If you’re heading to the beach and looking for fun things to do, this scavenger hunt is such a fun activity for the kids and family!
In addition to relaxing and playing, the beach is a wonderful place for inspiring curiosity and sharpening observation skills too. There are so many hidden discoveries (and some in plain sight) just waiting to be found.
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With both of us growing up near the beach, visiting coastal areas all around the world, and our 12+ marine biology teaching background, you’d think we’ve seen it all — but we’re still amazed at the discoveries the beach holds!
In our Scavenger Hunt, we’ve included a selection of discoveries of animals & nature as well as “people stuff” too, since we’re borrowing the habitat of coastal wildlife.
This also can inspire eco-friendly actions and conservation for our environment, especially if you incorporate the extension suggestions toward the end of the post.
You can download and print the file and bring it to the beach (recycle afterward), or you can load it on your phone to have it digitally.
One important tip to emphasize before starting is to make sure everyone steers clear of the sand dunes. Walking on the dunes can speed up erosion of the beach, especially where the plant roots hold the sand together.
We like to call sand dunes the super heroes of the beach, as they protect the land by providing a barrier during strong storms and help hold the habitat together:
Of course, some items on the list will be easier to find than others, and you may find more or less on different days as the beach is always changing.
There may be items on the list that need to be looked up if you’re not familiar with them. Things like:
A skate egg case:
Or an urchin spine & what the whole animal looks like:
Or what the different beach safety flags mean:
This activity also might inspire questions, like “What is coral?” and “What is sea foam made of?” We’ll help you out on those:
- Coral is a tiny animal that makes a hard foundation. Together with its colony, it builds huge reefs that many fish live around. The colony of thousands of individual animals looks like a rock from far away, but up close they each look like a tiny sea anemone.
- Sea foam is whipped algae (tiny microscopic cells that make food from the sun like plants) and protein that turn into a foamy lather due to the blender action of the wind and waves.
- FYI, if it hasn’t been very windy or wavy, there might not be much sea foam.
This activity is a great way to teach kids about human impact and conservation too. A walk on the beach searching for plastic or trash and picking it up (so that it doesn’t get eaten by an unsuspecting seabird or tangled around a baby sea turtle’s neck) can make a big difference.
Plastic is a big problem for the ocean, so much in fact that it’s found in the majority of ocean animals’ bellies since it looks so much like their food. This would be a great opportunity to dive into plastic pollution, or even make an art project using cleaned trash collected at the beach.
To extend the learning, here are some ideas:
- Make an art project out of cleaned trash from the beach
- View our Ocean Importance Infographic and Ocean Importance Video (two separate posts)
- Encourage conservation with our simple sustainable seafood activities
- Bring your beach walks to life with our simple identification field guide card (Florida Gulf Coast oriented, but many findings can be found elsewhere too)
- For a more in depth look at uncovering beach mysteries, we love the Florida’s Living Beaches field guide by the Witheringtons
- Read our growing collection of ocean themed children’s books that are packed with fun adventures, colorful artwork, and learning
- Explore lots more ocean activities on our website!
We hope that you find this Scavenger Hunt to be a fun and enriching experience for the whole family. Feel free to add to the list and continue the curiosity. There’s so much to discover!
Oh, and we’d love for you to share your exciting beach finds with us via social media! We’d be glad to help try and ID any unknown critters too. Simply tag us on Instagram or Facebook at @livingporpoisefully.
Safe travels and best fishes,
Disclaimer: All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies). Observe caution and safety at all times. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.