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Group and Family Vacation Games and Activities

Updated on September 5, 2012

Nine Activites for the Beach Family Olympics

  • Most unique wildlife
  • Most wildlife
  • Deepest hole
  • Best sandcastle/sculpture
  • Best shell
  • Art gallery
  • Beach relay activities
  • Talent show
  • Secret thoughtful deed

Fun Family Activities for the Beach

Look for sea shells
Look for sea shells | Source
Make Team t-shirts: the Volcanoes!
Make Team t-shirts: the Volcanoes! | Source

Do you vacation with a large group or with your family? Do you have trouble finding activities to keep all the kids engaged and interacting? I am the youngest of nine children and as a result, our generations overlap a bit. The ages for the grand kids on this year’s vacation ranged from twenty-five to two. How do you create activities to engage such a group? This year a couple of my sisters came up with the “Beach Family Olympics”.

Prior to arriving on vacation, the Olympic teams were assigned. There were eighteen grand kids, so we ended up with nine groups of two. Most teams comprised of one younger child and one older child. Each team was assigned a color. The older member of each team made a t-shirt or a bandana using the team color. The younger kids were so excited to wear their team shirts during the week.

The first night of vacation, we gathered in the beach house media room. Teams sat together. Most little kids sat on their partner’s laps. All were eager to hear what the "Beach Olympics" were all about. The rules were revealed. It was explained that the competitions could be done throughout the week. The nine categories were explained.

A group exclamation exploded from the room. "Let the games begin!"

The Council of Elders

It was critical to establish an official judging and ruling process so that winners could be fairly determined. About twenty years ago, the Council of Elders was established. The Council of Elders is a top secret group only including the male heads of household. Legend has it that a group of the men were sitting around a campfire partaking in a few beverages and the Council of Elders resulted.

Basically, the only members are my brother, brothers-in-law and my husband. No one knows what they discuss in their secret meetings. We do know this, the Council of Elders was holding a very official role in the Beach Olympics this year. Their jobs were to evaluate 'best of' categories and witness any wildlife that was captured or spotted. Apparently no bribery could be used to influence these highly qualified judges.

The Council of Elders was exactly what these Olympics needed!

Most Unique Wildlife

Each year wildlife is identified and captured. This year, the Council of Elders were evaluating the most unique wildlife. Sand fleas and crabs are expected. Teams scurried to find a unique specimen!

The award went to the team that saw a turtle.

Most Wildlife

Those who weren't sure they could win most unique wildlife focused instead on quantity. They captured hundreds of sand fleas and placed them in buckets to compete for the Most Wildlife award. Other days, they caught and counted crabs, only to later release them. The kids had fun working in teams to locate and capture wildlife

The winning team found exactly 195 sand fleas over the duration of the week.

Deepest Hole

A popular annual family activity is digging giant beach holes. The little kids love to jump in them, slide down or just play. Don't worry. We fill them in each night for safety reasons. This year, the Olympics were going to take the hole digging up a notch. We were looking for the deepest hole!

The deepest hole award went to the team that dug and connected three holes with a tunnel system.

A Beach Favorite: Building Sand Castles

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The winning mermaid sand creationOne of the teams with their jellyfish sand creation
The winning mermaid sand creation
The winning mermaid sand creation | Source
One of the teams with their jellyfish sand creation
One of the teams with their jellyfish sand creation | Source

Best Sand Castle/Sculpture

Sand castles or sculptures are popular beach activities. This year the teams were busy creating their masterpieces of sand. When their creations were complete, it is important to have a picture taken in case a council member was not present.

While the jellyfish was amazing, the winning sand sculpture was a mermaid.

Family Beach Activities: Collecting the Best Seashell

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Final entries into the best shell categoryMy son showing me one of his entries into the best shell category
Final entries into the best shell category
Final entries into the best shell category | Source
My son showing me one of his entries into the best shell category
My son showing me one of his entries into the best shell category | Source

Best Shell

Sandbridge is not known for its beautiful, intact shells. Shells are plentiful, but most are broken. This was going to be a challenge for the groups to find the best shell!

Best shell was awarded to the team with the most whole shell. One entry was noted as most creative. A team submitted a burrito shell for best shell! Next year, we will need to be more specific.

Creating Art to Decorate the Beach House on Vacation

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Entry with most use of crayonsMy son adding his art work to the galleryMost entries in the art gallery contestAn ocean inspired art gallery entryBaseball themed art workArt work with a balloon addition
Entry with most use of crayons
Entry with most use of crayons | Source
My son adding his art work to the gallery
My son adding his art work to the gallery | Source
Most entries in the art gallery contest
Most entries in the art gallery contest | Source
An ocean inspired art gallery entry
An ocean inspired art gallery entry | Source
Baseball themed art work
Baseball themed art work | Source
Art work with a balloon addition
Art work with a balloon addition | Source

Art Gallery

The media room was transformed into the art gallery. The kids worked on art work throughout the week. As their creations were completed, they could ask a Council member if was worthy of the art gallery. If it was approved, the kids could grab a piece of tape and take their work on the wall for the group to enjoy.

