As a teacher, you know the struggle of keeping your students engaged and motivated as summer break approaches. But what if I told you that you could turn an ordinary day of class into a memorable and exciting beach day at school? That’s right, by infusing some fun, beach-themed activities into your day, you can create an immersive and stimulating learning environment that your students will love and remember for a long time. Get ready to make waves in your classroom and inspire your students to dive into learning!
I like to spend the last few weeks doing end-of-the-year theme days because keeping students’ minds engaged and learning on those last few days can sometimes be a difficult task. One theme day that I began my very first year of First Grade is Beach Day. I started it years ago very simply by bringing our beach towels to school and going outside to read together and enjoy some sunshine, but Beach Day has evolved since then into a day full of learning and reviewing.
Classroom Beach Day Setup
I prepare for this day by purchasing some plastic leis for my students, busting out my pink flower glasses, and setting up my classroom. I take down my front bulletin board and put up the letters, today is… You can grab those letters here. Each day we do a different theme day so I add the sign for beach day below it as you can see here.
I also have a Digital Beach Day, so I display that on my SMART board as well.
I like to have everything prepped ahead of time for centers and activities on this day. Here are a few pictures of how I have set up in the past.
Beach Day at School Activities
We begin this day by reading the book, “If You Ever Want to Bring a Piano to the Beach, DON’T!” written by Elise Parsley. Before reading we predict what might happen. Then we review the main idea and details and retell the story focusing on the beginning, middle, and end.
Then, we cut and build our very own sandcastle crafts. Each one always turns out so unique!
The last thing we do in the morning is grab our beach towels and some good books and head outside for some reading. If the weather isn’t cooperating, we spread them out around the classroom. They love reading to one another and relaxing on their towels.
Beach Day Classroom Activities for Centers
Next, we move on to beach centers. There are signs around the classroom to label each center. I give each student a checklist so they can move to the centers that are open and keep track of what they have done and still need to do.
There are word work centers where students can work on fact or opinion, a beach vocabulary word search, alphabetizing, word scramble, syllables, asking or telling, and true or false.
I love to put the story, “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell” at a center with colorful cards and a bag so students can read the story and retell it with a hands-on experience. There are also two different paper sequencing activities for this story as well.
I have a few math games, a survey, and a graphing activity to review math skills. I found beach ball dice and I purchased those to play our math games. This makes it just a little extra fun.
More Fun Beach Day Classroom Activities
Over the years I have picked up some fun things to go along with this day as well. Another center is a fun beach photo booth. I picked these up at Hobby Lobby, but you can also find them on my Beach Day list on Amazon. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
I have also gathered some fun felt games like Tic Tac Toe & Checkers that I have set up around the room.
We do a fun writing center where they write their top 10 things they did in first grade. I have this as a generic one and I’ve also included some for grades K-4. I have a fun little summer bookmark at this center that they can take home with them.
We also color or watercolor surfboards for summer bookmarks. I like to laminate them and give them to them on a later day.
I have parent volunteers make us a yummy beach-themed snack too. Here are a few pictures from past years.
Finally, we end the day by signing mini beach balls to take home. I give each student a Sharpie marker and they go sign their name on each ball. It’s a cute keepsake.
You can double dip and complete the Digital Beach Day activities for some extra beach day at school fun.
Here is what a few teachers had to say about Beach Day:
“My first graders loved all of these activities. We celebrate the end of the year with theme days. Beach day is always one of my favorites. This resource has so many fun elements to it!”
“LOVED it!! We decorated the room with a canopy, beach towels, and beach balls. We passed out sunglasses and hats and let the students work through the different stations at their own pace. It was a fun and easy day for the end of the year.”
“You can’t go wrong with First Grade Roars theme units! This was a perfect unit to celebrate the end of our school year! Highly recommend!!”
“Fun engaging way to spend one of the last few days of school. Students really enjoyed spending their day on the “beach” and completing these activities throughout our day together in groups and partners.”
Read more about these fun end-of-the-year activities here on my blog: