5 Ways To Try Purposeful Play at the Beach

Summer is the time for fun and sand!

With kids home from school and the nice summer weather finally here, the beach is a great spot to work on skills while allowing your child to have fun in the sun. Why the beach? Playing in the sand gives a different textural experience, resistance for strengthening, and changing surfaces for balance training!

5 Fun Beach Activities For Your Kids

Build a Sandcastle

Use your hands to rake the sand and pick it up in big fistfuls or shovel it up to fill a bucket. Finding a small bucket can help teach your kids how to tip it over themselves or integrate some teamwork activity with a larger bucket by helping them tip it over. This helps with hand-eye coordination, grasping, gripping, arm and core strength, and communication skills needed for teamwork.

Scavenger Hunt

With all the seashells, rocks, sea glass, and more that you can find on the beach, there are so many options to collect on the shore! Once your child gathers their treasures, place them at the shoreline and fill a bucket with water. Use the water to wash away the finds. Walking on the sand helps to improve balance while searching for treasures allows the child to scan their environment and use eye coordination. Running, walking, and squatting all work together to help strengthen their legs.


Grab a small shovel and find a spot to dig a hole in the sand. Try filling it with water or even better, build a moat for your sandcastle! This activity helps with gripping and grasping for hand strength and coordination. Kneeling and squatting will improve leg strength. For some extra sensory stimulation, use your hands to dig the hole.

Sift for Treasure

Take a sandbox plastic sifter tray and bring it to the beach to help search for beach treasures like shells or sea rocks. This activity is great for bilateral hand use and coordination. You never know what you’ll find at the beach!

Jump the Waves

Stand in the shallows and try to jump over each wave as it comes in. Adjust the depth for the age and swimming abilities. Besides being a fun activity where you and your child can laugh together, this helps with jumping skills, balance, and timing for anticipating reactions to their environment.

Be Prepared For Your Beach Day

Don’t forget to bring a cart or wagon to store all the treasures you may find while integrating purposeful play on your beach day! Not only will this help you transport the newest items in your collections, but it allows you to easily bring and store the necessary sun protection – like hats, tents, and sunscreen!

Use Purposeful Play to Improve Balance, Strength, and Coordination

Spending a day at the beach is a great way to help your child improve their balance, strength, and coordination. But how else can you continue to work on those skills when the weather isn’t so warm and sunny? The pediatric physical therapists at PErformance Physical Therapy are here to help your child meet their developmental and movement goals so they can grow into happy, healthy adults. Call 401.726.7100 to schedule an evaluation or request a phone consult today.

75 views0 comments