Multiple teams received awards including most entries as well as most interactive display involving the use of balloons.

Our Beach Relay Activities

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The crab walk relaysHuman Knot Team OneHuman Knot Team TwoWater bucket fill upWater bucket fill upThree Legged RaceThree Legged RaceWater Balloon on a spoon walkWater Balloon on a spoon walkTelephone gameBalloon water balloon toss in bucketBalloon stompWater balloon toss
The crab walk relays
The crab walk relays | Source
Human Knot Team One
Human Knot Team One | Source
Human Knot Team Two
Human Knot Team Two | Source
Water bucket fill up
Water bucket fill up | Source
Water bucket fill up
Water bucket fill up | Source
Three Legged Race
Three Legged Race | Source
Three Legged Race
Three Legged Race | Source
Water Balloon on a spoon walk
Water Balloon on a spoon walk | Source
Water Balloon on a spoon walk
Water Balloon on a spoon walk | Source
Telephone game
Telephone game | Source
Balloon water balloon toss in bucket
Balloon water balloon toss in bucket | Source
Balloon stomp
Balloon stomp | Source
Water balloon toss
Water balloon toss | Source

Beach Events

Tuesday afternoon meant it was time for the beach events. No. We did not throw javelins or hurl a shot put into the sand. We had nine activities that were completed as a group and as small teams. This was a blast to watch. You can tell from the pictures, the kids were having fun, too!

At the end of the beach events, individual and group event winners were crowned.

Beach Olympics Events

  • Crab walk: A classic relay race involving the crab walk.
  • Human Knot: The group grabs hands of other team members with in the circle, but not next to them. The group needed to work together to unwind themselves back into a circle.
  • Water bucket fill up: Making trips to the ocean using a small blue cup, the teams took turns filling up a beach bucket as quickly as possible.
  • Three legged race: Another classic favorite involving two team mates using only 'three legs'. We used team bandanas to tie legs together.
  • Water balloon on a spoon walk: Instead of an egg on a spoon, our group used a water balloon.
  • Telephone game: A sentence was given to the first person in the group and the message went around the group via a whisper. It was fun to see which group could accurately pass the message!
  • Water balloon bucket toss: Teams competed to see which group could toss ten water balloons in a bucket on top of one teammates' head.
  • Balloon stomp: All team members tied an air filled balloon around their ankle. Boundaries are established so that competitors were not taking off down the beach! We laughed watching which competitor would be the last to survive stomping balloons without getting theirs stomped out!
  • Water balloon toss: Another classic where balloons were tossed back in forth. The partner stepped back one step after each successful turn. The winner is the last person with an intact balloon.

Get Ready for the Talent Show

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Voted best scientific act: static balloons!Most magical act: card tricks!Most athletic act: a chin up pull over on his partners arm!Best dance: demonstrating some break dancing skillsBest use of food: a juice box drink off!Best use of water: swimming and underwater somersaults
Voted best scientific act: static balloons!
Voted best scientific act: static balloons! | Source
Most magical act: card tricks!
Most magical act: card tricks! | Source
Most athletic act: a chin up pull over on his partners arm!
Most athletic act: a chin up pull over on his partners arm! | Source
Best dance: demonstrating some break dancing skills
Best dance: demonstrating some break dancing skills | Source
Best use of food: a juice box drink off!
Best use of food: a juice box drink off! | Source
Best use of water: swimming and underwater somersaults
Best use of water: swimming and underwater somersaults | Source

Talent Show

Friday morning of our vacation week was show time. Each team had been preparing and practicing talents and it was time for their talents to be presented to the group.

There was a vast range of events and talent show awards including:

  • Best joke
  • Most creative
  • Most athletic
  • Best dance
  • Best song
  • Best use of food
  • Best use of water
  • Most magical

Secret Thoughtful Deed

The teams had their brain storming immediately. They were told that each team would complete a "Secret Thoughtful Deed". Their mission was to do something special, thoughtful and most of all, top secret during the week. After the thoughtful deed was completed, they could not announce or tell anyone what they did. It was not until Friday night that the "Secret Thoughtful Deeds" were revealed.

One at a time, the teams came forward revealing their deeds.

