My kids love the beach, but when the ocean water is too cold or the waves are too rough, sometimes, admittedly, they get bored. We love to build sand castles and throw a frisbee, but during our recent trip to Florida, I learned a few new beach activities and also remembered some old activities I use to love as a kid at the beach. Here are 5 not-so-common activities that we use to keep our kids curious, exploring and definitely not bored at the beach!
1.Shark Teeth Hunting
Last month in Florida, one of our restaurant servers told us about a stretch of beach that is perfect for shark teeth hunting. We made the trek out to the location and found a few, but once we started finding them, we realized that they were all over ALL of the beaches. We learned to look for small, sharp black objects at the tide lines – where the waves crash – at low tide. Sometimes we had to move sand and small shells around with our hands. We found dozens and the kids spent hours searching! Here are some more tips on finding shark teeth with your kids at the beach!
When I was a kid, we always spent one evening on our beach vacation crabbing. Basically we’d talk to the locals to find a good crabbing spot and then bring chicken necks, tie them around a string, a big dip net and a cooler and we would crab for hours. Sometimes we’d get dozens…other times just a few – but we’d always purchase more crab to compensate at a local fish stand and then enjoy an epic family crab boil for dinner that night. Here‘s a fun guide for crabbing with your kids.
Of course, shell hunting is always a favorite beach activity – but I also love to challenge my kids to make beautiful and unique shell mandalas. This can be addictive for parents too. You can create the mandalas in the sand or bring them home and create a stunning piece of art. You could even get into the science, math, and symbolism of mandalas for a great cultural lesson. Here‘s another resource for creating shell mandalas with your kids.
My girls and I haven’t done a lot of geocaching, but my niece and nephew love it and my girls love anything their cousins love – so we’re excited to try it more this summer! Geocaching consists of hunting for and finding hidden objects by means of GPS coordinates posted on a website and it can be done anywhere in the world. Just getting started? Here‘s a good geocaching guide.
5.Coquina collecting (& cooking)
Coquinas are small, pretty, little clams that bury themselves in the sand along the beach-fronts. My sister-in-law shared that her grandmother use to keep the kids occupied on the beach by telling them to collect a bucket of coquinas for coquina soup. Apparently, they never collected enough and so she thought the soup was just a bit of family folklore – but we decided to give it a try with our kids this spring and they were quite successful at filling their bucket! So we found a soup recipe and enjoyed our first ever coquina soup. Collecting coquinas was an all day beach challenge that my girls loved. They enjoyed the soup too. Below, I’ve shared the recipe we used.
What do you love to do with your kids at the beach? Please share in the comments and happy beach hunting, cooking or creating!
- 2 gallons coquina clams
- 1/4 lb salt pork
- 6 medium potatoes
- 2 large onions
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- half and half
- black pepper
- Wash the live coquina, throwing out any that have opened, and place them into a stock pot. Barely cover with water, bring to a boil, and steam for 10 minutes or so, or until all the clams have opened.
- Strain out the liquid, throwing the shells and tiny meats away.
- In a stock pot, fry the salt pork until it is browned and some of the grease has cooked out. Sauté the onion for 5 or 6 minutes.
- Add the clam broth, potatoes, parsley, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to very low, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Thicken to taste with a little half and half.
- Serve in bowls, along with plenty of crusty hot bread.