Forget the sunbathing, have fun!

Summer is the perfect time to hit the beach, but you might want to do a little more than the average sunbathing and wading with your kids. Here are some really fun activities that you can do to createsome wonderful mies. Don't forget your camera!

kids on the beachCredit: jackiembarr1. Write a note.

Take a minute to write out a love note to your kids or even just their names in the sand. They can decorate the letters with shells and rocks. Then take a picture so you'll have a lasting memory.

2. Build a boat.

Find some small pieces of driftwood or bark and make your own boats. It's helpful to bring some string so you can tie it to the boats and then have a race along the edge of the water . . . but no cheating, they can't pull the rope unless the boat is floating out to sea!

3. Build a sandcastle. 

This is a pretty standard thing to do at the beach, so it can't be left off a list like this! Bring old ice cream and yogurt containers of varying sizes to help make the various parts of the sandcastle. Little cocktail drink umbrellas and swords are also handy for decorating your castle, just remember to pick up after yourselves.

4. Go deep sea diving. 

Not really, but your children will feel like they are with this fun activity! Bring some glass jars with you to the beach, the longer the better. Wade out into the water, then put the jar in the water without filling it . . . you'll have a looking glass to the sea bottom! If you want to get an even closer look, try fitting a section of PVC pipe with a glass bottom before leaving. 

5. Collect some sand. 

This is a great thing to do if you are visiting different beaches. Give kids a baby food or jam jar and let them fill it with sand. They can add layers of pebbles, sea glass or shells for an even more interesting look. Don't forget to label the jars!

6. Fly a kite.

Don't go with just any kite, though! Beaches are the perfect place to fly a two handed kite that you can actually steer through the sky. This can be a lot of fun for older kids, but little ones will prefer to fly a normal kite and watch you twist yours around. 

7. Take a bike ride. 

Riding on the sand is hard, but it's a lot of fun if you have a beach with hard packed sand! Take a spin and you'll see a lot more than if you were just walking the beach. Some places even rent out beach bikes. 

Skipping rope with kelpCredit: mikebaird

8. Skip rope. 

Kelp can be found on many beaches and you can have a blast skipping rope with it, or simply whipping the long strands through the air as if they were a whip. Or, try making some letters with the pieces or a picture.

9. Find treasures.

Beachcombing is an age old activity that kids will love. If you can get your hands on a metal detector, you'll find that it can be a lot of fun! Don't forget some shovels so kids can dig up suspicious areas. 

10. Go body surfing.

Teach your children to body surf the waves that are coming in. This is a lot of fun, though most suitable for kids 6 and up. They face the beach, crouch down and launch themselves when a wave comes so it can carry them up to the beach. 

sandy feetCredit: MyAngelG

11. Guess the waves.

Have kids put sticks where they think the next wave will come to. Then see who got the closest. It 
can be a fun way to have a competition and while you're waiting for waves to come in, make some squishy footprints in the wet sand.

12. Check out a tide pool. 

Rocky beaches will have some interesting tide pools once the tide goes out. Time your visit so you can enjoy the myriad of tiny life that is left in these pools. Kids can see anemones up close, tiny fish and crabs.

13. Leave your mark.

Build a little tower of rocks or arrange some driftwood into special shape to let other people know you were here. This can become a family tradition and next time, you can check to see if your memorial is still standing.

14. Have a campfire cookout.

Many beaches allow fires in specific areas, so find one of these and have a nice hot dog cookout. Kids will love to roast marshmallows once they've gotten chilled in the ocean or lake and there's nothing as awesome as sitting and munching something you've cooked yourself on a stick, while wrapped in a towel and covered in sand. 

15. Feed the birds. 

This is best done right before you leave the beach, since the birds won't leave you alone afterward. Bring some stale bread and toss it up to the seagulls. They'll soon be swarming around, which can be very exciting!