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At the beach

Average: 3.7 (20 votes)

Once it starts to get warm you can easily start to talk about holidays and possible destinations with your young learners.

Jo Bertrand

The beach is always a popular destination and young children can generally, depending on where you are, relate to the excitement and freedom associated with playing on the beach. Why not dress a teddy in shorts, t-shirt, sunglasses, cap, and give him a towel to put under his arm. The children can guess where he is going and the lesson will be much more captivating for them than just starting with just a picture on the board.


  • General - sand, sand castle, sun, sea, bucket, spade, hat, sunglasses, sun cream, swimming costume, swimming trunks, beach ball, armbands, suitcase
  • Sea creatures – crab, fish, shark, dolphin, whale, starfish, seahorse


  • Realia – suitcase and contents for a beach holiday
  • Music of waves
  • Beach and sea vocabulary flashcards

Warm up
Start the lesson by asking what they like to do on a beach. This is a good question / answer exercise using ‘I do’ or ‘I don’t’ to answer the questions. You can include a few silly questions like numbers 7 and 8 to keep the exercise light and amusing.
1. Who likes to swim in the sea?
2. Who likes to walk in the sand with no shoes on?
3. Who like to make sandcastles?
4. Who likes to be buried in the sand?
5. Who likes to eat ice-cream?
6. Who likes to swim in the sea?
7. Who likes to eat sand?
8. Who likes to put buckets on their head?

The beach often evokes peace with the sounds of the waves, the warm sand in between your fingers and toes, the sun keeping you warm, ice creams and swimming in the clear blue sea. What better lesson than one about the beach to use some visualisation to relax and calm your children.

  • Try and find some calming music of waves and seagulls for the children to listen to in the background.
  • Say the following text to them in a slow, soft and calm voice. If there is a child who giggles, opens his eyes or tries to distract his neighbour just sternly look at him but don’t interrupt what you’re saying to tell him off as this will spoil the atmosphere for the other children.

You are on a beach. You are lying down. Close your eyes. It is warm. It is very very warm. Your head is in the sand. Your hands are in the sand. Your fingers are in the sand. Your legs are in the warm sand. Your toes are in the warm sand. Listen. You can hear the birds singing quietly in the sky. You can hear the wave splashing on the shore. Going out and in, out and in, out and in. Feel the warm sun. You can feel it on your toes. You can feel the arm sun on your legs. You can feel the warm sun on your arms. You can feel it on your fingers. You can feel the warm sun on your face, your cheeks your head. You are slowly feeling very tired. Your body feels very heavy. Your eyes feel heavy. You are tired and relaxed. Listen to the waves and the birds. Slowly, very slowly you start to move your arms, your move your legs, you move your head you sit up and slowly open your eyes.

This is wonderful activity to do at the end of the lesson as a calming down session before leaving the class or as a warm up activity to focus the children and have them calm for the following activities.

Packing a suitcase for the beach
Bring in a suitcase and teach them the vocabulary for the contents. They will be intrigued as to what you have in your suitcase. You can use the Kim’s game model whereby you show the class the suitcase full of objects, in secret remove one of the objects and they must find which object is now missing.

Sea animals
Draw a large beach picture on the board as a cross section of the sea. You should draw the sea, a boat and a couple of palm trees to give the general idea. Get flashcards from the link below and stick them around the room. You can play a ‘Where am I?’ game by saying ‘I live in the sea. I am black and white. I have a hole in my back where water comes out. I’m called a whale. Where am I?’ and the children look around the room and point to the whale. Then choose a volunteer to stick the flashcard onto the sea scene and continue with the other flashcards. Flashcards can include fish, crabs, whales, dolphins, starfish, seahorses, sharks, etc.

Design a fish
In groups of three they can draw and colour a fish. They should give the fish a name and decide what it eats, how often it sleeps, where it lives (under a rock, in a bunch of seaweed, buried in the sand), and give it one special attribute such as – it can jump out of the water, has a really long tongue, has five eyes etc. They can then stick their fish onto a beach scene you have drawn on the board and then present their fish to the rest of the class. Give the class a written model to follow before they attempt to write about their fish. (This idea is adapted from a conference paper given by Lynne Cameron in 2006.)

Beach songs
At this link there are a selection of songs associated with the beach. I particularly like the ‘Wheels on the bus’ sea creature’s version and the ‘I’m a little fishy’ sung to ‘I’m a little teapot’. These are both tunes that your pupils will pick up quickly if they don’t already know the melodies.

These are also both great action songs and so very visual and easy to follow with hand gestures.

Internet links This site has lots of activities related to holidays. This page has a sandy beach scene to look at, identify sea objects or colour.

First published 2008

Language level
Language Level: 
Primary level 1

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