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7 incredible beach activities to do with your 9-year-old

Heading off to the beach — with visions of salty splashes of water, oddly shaped sand creations, vibrant beach towels, and icy drinks chilling in coolers — instantly puts everyone in a better mood. When was the last time you and your kiddo had some time in the sand? If you are planning a beach getaway with your gnarly 9-year-old, then we have some radical ideas to share to keep them laughing and entertained while there.

It may seem like a no-brainer — and even a little silly — to have a game plan in play for such a wildly entertaining destination. But as any seasoned parent knows, some kiddos need a little help coming up with ideas on what to do for fun while soaking up the sun on the beach. From independent and parent-free choices to deeply involved multiplayer activities, our list of seven incredible beach activities will surely please any picky 9-year-old out there.

Sunny studio/shutterstock

Racing against the clock

There’s just something about kids and running full speed ahead for literally any reason whatsoever. What better way to exert some “cooped-up in the car” energy early in the day than to plan a shoreline relay race? Select different run sequences, incorporate tasks such as jumping jacks or silly dances at each “station,” and encourage a little friendly competition in a race to beat the clock. If your children enjoy prizes, consider packing their favorite snack or treat as a surprise for beating the odds.

Drawing pictures in the sand

Wet sand makes a perfect medium for independent games like hopscotch or multiplayer activities such as tic-tac-toe. Sometimes, these simple and easy-to-play games are the perfect way to encourage a little autonomous playtime — or allowing siblings to quietly play together — while you prepare lunch, catch up on your reading, or pack/unpack for the day.

Becoming modern-day pirates

Searching for hidden treasure while spending the day at the beach couldn’t be a better themed or immersive activity for your kids. There’s no real right or wrong way to do this, as most parents simply utilize items found at the beach for their child’s hidden treasures, requiring no extra prep, unless you’d like to incorporate items from home.

Things such as a wide variety of shells, shark teeth, and beach glass serve as authentic keepsakes for your kiddos at the end of their hunt. As a bonus, those keepsakes cost nothing and often are more prized than something purchased at a gift shop.

Nina Buday/shutterstock

Exploring foreign waters

Each beach setting has its own host of plants and animals, all with their own unique habitat formed and molded specifically to house their occupants. When the fun of splashing in the water has worn off, now could be a great time to take a walk and go exploring and seek out animal habitats you may not usually get to experience. (But beware, animals should not be disturbed; use your eyes only to observe.)

Practicing for the big leagues

Playing catch on the beach is a more traditional approach to beach-time activities, but many kids — and parents alike — enjoy tossing a ball or Frisbee around to pass the time. This is especially true for a sports enthusiast looking to incorporate a mild practice session in while still enjoying a different view and company. Summer-themed catch sets are a fun way to spice up a more old-school game played in the sand.

More beach fun

A few more improved yet traditional beach activities include:

  • Building a sandcastle: While this seems like a dull and played-out option, parents may consider packing a few of their child’s favorite toys, such as action figures, dolls, or toy cars, to add to their magnificent creation. This creates a bit of personality and character to the display, boosting your child’s creativity.
  • Flying a kite: Having a kite softly floating on the steady beach breeze is very much a rite of passage for kids and parents alike. Flying a kite at the beach is more than just tossing it in the air, and parents can make this as personal as they choose. Purchasing a DIY kite kit, or even a partial one that requires a little assembly, will go a long way to strengthen your child’s desire to fly their very own kite near the waving waters.

From new age to traditional, our list contains what we hope to be a super-fun and exciting array of activities to try with your children at your next beach excursion. While parents understand these types of trips are meant to expend their children’s energy and incite their excitement, it’s also all right to request that your child spend time reading, resting, eating, and relaxing while digging their toes into the soft sand.

Staying hydrated, resting when needed, replenishing their stores of energy, and being okay at rest are important things to allow your child to experience, as well, especially when surrounded by some of the most beautiful sights in the world. So grab your sandals and your swimsuits, and hit the road with your 9-year-old partner in crime for an epic beach trip they won’t soon forget.

Emily Pidgeon
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Emily's work has appeared in the Tube City Almanac, Tube City Online and our Affinity Sites. When she's not writing, she is…
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