End of Program Celebration: Dig In at the Beach

By Anne Neidinger

Books to Share

Bats at the Beach by Brian Lies

Beach Day! by Patricia Lakin

Beach Party! by Harriet Ziefert

Hamlet and the Magnificent Sandcastle by Brian Lies

Mermaids on Parade by Melanie Hope Greenberg

Books to Show or Booktalk

Babymouse Beach Babe by Jennifer L. and Matthew Holm

Mr. Sunny Is Funny by Dan Gutman

Ocean Hide and Seek by Jennifer E. Kramer

Super Sand Castle Saturday by Stuart J. Murphy

Young Cam Jansen and the Double Beach Mystery by David Adler

Bulletin Board

Beaches and Books at Your Library This Summer

Create a seaside view at your library this summer based on the photo of this bulletin board on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindah/829853617/. Kids can make the paper plate crabs as a craft and add them to the bulletin board. Add small, colored copies of book jackets around the beach.


Sand Castles

Use a sand castle die cut or the sand Castle pattern at the end of this chapter to create nametags from sandpaper or tan construction paper. If you cut the nametags out of sandpaper, use a large crayon to write the children's name on them.


Exploring Beaches

Display a collection of nonfiction books about beaches, the ocean, and ocean life. Include beach and ocean sports, such as volleyball, fishing and surfing.


Decorate the room with colorful beach balls and beach towels. Fill a plastic pool with sand and place colorful plastic shovels and pails in it. Purchase seashells at a dollar store and display them on tables. Decorate the room with plush ocean animal toys or puppets. You may be able to borrow these from a toy store or they can be purchased online through stores like Melanie's Emporium, http://www.melaniesemporium.com/Stuffed_Ocean_Animals.htm. Poke small paper umbrellas through the bottom of cups. Add a full-size surfboard for fun and make or purchase leis for partygoers. Include bright plates, cups and napkins on the tables for refreshments.


Serve pineapple juice for a beach party and make "Shark and Beach Cupcakes" from the recipe at Martha Stewart.com, http://www.marthastewart.com/article/shark-and-beach-cupcakes.


Sand Castle Contest

Host a sand castle building contest. Divide the children into four teams and let them spend ten minutes creating sand castles using play sand, which may be purchased at a local home improvement store. Provide children with small tubs of water, plastic pails and shovels to help them shape castles and creations. Recognize each creation with a prize for "Tallest," "Most Unique," "Tidiest," "Most Creative," and other titles. Hold the contest outside of your library, if possible, or protect floors with plastic tablecloths during the contest.


Give the children miniature inflatable beach balls, which may be purchased from Oriental Trading Company at http://www.orientaltrading.com/ui/search/process


. Dollar stores also have inexpensive beach toys for sale.


There Was A Kemp's Ridley Turtle

(Adapted by Anne Neidinger from "There Was A Little Turtle.")

I saw a female turtle (cup both hands like circles and put them to eyes like looking through binoculars)

Dig a sandy nest. (pretend to dig a hole in the floor with hands)

She laid her tiny eggs (form two fists and pretend to put them gently on the floor in the "nest")

Then took a great big rest. (stand and put both palms together, putting them under a cheek and closing eyes)

The eggs began to hatch. (bend down to where "nest" is, form fists, then open hands slowly, spreading out fingers)

Baby turtles crawled to sea. (stand up and use crawling motions with hands in air)

They swam among the seaweed. (extend arms and hands as if paddling)

One baby looked at me. (hold up one finger, cup both hands and form pretend binoculars, then point to self)

He chased a crusty crab (use four fingers of one hand in a paddling motion while pretending to chase other hand in a snapping motion like a crab)

And dove into the sea. (put both palms together and make diving motion)

He snapped at a shrimp, (use both hands in snapping movement)

But he didn't snap at me! (shake head and point to self)


"Surfin' Safari" and "Wipe Out" from Catch a Wave: Beach Songs for Kids by Various Artists from Music for Little People.

Sing "Waves at the Beach" to the tune of "Wheels on the Bus" from Music and Songs: Beach and Ocean at PreschoolEducation.com, http://www.preschooleducation.com/sbeach.shtml.

Dance and Movement Songs

Musical Towels

Spread out colorful beach towels instead of chairs on the floor in this beach version of musical chairs. Have one less towel than the number of children at your program. Play beach music, such as "Surfin' Safari" or "Wipe Out" while everyone dances around the towels. When the music stops, everyone has to sit or lie down on a beach towel. The person without a towel is out. Restart the music and continue playing until there is only one "sunbather" left.

Reader's Theater

A House for Hermit Crab

Use Eric Carle's book, A House for Hermit Crab, to create a reader's theater script. Assign parts and have the children read directly from the book. If desired, create paper costumes using the illustrations as a guide.

Flannel Boards

Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef

Create a flannel board based on the book Over in the Ocean: In a Coral Reef by Marianne Berkes. Distribute the flannel board pieces to the children and have them participate in this rhyme adapted from "Over in the Meadow."

