How to organise a seaside-themed children's party

beach party

It's easy to bring some coastal charm to your celebration with traditional beachside treats and old-fashioned school games – just add water (and a bit of sand)

Invitations

Set the party's theme from the start.

postcard
  • Send postcards – buy a selection from a nearby location, or design your own
  • Or give out arcade tickets – each admitting one child to the birthday celebrations

Decorations

You may not be lucky enough to live near the coast, but you can create a fun seaside feel, whatever the Great British weather, in your home or garden, or in a local hall.

beach
  • Hang a sign outside the venue, directing guests to the beach
  • If you have an outside space to use, fill up a sandpit and perhaps a paddling pool (if you have enough parental supervision)
  • Scatter around buckets and spades
  • Fill the air with bubbles – using a bubble machine, or give children individual wands
  • Decorate with bunting, balloons and streamers
  • Put out deckchairs – perhaps for the parents rather than the kids!
One year we had an under the sea theme with blue and green balloons and ribbons hanging down like sea weed

Activities and party games

To keep guests busy as they arrive, get started building sandcastles or hunting for and decorating shells.

sandcastle
  • Get children to make their own paper boats – you could even race them on water later
  • Go fishing in a paddling pool – or play hook-a-duck
  • Have a lucky dip in a tub of seaweed made from coloured paper/cellophane
  • Let kids work off some energy playing ball games with an inflatable beach ball – keeping it off the ground, hot potato, piggy in the middle or beach volleyball
  • Have a crab crossing relay, where children have to get from one point to another, walking like a crab: on their hands and feet, belly upwards
  • Or try a bucket relay – get the children to race holding a bucket filled with water, passing it between each player as quickly as possible without spilling it
  • Doughnut eating: hang ring doughnuts from pieces of string (off a clothes line, football post, or between two fences) and get children to eat them off without using their hands

Other traditional party games that are perfect for this theme include:

  • Pin the tail on the donkey
  • Bobbing for apples
  • A piñata
  • Make a head in the hole picture board – kids can have their photo taken pulling silly faces behind the picture, or have a go at throwing wet sponges at the people behind (if mum and dad are brave/foolish enough to volunteer)

Party food

Get stuck into some traditional seaside fare.

fish and chips
  • Fish and chips served in a newspaper cone
  • Mini hotdogs
  • Any party favourites served in plastic buckets or on plates topped with newspaper
  • Use a cookie cutter to shape nautical biscuits (sweet or savoury) such as boats, anchors, fish and starfish
  • Make sailing boats out of different salad/vegetables on cocktail sticks
  • Bags of seaside treats like candy floss, popcorn and warm doughnuts
  • Colourful fruit salad ice lollies – easy to make with blended fruit, frozen in moulds
  • A jug of homemade lemonade
Make croissants into crab shaped sandwiches, filled with ham and cheese (or other toppings) and with eyes made from olives on sticks

Cake inspiration

Round the day off with cake and a chorus of 'Happy Birthday to you'.

seaside cake

For a real seaside feel, serve up cake in a cone: wafer cones filled with sponge cake, topped with icing, sprinkles and a Cadbury flake – just like a 99 ice-cream!

What can I put in the party bags?

Send guests home with a seaside souvenir of the day.

rock

Some ideas for small gifts include:

  • A stick of rock – you could get some printed with the birthday child's name on, or buy from the nearest coastal town
  • Sweetie cones or homemade fudge
  • A beach towel
  • Inflatable beach ball, or other outdoor toy
  • Their own plastic bucket and spade