Top deeds included:

  • Helping with kitchen and garbage duty
  • Saving the lives of crabs by scaring them away from the group catching them
  • Saving shells for family members back home

Family Friendships

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cousins having funFamily enjoying each otherHanging out on vacationFriendsThe blue team ready for their talentEager for the talent showEnjoying vacationHanging out during the talent showThe orange team ready to competeSmiley!
Cousins having fun
Cousins having fun | Source
Family enjoying each other
Family enjoying each other | Source
Hanging out on vacation
Hanging out on vacation | Source
Friends
Friends | Source
The blue team ready for their talent
The blue team ready for their talent | Source
Eager for the talent show
Eager for the talent show | Source
Enjoying vacation
Enjoying vacation | Source
Hanging out during the talent show
Hanging out during the talent show | Source
The orange team ready to compete
The orange team ready to compete | Source
Smiley!
Smiley! | Source

Beach Event Success

My kids wore their team shirts with pride all week. One of my sons even slept in his shirt! We were on vacation and the kids were having fun. All the grand-kids, regardless of age, were hanging out, playing, digging holes or drawing pictures. They were excited to hang their work in the art gallery. They practiced their performances for the talent show. They dug holes and made sand castles. They were proud to reveal their "Secret Thoughtful Deed".

The cousins are at different stages in their lives. Some are married. A couple are potty training. Others are eager to start Kindergarten in the fall. Life has everyone busy. We don't all live in the same city or the same part of town. However, each year, my brothers and sisters decide that all of our kids are going to spend our week vacation at the beach.

What we didn't realize was that the kids were going to spend the week turning cousins into friends.

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    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks for the comments. This was so much fun to do and it was ever cooler that I was able to 'document' it so that we can enjoy the experience again. I hope you have a blast if you do this on vacation,t oo!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      Wow! What an amazing list of creative ideas for family activities. I am bookmarking this one for our next vacation! voted up and across.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Savingkathy, the kids had too much fun. We have such a diverse age range on vacation, but they are all good kids. The older kids never commented about the games being silly. They each took on their partner and had a blast. It was fun to watch and was very memorable! My kids are all in the young group so they had an absolute blast and couldn't stop talking about the Olympics. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I loved reading this hub! What a fun way to spend a summer vacation with family. I can imagine that it must be very difficult to keep that many kids of all ages busy and engaged, but it sounds like the week was a huge success. Pairing the younger children with their older cousins sounds like a great idea, and I'm sure some strong bonds and happy memories were made in the process!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Ooohh...I would love to see pictures from your Olympics, too! How fun. We should consider themed meals over the summer. Great idea!

    • chrissieklinger profile image

      chrissieklinger 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Great ideas. In the winter every year we do winter olympics in our house to keep everyone from getting bored. We also do a themed dinner every night from a different country. We do opening and closing ceremonies as well. I will have to definitely try out some of these ideas when we go to the beach:)

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Lisa! We hope you have an amazing vacation with your family!

    • profile image

      lisa betts 5 years ago

      Karen - you have a beautiful family & this gives me ideas as we embark tomorrow to sunny Florida for a family vacation. Thank you!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Jellygator, I am glad i was able to find the mermaid picture!

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 5 years ago from USA

      Love the mermaid!

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      I agree, Janis! This was just something they did during the week. There was a TON of swimming, boogie boarding, etc, this week, too! We haven't even left the beach house yet and the kids are already talking about next year's Olympics. It was a hit!

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 5 years ago

      I am impressed with the games your sister picked, following the interests of the children, and channelling the stuff they already do into a format with "rules."

      That's the best way to raise kids--don't push the river, just let them be free inside the safe boundaries, and give them some autonomy do what they love and what comes from inside them.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Janis. What was great is one of my sisters picked the games and I said, "I will do pictures and write about it!" My parents were unable to make the trip this year, so I feel like this helped them see how the grandkids spent the week together. Thanks for reading, Janis!

    • Janis Goad profile image

      Janis Goad 5 years ago

      what a great project. It took a lot of planning and organizing, but once you got there and the kids got going, I am sure it took on a life of its own. The cousins will have made amazing memories, and can hardly wait to see each other again next.

      What an affirming hub, showing the strength of family.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, Goodlady! We have a lot of little kids so keeping them busy is a good thing! Today is cooler so we are all enjoying a quieter, lazier day around the beach house. Thanks for commenting!

    • GoodLady profile image

      Penelope Hart 5 years ago from Rome, Italy

      I'm exhausted just reading what you all did every day! What an ACE time together. Loved the love and team spirit! Nice pics.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Bummer on no vacation, Billybuc! We are having a blast and the kids really enjoyed the beach olympics. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      No vacation for me this summer; have a great time and nice job on the hub.

    • twinstimes2 profile image
      Author

      Karen Lackey 5 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks, anusujith! We enjoyed the activities, too! This will become a tradition for sure!

    • anusujith profile image

      Anoop Aravind A 5 years ago from Nilambur, Kerala, India

      Wonderful Hub... Enjoyed the photos and activities designed by your team..