Beach Reads: A Storytime About the Beach

It was a chilly day for Outdoor Musical Storytime, which maybe wasn’t the best weather for our Beach theme, but we had fun anyway. Here’s what we did:


Bea By the Sea by Jo Byatt

I love this book, and the kids did too! Bea knows everything about lions. When her mother suggests a trip to the beach, at first she doesn’t want to go. After all, she hates sand. But while she is at the beach, she meets a Sand Lion, who helps her discover that beaches can be fun after all. In return, she helps him overcome his fear of water. Very sweet, imaginative story, with adorable illustrations.

Sally Goes to the Beach by Stephen Huneck

Dogs love the beach too, and this simple, colorful story told from a dog’s point of view explains why. The kids laughed at the line about the air smelling like cat food, and the way Sally imagines the captain of the ferry boat as a dog.

Penguin On Vacation by Salina Yoon

When Penguin tires of the ice and snow at home, he decides to go on vacation to the beach. When he arrives though, he finds that all the things he usually enjoys (sledding, skiing, and skating) don’t work on the sand. Luckily, a friendly crab shows him how to have fun, and when the crab tags along with him back home, Penguin gets to share all of his favorite snow activities with his new friend. Both the kids and the grown-ups enjoyed this sweet story.


Five Little Seashells

I got this song from I sang it to the tune of Five Little Ducks. My coworker, Claire, held up five sea shells, while I did the rhyme with my fingers along with the kids:

Five little seashells lying on the shore,

Swish! Went the waves, and then there were four.

Four little seashells cozy as could be,

Swish! Went the waves, and then there were three.

Three little seashells all pearly new,

Swish! Went the waves, and then there were two.

Two little seashells lying in the sun,

Swish! Went the waves, and then there was one.

One little seashell lying all alone.

I picked it up, and then I took it home.

The Waves at the Beach

This one was from, which has a nice list of other ocean/beach songs. It’s to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus:

The [C] waves at the beach go UP and DOWN,

[G7] UP and DOWN [C] UP and DOWN,

The waves at the beach go UP and DOWN,

[G7] All day [C]long.

The crabs at the beach crawl back and forth…

The clams at the beach go open and shut…

The lobsters at the beach go snap, snap, snap!

The kids at the beach yell “Yay, Yay, Yay!”…

Other songs that we did were: B-I-N-G-O (with the MonkeyMitt. I had the kids bark the missing letters); Slippery Fish (with puppets for each animal), and The Beatles’ Octopus’ Garden, which we did as an instrument playalong.

Stay and Play: Sand Castles

Sand Dough Castle with Sea Shells

This was more of a play activity than a project, but the kids had a great time. We had a lot of play sand left over from our Library Explorer camps, so I mixed up some sand dough/kinetic sand ahead of time. I used this recipe from, which calls for sand, flour, and cooking oil (I used a lot more oil than they suggested to make it more moldable). The dough holds together a little bit, but doesn’t harden, so you can mold it into simple shapes, but nothing permanent. I made sure to tell the parents what was in the dough, in case of any food allergies, and also warned the kids several times that it wasn’t edible (it does kind of look like cookie dough).

I gave each of the kids a Dixie Cup full of the sand dough and a small paper plate. I also put out some tiny sea shells from our craft closet. In retrospect, it would have been nice to have given out Ziploc bags so they could take their sand home at the end, but most of it ended up on the ground anyway (one of the nice things about doing storytime outdoors!).

What are your favorite books about the beach? Please share them in the comments below.


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