The beach is often a popular holiday destination and young children can generally, depending on where you are, relate to the excitement and freedom associated with playing on the beach. To introduce the topic, why not dress a teddy in shorts, t-shirt, sunglasses and 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 a picture on the board.
- general, for example: sand, sand castle, sun, sea, bucket, spade, hat, sunglasses, sun cream, swimming costume, swimming trunks, beach ball, armbands, suitcase
- sea animals, for example: crab, fish, shark, dolphin, whale, starfish, seahorse
- realia – suitcase and contents for a beach holiday
- music of waves
- beach and sea vocabulary flashcards
Start the lesson by asking the children what they like to do on a beach. This is a good question and 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.
- Who likes to swim in the sea?
- Who likes to walk in the sand with no shoes on?
- Who like to make sandcastles?
- Who likes to be buried in the sand?
- Who likes to eat ice cream?
- Who likes to swim in the sea?
- Who likes to eat sand?
- 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 their eyes or tries to distract their neighbour just sternly look at them but don't interrupt what you're saying to tell them 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 waves 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 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, you 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 the children 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, then in secret remove one of the objects and they must work out which object is now missing.
Before the activity, stick flashcards of sea animals around the room. Draw a large beach picture on the board as a cross section of the sea. Draw the sea, a boat and a couple of palm trees to give the general idea. You can then play a 'Where am I?' game by saying I live in the sea. I'm black and white. I've got a hole in my back to breathe. I'm called a whale. Where am I? and the children look around the room and point to the whale flashcard. Then choose a volunteer to stick the flashcard onto the sea picture on the board. Continue with the other flashcards.
Design a fish
In groups of three children 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, etc.), 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.)
At this link http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/beach/songs.htm there are a selection of songs associated with the beach. Try Fish in the sea (sung to the tune of Wheels on the bus) and I'm A Little Fishy (to the tune of I'm a little teapot). Children will pick up both tunes quickly if they don't already know the melodies. They are also both great action songs which are very visual with easy-to-follow hand gestures.
The LearnEnglish Kids website has lots of activities related to holidays: https://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/category/topics/holidays
This page has a sandy beach scene to look at, identify sea objects or colour: https://www.first-school.ws/activities/numbers/sandbeach.htm
First published 2008