Summer Games and Activities Using Beach Towels

Boy running and playing beach towel games on the beach.

Wherever summer takes you and your family—the beach, the park, or the backyard—your child is always looking for something fun to do. If you’d like some simple activities that children can do anytime, anywhere, just grab a beach towel!

For these beach towel activities, no beach is actually required. The beach towels are used as convenient props to help you and your child quickly set up the activities. Have your child find a game he or she likes on the list below to get started.

Use Towels for Shape Practice

By helping children practice creating shapes with a beach towel, parents can help introduce or reinforce the properties of different shapes. Ask younger children to take the towel and fold it into shapes such as squares, rectangles, triangles, or trapezoids. Challenge older students to create more complex shapes such as isosceles, right, and equilateral triangles. Using multiple towels, have older and younger kids work together to create one big picture of a house or other object using multiple shapes.

Play Beach Towel Baseball

This game is a variation of baseball, but you can adapt it to kickball as well. You need four beach towels that you can fold in half to use as bases. To give the game an extra beach theme, use a beach ball and a soft Wiffle bat.

Design Beach Towel Costumes

Give your children and their friends a variety of beach towels and challenge them to create unique outfits out of them. You can ask them to play charades, act out a scene from a favorite movie, or show off their towel-inspired costumes on a makeshift runway. Make sure they explain their costumes and share the thoughts and ideas that went into designing them.

Try Towel Jumping Challenges

There are many ways you can use a beach towel to work some jump training into your day. Here are a few suggestions to challenge your entire family:

  • Roll up a beach towel and place it on the ground. See how many times you can jump over it from side to side in one minute. Challenge yourself to beat your record.
  • Create and jump across a beach towel hopscotch course. Gather 10 beach towels and fold them into small squares, and then arrange them in rows across the grass or sand. See how many times you can jump back and forth across the course in two minutes.
  • Have a standing long jump challenge. Spread out two towels on the ground, spacing them a several feet apart, and see if you can jump from one to the other. If you make the jump, move the towels farther apart and try again. Keep trying and until they’re too far apart for you to jump from one to the other. Measure the distance between the towels to see how many feet everyone can jump!
Make a Beach Towel Catapult

This activity is for two people. Place a balloon, beach ball, or other lightweight ball in the center of a beach towel. Have each person stand at one end of the towel, grab the two corners, and lift the towel. Boost the balloon or ball into the air and try to catch it with the towel. See how high you can get the ball into the air, and count how many times you can catch it without dropping it.

Race Each Other in the Soaking Wet Water Relay

This activity is for teams and a relay judge. Each team needs a towel and two buckets, one that’s filled with water and one that’s empty. After the judge yells “Go!” the first person on each team has to dip the towel into the bucket of water and then run across the yard and squeeze the water into the empty bucket, and then he or she has to run back and pass the towel to the next teammate. This is a variation of the sponge race, but because the wet beach towels are heavier, they’re more challenging to use.

Tell Beach Towel Stories

Choose six of your most interesting beach towels, ones that feature pictures of animals, story characters, objects, or places. Spread the towels out in a row on the ground and sit down in front of them. The first person will roll a pair of dice to come up with two numbers, and then he or she has to create a story using the themes represented by the two chosen towels. This activity works best for a parent and a younger child or a child and his or her younger sibling.

Make Towel Targets for a Bean Bag Toss

This game combines a little physical activity with math. Spread out 3–5 beach towels on the ground and assign a certain amount of points to each one. Towels closer to the starting point should be assigned fewer points than ones that are farther away. Give each player some bean bags or other weighted objects he or she can toss, and see how many he or she can get to land on the towels. After determining the number of rounds to play, add up each player’s points to see who the winner is.

Create a Comfy Reading Space

Give your child some towels to create a special reading spot outside. Some ideas include rolling or folding towels into makeshift pillows, using towels as padding to make a lawn chair more comfortable, or hanging towels from tree branches to create a shaded shelter.

What other games and activities can your child come up with using beach towels? Let us know if you have any fun ideas to share.

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