Ten Best Beach Books for Young Children

Summer vacation is upon us — HOORAY! We’ll be loading up the van and heading down to the beach in Florida soon. We’re pulling out all of our favorite beach and ocean books to get ready.

Want to create your own unit study on beaches and ocean life? I’ll give you our list of favorites.

1.Beach Day

Brightly colored illustrations along with bouncy verses about a summer day at the beach will start your vacation off on the right flip flop! Add to your fun with some coloring pagesor dot to dots. Ages 3-6.

2.What Lives in a Shell?

Perfect for preschoolers up to second grade, this book explores snails, turtles, clams and crabs. Beautiful watercolor illustrations make the story come alive.

With some help, your children could try a 3-D turtle craft on for size.

3.Commotion in the Ocean

One of our favorite books, the colorful illustrations and short, peppy rhymes here will hold your children’s attention as they learn about sea animals. Recomended for preschoolers through second graders.

Try your hand at a textured starfish – just paint using this template on construction paper or cardstock, then add sand while the paint is still wet.

4.Over in the Ocean

Part verse, part fingerplay, part I Spy – this adorable book would be a welcome addition to your beach collection! The verses in the book can be sung to the tune of “Over the Meadow” for more fun! Ages 4-8.

Create your own tissue paper seahorse craft for this book – start with the seahorse template, printed on cardstock or construction paper. Give your little ones a small cup of Elmer’s glue, along with cut up squares of tissue paper and a paintbrush. They can apply the glue with the brush, then add the tissue paper for their own masterpiece.

5.Mister Seahorse

My children love this story of the Daddy seahorse, taking care of his babies. I was amazed at all of the other sea creatures we learned about that also take the primary responsibility of caring for their young.

Do your children love Do-A-Dot Markers? We were able to find an do a dot activity page to match the seahorse book. These pages can also be used with round magnets. (be careful with younger children – choking hazard!) Want to work on handwriting and counting? Check out the baby seahorse math sheet.

6.How to Hide an Octopus

Want to show your children how animals camouflage themselves? The beautiful illustrations here introduce use to a sea dragon, octopus, crabs, pipefish and more.

Work on fine motor skills with this octopus craft. Print the octopus on cardstock, then let children glue cheerios on to create the octopus suckers. Great way to work on counting, too!

7.Hello Ocean

Have you talked about the five senses? This book follows a young girl to the ocean, where she uses her senses to enjoy her visit. Keep your kids busy with ocean mazes, or fish number cards.

8.The Seashore Book

Are you heading to the beach for the first time with your family? This book, where a mother describes the ocean to her young son, would be perfect for you. Ages 3-8

Work on writing with a simple fish practice letter sheet, or work on a clown fish color by letter.

9.A House for Hermit Crab

Eric Carle graces this list twice -he’s been a treasured favorite in our house for over 10 years!

This delightful book not only teaches us about different sea creatures such as anenomes, coral, sea snails and more; but reminds readers of the exciting possibilities that abound with a move.

Keep your readers entertained with more hermit crab activities, such as a do a dot page, as well as letter matching cards.

10. Curious George Goes to the Beach

My boys adore Curious George stories! Follow George and the man with the yellow hat as they travel to the beach for the day.

Finish up your beach unit study with a more permanent sand castle craft – great for preschoolers!

This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesdays, Works for Me Wednesdays, and Wordful Wednesdays.

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Even on vacation, Dianna is sure to pack plenty of books! You can read more from her at The Kennedy Adventures, where she talks about homeschooling, raising twins, and teaches others about her faith. You can also find her wasting time on Twitter.

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Dianna Kennedy
Dianna Kennedy is the mother of six, writing at The Kennedy Adventures. She shares resources for Catholic homeschooling, including printable Rosary cards for children and Saint Fun Fact Cards. Connect with her on G+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.


  1. says

    Thanks for this list – we are enjoying a summer theme of beaches & sea creatures… many of these books will fit right in!

  2. Carmen says

    Out of the Ocean by Debra Frasier is one of our favorite beach books. Thanks for the book list. We live close to the beach and plan to go there often this summer. I’m planning to check these books out at the library. Enjoy your beach days. May they all be sunny ones :)

  3. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this list and the activities too!

    I just reserved a few of the books at our library!


  4. Liz says

    These look great! Although it’s right in the middle of winter down here (in Australia), we are always excited to read about the beach! There are some lovely books here I haven’t heard of and some favorites (like Curious George and Commotion in the Ocean!). One of my favorite beach books is called Magic Beach by Alison Lester, it’s really stunning!

  5. says

    Thanks for this list. We have been fishing up hermit crabs at the beach this summer and I’m looking for as many titles as possible to check our local library for to supplement our explorations. This list is helpful.


  1. […] When it’s just too darn hot to hit the great outdoors, check out your local library or bookstores. Many will have summer programs for children, including storytimes, crafts and more. Looking for some summertime book ideas? Don’t miss my ocean and beachy themed post. […]