Oceanside Sensory Activities for Kids

How to pack and plan for easy seaside sensory fun with kids!

Q got to spend a weekend with his cousins at the shore and it was his first time around others kids in almost 16 weeks!

His first reaction was an ear to ear smile and it completely melted my heart. We’d been having so much fun lately with our sensory play I thought it would be fun to pack up some activities for the kids to do together at the shore!

I knew I wanted to keep the beach play easy to set up in under 5 minutes, pack items to spark imagination, and pack items that would span interest across many ages! I also wanted to pack materials to use in the morning before the beach and on the beach.

I love reusing play materials so I went through our sensory storage bins to develop my pack list for the beach.

Here’s my pack list:

-Dyed Rice
-Colored Chickpeas
-Play Dough
-Treasure Chest & Coins
-Sand Slime
-Ubbi Stacking Lighthouse Cups
-Trays + Tools
-Peg Dolls
-Play Dough Stamps

Dyed Rice

We use tons of dyed rice in our sensory play and it often can be a little messy indoors, so reusing some of our dyed rice was perfect for the beach! The fun surprise is when you add in water the food coloring starts to soak off the rice and turn the water the color of the rice! I chose to bring blue rice to make some ocean & lagoon trays!

How to make dyed rice:

1 1/2 cups rice ( I use jasmine rice)
1 tbsp white vinegar
Gel food coloring (just a little bit!)

Mix in a reusable container ( or in a ziplock bag) and spread on a baking sheet to dry, about 20 minutes.

Colored Chickpeas

Chickpeas have been another sensory favorite and they’re just so pretty! We’d been using them a lot at home and I thought these would fit well into our beachside play.

How to make colored chickpeas:

Two 1 lb bags of dried chickpeas
Tempera Paint

Separate the dried chickpeas into three containers (or ziplock bags). Squeeze in a few drops of tempera paint (I used blue, turquoise, and purple.) Mix very well and spread on parchment paper covered baking sheet. Dries in about 30 minutes!

Play Dough

I love making home made play dough. I can’t believe I only recently started making it but I am totally hooked!! It’s so easy, soft, AND taste safe(just in case!). Made with all organic ingredients so none of the yuckiness!

I decided to make mermaid play dough by mixing three colors together and adding glitter! I also brought some sand colored playdough that was dyed naturally with avocado pits.

How to make mermaid play dough:

1 Cup Flour
2 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/3 Cup Salt
1 Cup Water
1 tbsp Grapeseed Oil
Little Bit of Gel Food Coloring

Add flour, salt, cream of tartar, and grapeseed oil to a non stick pan over medium heat. Mix a little gel food coloring into 1 cup of water and add to the pan. Cook over medium constantly stirring until well incorporating the ingredients until smooth and the play dough completely pulls away from the pan. Then place on parchment paper to cool.

Repeat the recipe x3, using three different colors. I used mint, pink, and purple! Then I divided each color by three and rolled them into logs to twist them together to incorporate the colors. Once incorporated, but not completely mixed, i placed in air tight containers, topped with glitter and packed them away for the beach!

We used the play dough in so many ways both in the mornings at the house and at the beach. After playing with it a lot the colors will continue to mix together.

Treasure Chest & Coins

This was an awesome thrifty find, and perfect for some beach play! I found this little treasure box at Hobby Lobby for $4.99 and these “gold” coins for $0.29. They were on clearance from St. Patricks Day and the kids didn’t even notice the clover designs on them. I love a good thrifty find! One of the days I hid the treasure in the sand, we used the treasure on a pirate sand castle, hid and found items within the box, placed our found beach treasure within the box, seriously the uses were endless. This was one of the “bulkier” items to bring but so worth it!

Sand Slime

I knew I wanted to give sand slime a try and it was SO WEIRD !!! I loved every second of it and so did the kids! Q at 20 months old could care less but his cousins who are 4 and 7 LOVED it.

How to make sand slime:

1 Cup Sand
1 Cup Water
6 tsp psyllium husk

Mix together in a nonstick pan until boiling and stir out the clumps, cook for about 10 minutes until SLIMEY!

All natural ingredients and so much fun!

Ubbi Stacking Lighthouse, Trays, & Buckets

Stacking toys like this are so versatile and great for toddlers! Love this one since it’s beach themed and it nests so nicely in to itself. This was only the true “beach toy” I brought with us!

Pictured here are two metal trays, which were $5 each from target and we use these in play all the time! I love wooden sensory trays but these are great for messy place, light, and portable.

I found some little buckets from Hobby Lobby, brought a few spoons I scoured at a local supermarket which got a ton of great use each beach day!

Peg Dolls

I always see such cute peg dolls on etsy I decided to make some beach themed ones for our shore trip! I made a pirate due to go with our treasure play and a mermaid duo for our mermaid play!

Also you can see here I brought a little fishing net to throw down for an added element of fun!

I got the wooden peg dolls for under $4 for all of them, and used acrylic paints and paint pens to create them!

Play Dough Stamps

These are a thrifty craft! Just wine corks and wooden craft pieces that were under $5 from amazon! Easy enough for me to hot glue the wooden pieces to the wine corks. The girls loved these, and Q too! They took just minutes to make and I wasn’t worried about loosing them on the beach! Also something I wanted to factor in with what I was bringing!

Here are some of the invitations to play using just these few materials over days of fun!

Chickpea Mermaid Lagoon & Mermaid Play Dough Invitation to Play
Find the Buried Treasure Invitation to Play
Play Dough Star Fish and Dyed Rice Ocean Sensory Invitation to Play
Mermaid Play Dough Invitation to Play
Pirate Invitation to Play and Dyed Rice Lagoon

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