Beach Day Fun Lesson Plans for Early Childhood!
Beach Day Blast!
Hey Everyone welcome to my Day at the Beach Preschool themed unit, which has all you need to create a fun and educational Beach experience in your preschool classroom.
As it is finally starting to feel like summer around here I have gotten the itch to do some summer themes. To start off with, I am doing a Beach theme. Why? First of all, when I think Summer, I think of going to the Beach. In fact, last week my family and I were on a stay-cation. A stay cation is where we couldn’t go any where far because of my Father in law, so we explored places in our area. We still had a blast and even got to explore a local beach in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. We had an amazing hour, just before we started to see lightning and decided it was time to head for home. Beaches however make for some awesome lesson plans. Here are some of the ideas I had as we had a blast at the beach.
Sand Art Sea Shell Necklaces:
These fun colorful shells make for an easy addition to our Beach day Blast lesson plans. I found this project on Oriental Trading.com. I preferred this sand art projects to the others I found there, because it allowed for more flexibility with color choices. The project was easy for little hands because we used funnels to help with the poring of the sand. They liked this project because they got to wear their project home.
I had the students take turns coming over during free play so that I could work with them one one one. Make sure to have a box top to poor the sand over, so that I might be able to reuse the sand later for other projects. Then I have them unscrew the cover, which works on fine motor skills. Then I show them how we can put the funnel in to help us fill the sea shell. After the shell has been filled, I quickly put a layer of hot glue on the cover and then sealed it. I did this to prevent them from opening and closing the sea shells multiple times, to also prevent spills.
Beachy Fun Sea Shell Prints:
This fun Beach activity incorporates sea shells for the letter S and texture for the sensory aspect. For this project you will need:
- Sea Shells with deep textures.
- Sand colored paper
This simple project allows students to explore an item from the beach, and use it in a creative way to create art. I have them paint the back of the sea shells the side with the deep textures. Then rock them back and forth on the paper to create prints. You can also use the edges of the sea shell to create prints also. I like to use blues and greens if I am going with the colors of the water. Otherwise if you want to go with the more natural colors of the shells you could do pink and orange.
Beach Sand Paper Prints
This great Beach learning activity is super simple and really gives a creative sand art affect.
- Course Sand paper
- light colored paper, preferably construction paper.
- Regular crayons (not washable: they don’t work as well)
- An old Iron
First preheat the iron to a low heat. Next, I give each student a piece of sand paper and let them color rough side of the sand paper. Encourage them to color hard, and color most of the construction paper. After they have finished have them bring it to you to complete the project. I lay the towel down on a table. Place sand paper face up. Lay the light colored paper on top, then gently place the iron on the paper and move it back and forth. After about 15 seconds, check a corner to see if it transferred to the paper, if not keep heating for a few more seconds. Once the image has transferred, you can peel the paper off and you have an awesome textural image that was creating using the texture of the sand.
Salt vs. Fresh Water Experiment
This Beach themed science experiment can be used to help teach the scientific method. It can also be used to expose them to the scientific terms of buoyancy.
- Two Jars
- Measuring Cups
- items to test floating
- Sliced potatoes
- Sliced Carrots
- raw eggs
Fill one jar with fresh water, fill the second jar with salt water. Then let the kids take turns testing the various items in the water. This makes a great center, that the kids could kind of do on their own, with little supervision.
Sand Dollar Science
I start out by reading, “We can go to the Beach”
After that I hold up a sand dollar, and I ask if any one knows what it is. Then I discuss what a sand dollar is. That it is an animal. Then I watch this great video from PBS with them. Then I break one open and show the three small bones on the inside of the sand dollar. If you get enough they each could try to break their own open.
Another great book to read with this would be, “The Legend of the Sand Dollar.”
Counting Bucket of Shells:
How to create a bucket of shells center:
- Buy small plastic buckets, with shovels if desired.
- Write Numbers on each bucket with a black Sharpie, or use foam sticker numbers.
- Buy Shells from the Dollar Tree.
- Have the kids count out the number of shells that is on each bucket.
Graphing our Favorite Beach Activity:
For this I make a graphing Chart either using Chart Paper, a large piece of construction paper, or a small one that I print off from the computer. I have provided a link to a free printable of one I used in my classroom. Some activities that you might want to include would be things like, swimming, building a sand castle, playing with a beach ball, being buried in the sand, or looking for sea shells. I use pictures to represent each of the activities when ever possible. Finally, I ask the kids which is their favorite activity and color it in as they respond during circle time.
Another option, would be to have this activity as part of their sign in activity. When they first arrive, I had them find their name and sign in, or write their name depending on the time of year. In this case I would place the chart right next to the sign-in chart and have a crayon next to it. This way they can color in their choice when they come in. I find this also gets them thinking about our theme first thing in the morning.
