Sensory Play at the Beach

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I’ve been wanting to write this blog post since this summer but life has gotten in the way and I’m just now sitting down to do it. I was shocked as I watched Baby D playing at the beach this past summer that I had never considered the beach itself as a sensory experience. He had so much fun exploring and kept us on our toes! Here are a few ways you can create fun sensory experiences for your little one on your next beach trip.

  1. Collect seashells. Let your little one feel the different textures (smooth, rough, etc) and compare sizes, shapes, and colors
  2. Play in the sand. Build sand castles (and allow them to demolish them!) Experiment with wet and dry sand. Teach them to build drip castles. Use a sifter and watch the smaller pieces sift out and the larger pieces remain.
  3. Splash! We bring a kiddie pool so Baby D can splash in and out of it without fear of getting knocked over by a wave. He enjoys the independence of getting in and out of the pool on his own.
  4. Play in tidal pools. Tidal pools are an incredible sensory experience! Look at the fish and other sea life that call the pool their home. Feel the water temperature change when a wave comes bringing in a splash of cooler water. Allow your toddler to run and splash in the pool.
  5. Catch (and release!) minnows. Our friend’s teenage daughter caught some shiners in a casting net and put them in a bucket for Baby D. He delighted in watching the fish and trying to pet one. We then let him do the honors of releasing them back to the sea.
  6. Swim! He held onto Baby D and let him swim with us. He loved it!
  7. Go on a walk and explore! D loved walking on the beach and exploring the new environment. We let him feel the seaweed, chase seagulls, and find “treasures.”

I have always loved the beach but watching D learn to love it made my heart swell bigger than the waves! It’s incredible how much learning occurred on what was meant to be a recreational trip.

Safety Tips:

  • Never leave your child unattended near any water, especially at the beach!
  • Use sunscreen and protective clothing
  • If your child is still putting things in his/her mouth be mindful of choking hazards like small shells

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