Creative Playing on the Beach for Grown-ups

Creative Playing on the Beach for Grown-ups

Isn’t it a pity that we tend to forget how to play? What do you think about playing on the beach for grown-ups? I can assure you that it is fun! 

Years ago my former colleagues and I went to a beach house once a year to get creative inspiration. 

We were all creative souls and we gave ourselves assignments to develop our creative skills even further. There I discovered again what fun it is to play on the beach.

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Playing on the beach for grown-ups

The beach can be for games like volleyball and badminton, yet it’s much nicer to do creative stuff in the sand. Use your kids’ toys to build sand sculptures or make patterns. Find inventive ways to build with what you find on the high tide line.

How can we express our creativity on the beach?

Building sandcastles

The focus of the assignments was different each year. It could be flying objects or playing with the sand. Or we went beachcombing and made 3D collages out of the junk we found. And sometimes we would just draw because we all loved to do that as well.

I’ll give you some inspiration with a list and I hope you will add your tips in the comment box below. Because I am sure I forgot things. 🙂

  • Build sandcastles;
  • Write in the sand with a stick or finger;
  • Enjoy beachcombing;
  • Take pictures of textures;
  • Draw what you see;
  • Go geocaching;
  • Record the sounds of the surf or the birds;
  • Invent water games;
  • Make sand sculptures;
  • Collect seashells;
  • Make cyanotypes with salt water;
  • Photograph the objects you see;
  • Make a message in a bottle.

And yes, you can also sport, relax, read, swim and play beach volleyball. My objective here was to list activities that I think can develop creativity. 🙂


Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
~Pablo Picasso

Take lots and lots of pictures!

You might know I love taking pictures. Either with my DSLR camera or with my iPhone. I not only enjoy just the moment itself but also the sorting, criticizing, and editing afterwards.

If you can’t draw after nature when you are actually there, because you master not yet the technique or because the weather conditions are not good, then a photograph is a handy tool.

Both taking pictures and drawing develop your sense of composition, colour, and creativity in general.

Textures or structures

In my native language (Dutch), texture and structure in art are often used interchangeably. The texture is what we feel when we touch a surface and can be a repetition. A structure is built from the inside up.

Isolating a small part of a surface focuses on its texture. 

  • Wet sand near the surf has a different texture than dry sand near the dunes 
  • A quiet sea has a different texture than a wild one with lots of waves;
  • A shell beach has a different texture than a single shell.

There are a variety of textures that can be photographed at different beaches. The beaches in the Netherlands have dunes, marram grass, breakwaters, and lots of sand. Those in Spain have pebbles, palm trees, and fishing supplies.

Taking pictures of sand dunes
Drawing sand dunes


A simple image like just the sea and sky has a different colour each day and even any moment of the day. Have you ever looked at the colour of the clouds and how they differ in the early morning and late evening compared to midday? 

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I love to look at the changing of all the greys on a cloudy day. How sometimes the horizon isn’t even noticeable because the sea and the sky have the same colour. Or the gradual difference in colour from near to far.


The vast and open space of the beach is an excellent place to take pictures of silhouettes. There will be less distracting forms in the photo than, let’s say, on a square.

Another advantage is that people tend to follow the surf, giving you more grip on the composition and the events that are likely to happen.

Sandcastles and sculptures

Here in Spain, most beaches have pebbles, except on tourist beaches. They are artificially covered with sand every year and raked daily by bulldozers in high season.

An expensive affair that is often undone by storms. But the sandcastle builders are happy with it and make the most beautiful sculptures close to the boulevards.

With a groundsheet for the finished work, on which passers-by can throw a coin, they collect their daily pocket money.

There are even sand sculpting championships all over the world.

Paying with kids' toys
It goes without saying that you don’t have to play on the beach alone! It is a great activity to do with your (grand)children, as I know from experience.
Beachcombing stuff
An advantage of the year we went beachcombing was we cleaned the beach. We threw all the stuff we hadn’t used in the bins.

Our playing on the beach

Both my colleague and I are retired now and our employees have moved elsewhere or started their own business. So our creative days together are unfortunately a thing of the past.

We always called it a “labour camp” as if it were suffering. A lame apology to our clients who had to miss us for a few days. 😉

Yet, it is great to create in a group. We cheered each other on and always tried to get just that little bit more out of it to stimulate and inspire each other.

And luckily we still have the pictures. 🙂

Related: The Art of Being Creative Sparked by Mutual Inspiration, 7 Tips

Candles, inspired by Memphis
Have you heard of the Memphis group? They inspired us enormously in our work as graphic designers and during the beachcombing trip.
Beachcombing collage
This was so funny: I took this collage home, but what I had not noticed in the open air on the beach, became very soon obvious in the house. It smelled like dead fish!
Pencils on the beach
My colour pencils box fell accidentally out of my hands, giving me unexpected inspiration to look for lines and composition.
Writing in the sand
Writing in the sand is different on dry or wet sand.

Have you played creatively on the beach? Tell me in the comment box below.

This article is an update. Originally published on 31-05-2017.

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4 thoughts on “Creative Playing on the Beach for Grown-ups”

  1. The beach is my happy place. I go there alone, with my partner, with my dogs, it just works. I usually just take a walk along the shore or sit down and read a book. I haven’t engaged in any kind of game so far but the second I read about drawing I knew I had to try next time I go to the beach, I somehow never thought of it.

    PS: I don’t know what you’re doing but you’re always smiling in all the photos you’ve shared so far. Happiness looks good on you!!!

    • LOL, I am not always smiling. 😉 When I am concentrating, I look rather serious. But you are right, I am an optimistic person and smile and laugh a lot.

      That is so great, Brooke, your intention to draw on the beach. It’s just as relaxing as reading a book, I can assure you. Plus, you have something to show when you get back home again!

      Thanks for your comment, and have fun on your next visit to the beach.

  2. I live on the beach and do not have any small children. Of course, my favourite pastime is just simply lounging and cooling off in the water. I do also like to collect seashells, but don’t like to look like a tourist, LOL, because that is all they do. My youngest is 21 and he sometimes goes with me, and we do have fun making stuff with the sand, and playing paddle ball.

    • How marvellous, you live on the beach. I thought I was lucky to live nearby a beach, but to actually live on it is way better. Hearing the waves at night when it’s quiet is so soothing!

      It’s so funny, at times we are all tourists when we visit another place. And yet, nobody wants to look like a tourist. I always wonder why that is. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, Leahrae, and enjoy your beach visits.


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