The sand, sun and surf offer more than the obvious activities on a day at the beach. When the kids get bored digging in the sand or running through the waves, teach them some new beach games. Beach games work well for groups that include people of various ages, and you can adapt them to fit your needs.
Sand castles are a natural activity option on the beach. Instead of simply building a sand castle, however, make it a competition. Working individually or in teams, the contestants construct creative sand sculptures. You can expand the contest to other types of structures. Set a time limit, and have someone who didn't participate in the competition judge the entries to determine the winner. You could even ask other people on the beach to cast their votes.
Capture the Flag
Each team needs its own large sand castle -- they should be several yards apart -- for this game, described on the Youthwork Practice website. Each castle has a flag with either a towel or a bandanna flying from the top. The goal is to grab the flag of the other team and get it back to your castle while defending your own castle. To avoid injuries, set ground rules for tackling or other defensive moves.
The expansive sandy beach offers a drawing surface that works well for a game of sand pictures. Players take turns drawing pictures in the sand while the other players try to guess what the pictures are. Think of words ahead of time and bring along word cards, or let the players come up with their own images to draw.
Disney's Wondertime website offers another simple game idea that uses materials found at the beach. A large circle drawn in the sand serves as the target. Draw one large circle as the outside of the target area. For extra complexity, add smaller circles inside, with varying points assigned to each ring, like a dartboard.
Each player needs his own rock, seashell or other item. Having each person choose a different type of material makes it easier to keep track. The players take turns tossing the objects toward the target to score points.