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Beach Dramatic Play

This indoor beach activity is fun any time of year, especially in the colder months when kids may be dreaming of the beach. There will be many textures and sensory experiences for all kids to explore

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Bring the beach indoors with this sensory experience in dramatic play.

Sand and water play are something that many teachers tend to shy away from due to the mess and upkeep, but children really love it. Sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain's pathways, which lead to the child's ability to complete more complex learning tasks.It also supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction. You can easily transform your dramatic play center into a beach with a few key items like beach chairs, blue tarp, plastic pool and sensory bins. This is not costly at all and children will never forget it!


For this Activity you will need:

  • Sand table (kinetic sand works great for less of a mess!)

  • Water table (or deep bin)

  • Blue tarp (to look like water)

  • Seashells Sand toys (shovels, plastic sandcastle shapes, etc.)

  • Books about beach

  • Beach glass or flat stones

  • Small beach chairs

  • Beach towels

  • Beach balls

  • Beach umbrella

  • Sand table (or deep bin)

  • Water table (or deep bin)

  • Cooler with books inside

Learning Outcomes




Parallel Play


Exploring sand, water, and other materials Playing near each other


Step 1:

Set up dramatic play area to look like the beach! You can do this very simply by having a blow up or plastic pool, blue tarp to look like water, beach chairs, books about the beach inside of a cooler, sand table, water table, seashells, etc. Depending on the age, you can modify to be for younger or older children.

Step 2:

Have a sand table/bin set up with shells, plastic ocean animals (star fish, turtle, etc.) accessible for children to play in. For babies and young toddlers, you can make a sensory bag with ocean theme.

Step 3:

Have a water table/bin set up with different toys like shovels, scoops, funnels, etc. for fun water play.

Step 4:

Having books about the beach and dress up clothes like bathing suits for the stuffed animals and empty sunscreen bottles, etc. children will really have a blast exploring the theme.

Toddlers will most likely just gravitate to the sand and water, so you may want to have one or the other out, but for older toddlers and preschoolers, having both accessible is fun.

Playful Questions

What can I do at the beach?

What is my favorite beach activity?

What kind of animals can I find at the beach?

Why is the water sometimes warm and sometimes cold at the beach?

What is sand made out of?

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