Patterning Sea Shells
Once again the Dollar Store comes to the rescue. Their variety of shells they have in the mixture of sea shells lends itself well to patterning. I use the shape of the shells to make a pattern, then they can add to the pattern using the real shells. I have a link to my Beautiful Beach Unit Work book that is on Teacher Pay Teacher. As a final activity for this unit in math, you may want to have them try to use the shells to create their own patterns.
Need: 3 different size buckets, 3 different size shells.
This very simple activity, involves placing buckets on the table, and the shells in a separate basket. The directions are sort the shells by size. Start by sorting the large shells into the large bucket, the medium shells in the medium bucket, and the small shells in the small bucket. I wrote the number of shells that should be in each bucket on the bottom of the bucket. That way when they are done sorting, they can count how many are in each bucket. Then they can see if they are correct by checking the number on the bottom of the bucket.https://i5.walmartimages.com/asr/c5284d31-36ba-4e2f-bfd0-98343cd27689_1.0734291e0f53115f94fc2a379393b4de.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF
Have the students take turns listening to the ocean by putting the conch shell up to their ear.
Sand with Sea Shells:
Place sand in your sensory table or box, and then add plastic shovels, sand toys, and sea shells to create your simple beach themed sensory table.
- Clear plastic bottles, preferably with out any ridges or bumps.
- Blue food coloring
- Baby Oil
- Hot glue
On your own: Fill the plastic bottle half full with water, add food coloring. Next poor the baby oil in to fill up the other half. Place hot glue on the rim of the bottle. Then quickly secure the cover on the bottle. Place duck tape, or packaging tape around the top to help make sure the bottle does not leak. Let settle, then gently tip the bottle on its side. Finally, slowly tilt one way and then the other. This should create a nice waves in the bottle.
Creating with kids: My suggestion would be to have bottle donations before hand. My other suggestions would be to have funnels, a baby pool and lots of baby oil and food coloring. I did this during free play time, and asked them to come one at a time to make their wave bottles. I had them stand in the pool and poor the water, the pool was empty to start with. The pool was just there to help catch any water that over flowed or baby oil. It was easier to clean out.
Sand writing can be used as a sensory game, or as a group activity, or as a center. To create that Beach like feel. I have each student bring in a shoe box. Then I fill each box with sand to create about a half inch layer. I give each kid our letters for this week, B, S, O, and we practice using our fingers to write the letters in the sand. It is a great sensory way to teach the letters for the week.
Need: Cardboard, small Elmer’s glue bottles, sand: colored or plain, a Sharpie.
Sand names works on the skill of writing their names, letter recognition, and also works with the senses because of the sand. You can also used this activity to work with shapes, or numbers.
- Use a fat Sharpie to write the name or shape I want my students to practice on cardboard. ( I use the cardboard to make it sturdy enough to hold the weight of the sand.)
- Next, I give each of them a small Elmer’s glue bottle, and we practice tracing the shape or our names with glue.
- Then we shake sand on top.
- Once the glue has dried a little you can help them to dump off the excess sand.
Sand S’s, Beach Ball Stickers for the letter B
I loved to have the kids decorate the letter for the week with items that begin with that letter. Some were hard to come up with, but generally I could always find something to use. Then at the end of the year I would put all their letters into an alphabet book. It was an awesome way to incorporate sounds, texture, and visual appeal to the letters. For the letter S I used Sand, and for B I used Beach ball stickers.
- Print out Large letter S’s or B’s
- glue if using sand
- Box covers if using sand
- Sand or Beach Ball stickers
Give each student a letter sheet. Then have them stick the beach balls on the letter B. If you are choosing to do the letter S, then have them spread Elmer’s glue all over the letter S. Encourage them to stay in side the lines. Then place their picture in the box cover, and have them poor sand onto the letter S. After it has dried slightly you can dump off the excess sand and you have a sandy S. Yeah!!!!
Packing for the Beach
This activity I like to do to work on list making with my students. It is a fun way to get them to imagine what they need for the beach, or create a list for a field trip to the Beach.
I start out the activity by reading a book about going to the beach like, “Froggy goes to the Beach.” Then we talk about some things that Froggy brought to the beach, which leads into the conversation of writing a list of what we would need if we went to the beach, or what we need to take with us, for our field trip to the beach. This also makes them feel responsible for their own field trip.
The Story of the Crossing of the Red Sea
Exodus 13: 17-22
This is the story of Moses freeing the people of Israel from the Egyptians. Just as the Egyptians decide that they are going to try to recapture the Israelites, God divides the red sea so that the Israelites can walk across on dry land. Then God proceeds to destroy the Israelite enemies.
After telling the story, I put out a plastic box with about 2 inches of water in it, and challenge them to try to divide the water and make dry ground. After a few tries, we discuss that this was a miracle: a thing that shouldn’t have happened on its own, but did so in an unexplained way, only by the hand of God.
