Beach play is a premier activity at Jekyll Island. Swimming, shelling, and just lazing in the sand, reading your book of choice (or dozing, like me!), are a few of the traditional beach games you can participate in on Jekyll Island's wide, flat, uncrowded beaches, but those beaches are also perfect for pursuing creative beach play activities.
When it comes to kids, they're usually happy to entertain themselves on the beach. But sometimes, more organized pursuits are just the thing to top off a great family beach vacation. Of course, make sure any game involving small children and played at the surf line is supervised by a responsible adult. And slather on the sun block often!
Here are some of our favorite beach games for kids of all ages.
These beach games are lots of fun for pre-teens, teens, young adults and adults. Smaller kids ("hatchlings", as they're called by the folks at the Georgia Sea Turtle Center), can participate, with adult supervision (and a planned activity level that takes into account that they are small kids!).
We've had a lot of fun with family and friends playing together, and sometimes with just pick-up games with fellow vacationers.
Beach Touch Football -
Fun Fact - Beach football can get interesting, depending on which way the wind is blowing. Pass into the wind, the ball barely goes anywhere. Pass with the wind behind you, you'll feel like Payton Manning! The ball will travel a mile.
Volleyball beach play can be as structured or as loosey-goosey as you want to make it.
Disk Games -
Flying disk beach play is a lot of fun, great exercise (don't tell the kids they're getting health benefits from beach games!), and great for everyone.
Kick Ball -
Played just like regular kickball. Make sure to use a rubber ball, not a soccer ball, as sand and salt water will damage a soccer ball. Of course, an old soccer ball will do.
Pirate Treasure Scavenger Hunt -
Most kids can play this game. For hatchlings, limit the playing area, or pair off with an older kid or adult.
Capture the Flag -
A wonderful team-oriented beach play game.
A delightful beach play game, suitable for all age groups.
Tug-o-war Beach Play -
A test of skill and strength.
We've found that the less structured beach play games are, the more fun they are (Rules? We don' need no stinkin' rules!).
Also, the more water incorporated into your beach play, the better! Anything that can be played on dry sand can be played at the surf line.
Or, for a real challenge, play any of the ball games mentioned above in loose, deep beach sand instead of on the flat, compacted beach. That will give you a workout!
Beach Play for 2 to 4 Folks -
Great for families or a small group of friends.
Just mark off a double line on the beach (with about 5' between the lines) for a net, face off, and play some tennis. Mini-tennis is best, and creates a quicker, more intense game, especially if you're playing doubles.
Kite Flying Challenge -
Get everyone a kite, and square off in a flying competition. See who can do the most tricks (if you're using performance kites), or have a race. Who can be the first to get their kite up, fly it to the end of their string, keep it in the air for 5 minutes, and bring it back down safely.
Sand Castle Competition -
See who can build the best sand castle. Or the biggest. Or create an entire sand castle village.
Can be played several ways, as traditional marbles (where you try to knock other marbles from a circle), or whatever your creative mind can come up with. See who can get the most marbles closest to a line drawn in the sand; see who can roll the most into a hole dug in the sand; etc.); Cherokee Marbles
Bury Dad -
Of course little hatchlings will love this. They get to pile sand on Dad! And Dad will love it, as he gets to lay down and rest on the beach.
Artistic Expression -
Have your kids create sculptures or pictures on the beach. Designate materials, or let their imaginations run wild, using anything they can find to make their most creative beach play art.
Digging Holes -
Little kids love to just dig in the sand. See who can dig the deepest in a set time.
Beach Mini-golf -
Create an abbreviated version of a miniature golf course on the beach. Play just like regular mini-golf. Create hazards (sand traps shouldn't be a problem!), twisting fairways, and "green" areas. Depending on your time and talent, you can make it a short course, or a full 18 hole masterpiece. Good for kids or adults.
You'll need some kind of clubs and balls, whether the real McCoy, or improv stuff (sticks and rubber balls, say, or even rocks). Remember, unstructured is the most fun!
Soak Dad -
This beach play game is good for lots of laughs.
Beach Survivor -
Create your own Family Survivor Competition beach play game!
These are just a few of the imaginative, competitive beach play games you can enjoy on the beach. Creativity goes a long way, and unstructured play rules! Plus, anything that has kids vs. Dad will be fun, especially (controlled) rough-house play in the surf! Soak Dad! Dunk Dad! Wrestle Dad! Splash Dad! It's all good. Who would ever guess I raised two boys?