Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

Learning at the Beach with Multiple Intelligences

Even trips to the beach can be part of your curriculum. During this trip, my grandsons learned about wind currents, jellyfish, seagulls, and wrote vowel letters in the sand.

Even trips to the beach can be part of your curriculum. During this trip, my grandsons learned about wind currents, jellyfish, seagulls, and wrote vowel letters in the sand.

Hooray! It’s summer once again…but that doesn’t mean learning is on vacation. While your children may not be “hitting the books” during the summer season, their minds are as active as ever. Whether you are a parent, grandparent (like me), homeschooler, afterschooler, or caregiver, you are probably planning some special summer activities. Let me share with you how one “typical” summer activity can be a wonderful learning opportunity for the children in your care using Multiple Intelligences.

This summer my grandsons are the following ages: Tigger just turned 7, Kona is 5, and Tahoe is a curious 3 year old. (I am not using my grandsons’ real names in my blog.)

Linguistic Intelligence

Read books-There are so many great books about the beach to read to children before going on your trip. These are the books I have used in the past and the grands have enjoyed very much:

Not only do I read aloud to the grands, but now that Tigger is reading, he can read these books aloud to us as well.

Last year before we went to the beach, I read The Lighthouse Children to the grands. We took the book along as we drove so the grands could enjoy the book on their own. In case you haven’t read it, the “children” mentioned in the story are actually seagulls. I guess this lesson didn’t make a big enough impression on Tahoe, just two years old at the time. As we walked along the beach, several seagulls followed us. He stopped in amazement, pointed to the birds, and said loudly, “CHICKENS!” I guess I’ll need to repeat this book with the grands this summer.

Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach is one Kona’s favorites so I’m sure I will read it numerous times again to my grandchildren.

I will also make new choices of books about the beach to read this summer to Tigger, Kona, and Tahoe. This website has some great recommendations:


Audio books-I will also try to find the above mentioned books in an audio book format so we can listen to the book as we drive to and from the beach.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Counting activities: There are plenty of things to count at the beach such as: boats on the ocean, number of waves in five minutes (for times when the children need a rest break), number of steps from your beach blanket to the water, beach umbrellas, birds, etc.

Measuring:  If you have a thermometer, take it with you to measure the temperature of the water as well as the air at the beach. Ask them to analyze this data. Is there a difference in temperatures? Why might that be?

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

Walk This Way- As you walk along the beach, try different movements to see which ways are easiest (walking normally, walking sideways, hopping, skipping, running, etc.)

Playing with the waves-My grandsons like to walk into the water a little, and then run back to the dry sand as the waves come in. Older children will probably enjoy boogie boarding.

Frisbees-We always take frisbees to our beach outings as well. Running to catch the frisbee in the sand is totally different than the same activity on grass.

 Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Letter crafts- Write alphabet letters, spelling words, or messages in dry or wet sand.

Other craft ideas- Collect items from the beach (if you’re allowed) such as seabird feathers, shells, kelp, and sand. 

Tigger collects shells on the beach.

Tigger collects shells on the beach.


You could also include copies of pictures that were taken during the beach trip in your collection. At home, use these items to make a collage or scrapbook of beach memories. Or they can cut out pictures from magazines and old workbooks to make a collage.

Kona created this after our beach trip.

Kona created this after our beach trip.

Videos-  There are plenty of videos online that can be used before or after your beach trip to explain natural phenomenon. My husband discussed wind currents with the grands during our beach trip, so we found several videos when we returned home for the grands to watch for more information.

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips Going to the beach is of course a field trip itself, but if you happen to go to a beach that has a nature museum, ship museum, or a tidepool, that would be a bonus!

Outdoor Scavenger Hunt- Before going to the beach, create a scavenger hunt and take it with you. It could include items such as seagulls, waves, shells, kelp, and any other natural item that might be found at the beach to which you will travel. Use a checklist or pictures to help the children in your care search for these items. Sometimes, I have my grandsons use my cell phone to take pictures of items they find on the scavenger hunts (which can later be used for the collage activity mentioned in the “Spatial” section).

    Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play- Before going to the beach with young ones, it may be a good idea to do some dramatic play together about the beach trip so the children know what to expect. You might include these ideas in your dramatic play: packing a lunch, laying out a beach towel, walking in the sand, looking for the lifeguard stations, dipping toes in the water and running back to the beach towel, etc.

Packing a lunch- The grands always want to help when I pack food for our trips so we all work together on it. I help all the grands as they make their own sandwiches (usually pbj or turkey and cheese). It is a great bodily-kinesthethic activity to have the grands spread their own butter, jelly, or mayo on the bread. As you have them cut the sandwiches, you can discuss fractions as well. Besides sandwiches, the grands like to spread peanut butter on celery sticks, and slice the strawberries. As you pack your items in a cooler, explain the reasons these foods need to be kept cool.

Kona slices strawberries to pack for our lunch.

Kona slices strawberries to pack for our lunch.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Independent reading– The grands love to look over the books we have previously read together on their own time. For example, we take beach books with us for the car ride to the beach.

Sand PlayTake sand toys with you when you go to the beach and allow each child a chance to work on a sand project by themselves, whether it be a sandcastle, a moat, or other structure.

Individual Reflections-Before leaving the beach, have the children close their eyes for a minute or so and use their five senses to enjoy the beach. Afterwards, ask each child about their favorite sense experience.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

Finger plays and songs- The grands and I have been learning “Down by the Bay”, “Five Little Fishies in the Sea” and “Surfin’ U.S. A.” There are so many other songs that can be discovered online as well. I found other ideas at this website:


Listening to Classical Music- There are several classical pieces of music with ocean or beach themes such as Claude Debussy’s La Mer or Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes. Ask the children if they can hear the ocean in the music as they listen.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence suggestions useful as you plan activities for the children in your care. If you would like to see more about Multiple Intelligence teaching strategies, you can become a follower of this blog.


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