know how to rescue swimmers and lookout for dangerous currents and animals.
  • Even good swimmers still need to be careful by not swimming out too far, it can be very tiring trying to swim back.
  • Sun protection is important – protect your skin with sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and UV rated clothing.  Try reef friendly sunscreen for protection of both the environment and your skin. 
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Changing shores:

Watch the waves crash and talk about how the shores are constantly changing. 

  • Observe how the sand moves with every wave.
  • How the patterns in the sand show shifts from the wind and water.
  • How hurricanes can impact the shorelines quickly.

Depending on where you are, some shorelines have rocks, arches in the rock, sand dunes, or rock stacks.  The shoreline you visit may have experienced massive receding over the years and required reconstruction or restoration.  For instance, in the last 30 years, Florida has had to invest in the restoration and maintenance of more than 229 miles of shoreline (out of the the total 419.6 miles) because of critical erosion and hurricane recovery projects.

Vocabulary: erosion, sand spit, sand dune, recede, hurricane

At Home: Try a Beach and Sand Science Lab


What causes tides? Gravity and the pull from the sun and the moon on the seawater (that’s the short answer thanks to Sir Isaac Netwon).  The tide is highest when the sun and the moon are in line with the Earth.

When the tide falls, seashore birds sit and wait for small animals that are stranded as the water levels drop.

Jellyfish spend their life drifting with the tides.  When they get washed ashore, they can’t survive. If you happen to sight one, you can report it to JellyfishWatch. I had the pleasure of spotting a cannonball jellyfish a few years ago, just rolling with the tide near Melbourne Beach, Florida.  And who knew there was a jellyfish repellent? It’s supposed to trick the jellyfish into thinking you’re one too.

How to spot a Jellyfish – they can be any size, colorful or colorless.  You can still be stung by touching dead jellyfish on the shore or by a stray tentacle so always be careful.  They can look like a balloon, a plastic bag, shiny, a shell, or even a tumbling ball in the water.  Want to know more about how to care for a sting and Jellyfish facts? go to the Swim Guide.

More Ways to embrace playful learning:

Seashell Identification Catalog – make a scavenger hunt out of it. 

Work on a Shark Unit Study Lapbook

Practice Ocean ABC’s – name ocean plants and animals for every letter, draw letters in the sand. Need help? Amazing list of Ocean Animals at Owlcation and at A-Z Animals.

  • A – angelfish, algae
  • B – barnacle, barracuda
  • C – crab, coral, clams
  • D – dolphin
  • E – eel
  • F – flying fish
  • G – gar
  • H – hermit crab, halibut
  • I – icefish
  • J – jellyfish
  • K – kelp, king crab
  • L – lobster
  • M – mussel
  • N – nurse shark, narwhal
  • O – oyster, octopus, orca
  • P – pelican, pufferfish
  • Q – quahog
  • R – ray
  • S – sand dollar, squid, shark, starfish
  • T – tuna, turtle
  • U – urchin
  • V – vampire fish
  • W – whale, walrus
  • X – x-ray tetra
  • Y – yellowfin tuna
  • Z – zooplankton, zebra fish

Art by the Ocean – bring drawing pad and pencils, crayons, or markers. Draw

  • A bird on the beach
  • A seagull diving into the water
  • A starfish near the shore
  • A dolphin in the water

Quiet time – writing journal prompts:

  • Plan a beach themed summer menu for your next tea party.
  • Describe your surroundings using all five senses.
  • Pretend to be a mermaid that found something strange on the shoreline – what is it?  Where did it come from?
  • Imagine you found a magical seashell that could transport you anywhere in the world, where would you go?

More Beach Activities:

  • Have a relay race – run to the water, fill up a cup, and bring it back to fill up a bucket.
  • Build a sand mound (volcano), put a cup in the middle (remember to take it with you when you leave), add some baking soda to the bottom of the cup, then pour in some vinegar and watch it erupt. (This is always fun.)
  • Draw a hopscotch on the sand.
  • Play sand tic-tac-toe.
  • Draw a sundial in the sand.

Don’t forget the beach gear, it’s worth it. 

If you’re far from home, rent the chairs and umbrella.  Otherwise, here’s some must have’s in my family beach kit:

Chairs – I have 3 kinds of chairs but the most comfortable is the zero gravity chair.  It’s big for lugging to the beach but my, my, my, it is wonderful.  You can get your own at Amazon – 2 for under $70! Great by the pool or on the patio, also.

Sand Remover Mitt – This is great because some beach entrances don’t have showers to rinse off and depending on where you’re able to find parking, you could be bringing back all the sand.  No worries, this knocks off sand easily and it’s highly travel friendly.

Round Beach Towel – Want something unique?  Take a look at all of my photos available as a round beach towel, perfect for dreamy surroundings all around you.

Depending on your needs, you may find something like this huge 6×7 sand proof blanket for under $20 an even better buy.  I’m seriously debating getting one, too.  Comment below if you have it, I’d love to know how well it works at leaving the sand at the beach.

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I have 2 pop-up tents, one truly pops up as soon as it opens but doesn’t have the height I need to sit in my favorite chairs (found it at Aldi for under $10).  A low sling chair works best with that kind. The other takes a little construction to get it up the first time but once you know it, you can do it in 5 – 10 minutes and it has the height for taller chairs. When shopping for a shelter, be sure to check the height for how you want to use it, look for whether it has a floor, ventilation, and is water proof.  It helps keep you cool when the sun gets to be too much and can protect your things if you have a sudden shower.  If you have to choose only one, leave the chairs and just bring the shelter.

Happy Wandering at the Beach!

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