Beach Sensory Play and Small World

The theme this week for Discover & Explore is Beach. We are inviting you to share your favorite beach activities, crafts, snacks, tips, and resources for kids at the end of this post.

After making our mini play house we were eager to use it for some of our beach activities, so we decided to set up a beach small world. It turned out to be a wonderful place for pretend play and sensory exploration.

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Preschool Ocean Theme Sensory Play


  • Sand
  • Shells
  • Water
  • Glass beads
  • Small pieces of drift wood
  • Mini play house or any small structure that you would like to use as a beach house
  • Large bin-We used our  Step2 Water Table

Beach Sensory Bin

Lovey immediately started coming up with stories and acting out play scenes. It didn’t take long before we had some princess visitors at the beach house. (Any small figures that can get wet will work great.)

Beach House Pretend Play

 Soon the water was full of fishy friends from our Safari Ltd Coral Reef Toob.

Ocean Sensory Play

By combining the sensory elements along with the small world scene, both my toddler and preschooler had a lot of options for play. Tinker loved playing with the water and shells. She spent a lot of time feeling the water on her hands, listening to the sound of the shells moving around, and examining the details of the individual shells.

Shells and Water Toddler Play

She did a great job of letting big sister use the beach house for pretend play for a couple days, but after sissy gave Tinker the go-ahead she was very excited to play “Hurricane.” We moved the house so  it wouldn’t get ruined, and Tinker LOVED combining all of the sand, shells and water into one collection. This added a whole new layer of sensory play, that kept her busy for quite a while.

Muddy Sensory Play

And if you’re wondering about clean up, each of the girls got to play with a colander. They sifted and collected the shells and gems, and clean up was just another part of the play!

Now it’s your turn. We’d love for you to share how you

Discover & Explore: Beaches!

Please note that we will be having a “Sea Life” theme in two weeks, so when possible please limit this week’s posts to beach related activities. 

Please read the following guidelines for sharing:

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic — kids activities, book activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, free printables–anything that might be helpful to those wanting to put together activities based on this week’s theme
  • By linking up, you are giving me permission to share your post including one photo in our weekly feature post and on social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that have linked up, find some new ideas & meet new friends!
  • If you are linking up, please be sure to grab and post the Discover and Explore button. We love to share! And we want as many people to add their posts as possible, so we have a wonderful collection to share with you.

The linky will remain open for two weeks. Then both co-hosts will feature activities in a separate post and share featured posts on the Discover and Explore Pinterest Board. If you aren’t already, please remember to follow us so you’re sure not to miss those feature posts. And don’t forget to stop by KC Edventures to see what Jacquie is sharing for this week’s theme.

Discover & Explore Weekly Themed Linky
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Discover & Explore Weekly Themed Linky" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Discover & Explore Weekly Themed Linky" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Previous Discover and Explore Themes




















Upcoming Discover and Explore Themes

    • July 10-Vacations


  • July 17-Life Under the Sea



  • July 24-Space Exploration (Rockets, Shuttles, Sattelites, etc)



  • July 31-Boats, Water Fun & Things that Float



  • August 7-Camping



Beach Sensory Play and Small World This post has been shared at some of these fantastic link parties.


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  1. I love how Cinderella joined in on the fun, the colors are beautiful! We have a bunch of seashells and will have to try something like this. We will be featuring this tomorrow on Share it Saturday.

    • Shaunna says:

      Thank you! The seashells and water alone were a wonderful sensory experience. I hope you get the chance to give it a try.

  2. thanks for linking up to the kids co-op. I am featuring 2 of your post today:-)

  3. Would love to know where you found that sensory/water table. It is phenomenal!

    • Shaunna says:

      Thanks! We use our Step2 Water Table. I’ve added the direct link on Amazon to the post above. We use it all of the time!

  4. Thanks for the great ideas related to beach week.

  5. I love this small world! I think the pretty shells under the water are my favorite part 😉

  6. This is awesome. I really need to buy a water table for outdoor fun for my kids.

    I would love for you to come link up at Artsy Play Wednesday.

  7. What gorgeous small world play! I love it!

  8. Oh my goodness, this is ADORABLE! I’m sure that it was a blast to play with. We don’t live near the beach, so this would be a fun way to explore it from home. 🙂

    • Shaunna says:

      Thanks so much! It was really soothing and fun to play with. Hope you get a chance to create your own!

  9. I love this idea! We are just starting a beach theme, so I don’t have as post to share yet.

  10. Love that beach sensory/small world/water table! Haven’t written up our beach posts yet, now I have some motivation to write them out and post them in the next 2 weeks so I can link up! Unless you think my Ocean Sensory Table is beachy enough? Then I can link that up today…

    • Shaunna says:

      Thank you! If you get a chance to write up your beach posts, I’d love to have them here. Go ahead and hold onto the ocean post for our upcoming sea life theme 🙂

  11. What a beautiful small world! It looks so relaxing (but maybe not when a hurricane blows in 😉 ).

  12. We didn’t really have much in the way of beach posts. 🙁 I did add a photo shoot fail just because it is funny, but you can delete if it doesn’t fit! Too bad this isn’t the beginning of August after our beach themed Poppin’s Book Nook. Then I would have a post for you!

    • Shaunna says:

      Thanks for sharing…I think your photo shoot fail looks exactly like what would happen if I attempted a beach photo shoot 🙂

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