Summer is just around the corner, and that ocean is calling! Warm sand, blue waves, maybe a barbecue — what more could you ask for? When the sun kicks on and the weekend hits, it’s time to grab your flip-flops, sunscreen, and games and take the family to the beach. Below is a list of some fun games to play with your kids at the beach that don’t cost any extra money, don’t require any prior setup, and are easy to learn!

Alt Text: A boy and his dog play in the sand at the beach with the ocean and sky in the background.

7 games to play at your next beach party

Water bucket race (fill the hole)

This game is super simple and tons of fun!

Number of players: 2 to 4

What you’ll need:

  • a bucket or cup (if you don’t have either of those, you can use your cupped hands)
  • a shovel

How to play:

Each player or team digs a hole in the sand. If making teams, have no more than 2 players per team, or else it’ll get too crowded and injuries could occur.

Players will start at their respective holes with their buckets. When Mom says, “1, 2, 3, GO!” players will run to the ocean, fill their buckets with water, then run back to the hole and dump their water into it.

The first player to fill their hole to the top with water wins!

Limbo

Number of players: at least 4

What you’ll need:

  • a stick (at least three feet long)
  • a stereo or phone to play music

How to play:

This game is its most fun when there is music to dance to, so pick something fun! Since the game of Limbo originated in Trinidad, some fun Caribbean music would be fitting.

Two people will hold the stick steady at about shoulder height. The other players will form a line in front of the stick.

One at a time, players will walk under the stick. They may not bend forward, only backwards.

If a player touches the stick, they are out. If they fall, they are out. A fall constitutes any part of the body other than the feet or hair touching the ground.

Once every player has gone under the bar once, the bar is lowered a little bit. After every round, the bar is lowered even more.

The last player standing wins!

Buried in the Sand

Number of players: 2 to 4 (artist(s) and the one who becomes the art)

What you’ll need:

  • sand
  • a guardian nearby

How to play:

Dig a hole that is longer than it is deep. This hole should be deep enough to completely fit a person from shoulders to feet. Do not dig the hole too deep or the sand may be too heavy at the end!

One player sits in the hole while the other covers them back up with sand, leaving the neck and head exposed.

Once the player is fully submerged in sand, the “artist” will use their amazing sculpting skills to turn the submerged player into a beautiful piece of art. (Popular options are mermaid or body-builder.)

This game has no winner or real “rules”. Once the artist is done, the buried player jumps out of the sand, washes off in the ocean, then the roles are reversed.

Catch/Pass

Number of players: at least 2

What you’ll need:

  • Frisbee, soccer ball, football, baseball and gloves, or some other sort of ball

How to play:

Photo courtesy Jacub Gomez, pixels.com

Have the players stand a good bit apart so they have enough room to pass the ball around.

The player with the ball throws or kicks it to another player. Once Player 2 is in possession, they throw it to another player.

This game has no official “winner,” but it is a time-honored way to facilitate conversation and create lasting memories.

Treasure Hunt (Sea Shells, seaweed, plastic bottle, etc)

Number of players: Unlimited

What you’ll need:

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Great detective skills

How to play:

The parent will write a list of “beach treasures” for the players to find. Beach treasures may include common objects you may find at the beach (e.g., big shells, bottles, seaweed, crabs, a cave, beach steps, etc.)

Players will each get a copy of the list or they may work as a team and find the objects together.

If playing against another player, the first one to find all the treasure, wins! If playing alone or as a team, once all the treasures are found, you win!

Alt Text: Two toddlers hold hands as they run towards the ocean.

Tug of War

Number of players: Unlimited

What you’ll need:

  • A rope or strong cord of some sort

How to play:

Split off into teams. Teams should be equal in numbers. Draw a line in the sand to mark the midway point between the two teams. Each team must take their respective sides.

Sand Tic Tac Toe

Number of players: 2

What you’ll need:

  • Sand
  • A finger, stick, or other utensil to draw in the sand

How to play:

Draw a # symbol in the sand. It is best to find damp sand, but dry sand also works fine. Remove any shells, rocks, or debris from the area.

Player 1 will always be “X”, making Player 2 “O”. “X” will begin by drawing an “X” in one of the nine quadrants.

Next, Player 2 will make an “O” in any of the remaining quadrants.

The first player to make a straight row of 3 either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally wins the game!

If nobody wins, this is called a “Cat’s Game” and it ends in a draw.

Enjoy your time in the sun!

These are just a few of the classic beach party games that have stood the test of time. Beach trips with the family are sure to create lasting memories, strengthen bonds between siblings, friends, and parents, and have a lot of fun in the process!

If a rainy day ruins your beach party, don’t fret! You’ll find plenty of party venues near you. Why not decorate your party venue with a tropical theme to keep the spirit of summer alive?