- Plastic Box
As a second activity, I tend to have the kids act out the story. They love to dress up like the Israelites. Then get two blue cloths or blankets and lay them on the floor. Then I designate two kids to be the Red Sea, one student to be Moses and a few to be the Egyptians and the rest are the Israelites.
When Moses parts the water, I have the two who are the Red Sea, pull apart the blankets to reveal the floor or the dry ground. Then the Israelites run through. After the Israelites are through, I have the Egyptians go after them. The Red Sea (two students) throws the blankets over the Egyptians to “drown” them. Then Moses and the Israelites praise God by building a tower with rocks. (I used blocks, or cut up pool noodles)
- Blue blankets or cloth (large)
- a Moses Costume ( A large stick or staff, a white towel for his head and some string. a brown cloth to go over the shoulders, and a rope to wrap around his waiste.
- Israelite costumes (Similar to Moses)
- Egyptian costumes ( White cloths for over their shoulders with ropes to tie around their wastes.)
- Blocks, or cut up pool noodles.
You don’t really need the costumes, it just makes it more fun and engaging for the kids. Once I even video taped them. We then watched it together and had a popcorn movie day. The kids really loved it.
Need: Beach Towels, Buckets, shovels, Beach Balls, a beach Umbrella beach chairs if you have room, a picnic basket, sun glasses, Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, baseball hats, big brimmed hats, sun screen bottles, flip flops, and sunglasses.
Let the kids recreate all their favorite activities at a day at the Beach.
Beach Ball Catch:
This Beach Activity is very simple and pretty cheap. I went to the dollar tree and bought a beach ball for each student. Then I have them practice catching with a beach ball. This is great for little hands because it works on the skills of catching and throwing.
For this field trip I usually just brought sand toys, bug jars and nets. I didn’t always feel safe taking the kids to the beach alone. If you have enough aids, or parents coming, you could do swimming as well. That is up to your comfort level. If you do, my suggestion would be to make sure to go somewhere that has a life guard on duty.
For this Beach themed class, I try to find a life guard who can come speak about their job, and about water safety. If you are going to go on a field trip to a beach, maybe see if one of their life guards can come speak to your class a day or so before to prepare your students for safety at the beach.
As an activity to go with this you could have them draw posters of the different rules we have at the beach, and they could hang them up in the dramatic play center. All you need is markers, paper, and an imagination. I usually wrote the rules on the posters after they were done creating. That way everyone even the parents would know what rule each student was trying to convey.
Beaches, like every where else, have rules. We talk about rules in different places, such as restaurants, grocery stores, parks, and even beaches. We then talk about why we have rules. I try to get them to guess before I tell them. I find often kids know there are rules, but if they don’t like a rule they just break it. They do so because they don’t understand why we have the rule.
Then we discuss different rules at different places and why they might make those rules. We even discuss our rules in the classroom, and why we have them. Finally, I end with why we have rules at beaches, and discuss some reasons for the rules beaches have.
My last question that I ask is why do we follow rules? The answers I am looking for include, for our safety. For the safety of others or others’ things. The main reason I look for is because we show love for God when we follow the rules that in place over us, because He has placed people over us to protect us, like teachers, parents, police officers, and our Government.
Sand Snack cups:
Need: Vanilla pudding cups, graham crackers, zip lock baggies, and plastic spoons.
Kids version: Give each student a vanilla pudding cup and a zip lock baggie with one graham cracker in it. Let the students crush the graham crackers in the baggie and dump it on top of the opened pudding cup. Finally, add the plastic spoon as the shovel.
Big Version: Dollar store plastic buckets that have been washed out well. A plastic shovel, also washed out well. You will also need zip lock baggies, a family size boxed pudding mix, milk, and graham crackers.
Make the vanilla pudding according to the directions on the box. Then have the students help crush one package of graham crackers. Place the pudding into the bucket. Have the students dump the crushed graham crackers on top of the pudding. Then let the students use the shovel to help serve the pudding snack in little plastic cups.
Need: Blue Jello boxed mix, water, Sweedish Fish, whipped cream, green fruit roll ups, clear small plastic cups.
Make the jello according to directions put about 1/2 cup of jello into each cup. Let set for about 5 minutes. Add the Sweedish Fish to the mixture so they look like they are swimming. then you can rip the green fruit roll ups into strips to make sea weed. Use a plastic knife to help insert the fruit roll up strips into the gelatin mixture. Let set for a while longer, and then add the whip cream on top to be the white wave caps on the ocean.
Need: Goldfish Crackers
Give a cup full of goldfish to each student, and then as they are eating ask them to create different size (schools) of fish. An example would be, ” can you make a school of fish with 6 fish?” Then walk around and see how they are doing on their counting. Keep changing it up by simply changing the numbers. I usually start small and build my way up to schools of ten or twelve.