Heat of the summer is here — so it’s time to pack up and head to the beach! Although we know that you don’t need to psych your kids up about a beach trip, there are some great beachy reads and activities that will help mix a little learning into the fun. Here are some of our favorite beachy reads for preschoolers plus “pop-up” sensory learning activities that make for (cool) summer edventures!

(cool) beach books for preschoolers

The Rainbow Fishby Marcus Pfister is a beautifully illustrated lesson. Everyone could use a reminder that sharing what you love most is the right thing to do. This book builds on the idea that sharing makes you feel rewarded. (And what toddler doesn’t need a reminder about sharing?)

The Seashore Book by Charlotte Zolotow, illustrated by Wendell Minor is beautifully poetic. Even if you can’t go to the beach, you can imagine yourself there thanks to Zolotow’s sensory rich descriptions. The Seashore Book is the welcome mat in front of the library of poetry, loaded with imagery and simple similes. Encourage your children to read other poems and even to write their own.

Flotsam by David Wiesner is a Caldecott Medal winner. A boy who loves science heads to the beach and receives a mysterious surprise in the form of a waterproof camera filled with scenes of underwater worlds. This wordless picture book allows you to create your own version of the story. Listen as your children to make up their own story for every snapshot in the camera film reel.

(cool) art & lit connections

Write Beach Haiku
A Haiku is a three-line poem that doesn’t rhyme! Based on a traditional Japanese form, the first and last lines have five syllables each, and the middle line has seven. Build a love of writing and a quality vocabulary with this activity. Have the kids write on a big piece of construction paper and then illustrate their own poems with drawings!

Make a Rainbow Fish Suncatcher
A mess free craft!! Cut a fish shape out of a piece of blue construction paper and stick clear contact paper over the opening. Cut up felt or paper and some holographic paper for the rainbow scales. Your child will design their own rainbow fish, no glue or sparkles involved! Just stick the scales to the tacky side of the contact paper. Check out the craft on No Time for Flashcards

Illustrate a Filmstrip
Print out a simple black and white filmstrip frame and have your child draw their own underwater world adventure. When they are done, take turns telling the story of what is happening in the pictures.  There’s a cool free filmstrip printable here.

(cool) math & science connections

Water Density Fun
This fun science activity will help explain why some animals live on top of the water and others live very deep down. Water temperature affects density as the moving colors show. This can easily be done at home by filling a clear tupperware container with very hot red colored water and pouring in a container of very cold blue water.

Syllable Counting
To write Haiku children have to understand syllables. Count and clap along with the video to get a feel for the patterns that they follow with this video!

Make Waves
Fill a plastic soda bottle half way with blue dyed water. Fill the remainder of the bottle with oil. They will not mix and your children can make waves by tilting the bottle. This would also be a good segue for discussing pollution and how to protect our oceans. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make an ocean in a bottle.

foodie fun

Jello Aquariums
Top with whipped cream waves to hide knife marks and sprinkle graham cracker crumbs for sand! A drink umbrella is the final touch in this perfect beach dessert! We’re Calling Shenanigans has a great tutorial!

Banana Beach
Banana palm tree waving kiwi branches over a tangerine beach. Mango sunset in the background over blueberry water. Use your imagination and your children’s fruit preferences to create a delicious beach scene!

get out & about!

Baltimore Aquarium
Visit the Baltimore Aquarium‘s new Blacktip reef exhibit (it’s just turning one!) and learn about sharks! If you can’t make the trip, then check out the live feed here.

Gunpowder State Park Beach
Only 16 miles from Baltimore, this beautiful state park has an updated bathhouse with showers and bathrooms, a clubhouse that sells snacks, facilities for barbecues and a beach on the Gunpowder river. Think of it as the beach away from the beach.