Five Little Seashells

Refer to "Five Little Seashells" from The Big Book of Reading, Rhyming and Resources by Beth Maddigan. Cut out seashells using patterns from First-School: Preschool Activities and Crafts at http://www.first-school.ws/t/apshells.htm and turn this fingerplay into a flannel board story.


Rainbow Fish Coffee Filter Craft

Make a fish from a coffee filter using the pattern and instructions from DLTK at


Ocean in a Bottle

Gather reminders of a visit to the beach, including tiny seashells, seaweed, plastic or foamy toy fish, and other sea creatures of the ocean to create an ocean in a bottle using the instructions from Everything Preschool at http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/beach/art.htm.

Keiki Straw Lei
  • Colored straws
  • Construction paper in bright colors
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch

Let the children make leis with die cut flowers strung together with straws! Follow the instructions from Library Think Quest at http://library.thinkquest.org/J0110077/straw.htm. Alternately, a pattern for flowers is available in Color Your World…Read!, the 2004 Texas Reading Club Manual, http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2004/manual


Starfish Craft Necklace

Children can make a starfish necklace following the directions and using the patterns from Enchanted Learning at http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/stars/gluestarfish/.

Paper Plate Crab Puppet

(Adapted by Anne Neidinger from "Make a Fiddler Crab" from Texas Parks and Wildlife at http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/kids/fun_stuff/arts_and_crafts/make_crab.phtml.)

A photo of a crab made using a paper plate as a body, with red claws made from construction paper, and two large red eyes at the top that have googliy eyes glued to it. The plate has been colored to depict the body of the crab.
  • Small white paper plates
  • Red construction paper
  • Wiggly eyes (self-adhesive)
  • Crayons or markers
  • Glue or tape

Each crab requires one and one-half small uncoated paper plates and two wiggly eyes. In advance, cut crab claws and crab eyes using the patterns provided at the end of this chapter. Cut some of the paper plates in half. Give each child two sets of crab claws and eyes, one half of a paper plate, and one whole paper plate. Staple or tape the half plate to the whole paper plate around the edges, leaving the straight edge open so the children may put four fingers inside to create a puppet. The half paper plate is the top of the crab, and the whole plate is the bottom. Children can color the outside of their crab. Bend the small tab on the eyes and glue or tape them onto the top of the crab. Glue or tape pre-cut crab legs on each side of the crab, and add wiggly eyes.

Seashell Critters

Children can create a seashell critter craft following the instructions on Kaboose at http://crafts.kaboose.com/seashell-critters.html.

Games and Activities

Crab Walk

Divide the group into two teams and have a crab walk relay race, walking backwards on hands and feet, belly up, like a crab. Designate start and finish lines with masking tape. Cheer for the first team to complete the relay. Give prizes or snacks to everyone who participates.

Gone Fishin'

Create fishing poles with long dowels with string attached as the fishing line. Add a strong magnet to the end of each fishing pole. Cut out photos of different things you would find at the beach, including fish, crabs, starfish, shells, etc. Patterns for these creatures are available in Color Your World...Read!, the 2004 Texas Reading Club Manual, at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/trc/2004/manual/internal_chaptersimages/patterns/T_Pattern_SeaLife.jpg. Add magnets to each item and put them in a small plastic pool so the children can go "fishing."

Beach Bowling

Set up six small plastic sand pails so that one is on the first row, two are on the second row, and three on the third row, as if setting up bowling pins. Let the children "bowl" by rolling a beach ball at the pails.

Beach Bummin' Memory Game

Cut out these cards featuring beach items from Disney's Family Fun at

http://familyfun.go.com/printables/beach-bummin-memory-game-703797/ and let the children play a matching card game.

Beach Scavenger Hunt

Host a beach scavenger hunt using ideas from Coolest Birthday Party at http://www.coolest-kid-birthday-parties.com/beach-scavenger-hunt.html.

Beach Patterns

(Adapted from "Patterns in Nature" from What's the Big Idea, a manual for the program from the Vermont Center for the Book.)

There are many patterns in nature. Explore seashell patterns by sharing books such as Seashells by the Seashore by Marianne Berks and Shell by Alex Arthur.

Guest Speakers

Invite environmental experts, such as park rangers or fish and game staff, to show ocean life and talk about our beaches. A pet shop employee might bring examples of various tropical fish to show the children.

Professional Resources

Conchologists of America, Inc.


This resource for seashell collectors provides information to help identify seashells and includes a kids' section with jokes, games and activities.

National Parks Service


The United States Government agency devoted to our national parks and wildlife includes information about and links to our national seashores.

Texas Parks and Wildlife


The state agency dedicated to preserving Texas' parks and wildlife includes links to Texas beaches and wildlife, including turtles.

Craft Materials

Sand Castle Nametag Pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (126 KB) (Full Page)

This is a full page of four sand castle patterns. There is a pennant flag at the top of the center of three turrets.


Paper Plate Crab Puppet pattern

Printer Friendly PDF Version (393 KB) (Full Page)

This page has a pattern for the paper plate crab puppet claws and eyes.


Texas Reading Club 2011 Programming Manual / Dig Up a Good Book!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011