There is no better way to celebrate a summer birthday than by throwing a beach party. The activities are built in, you won’t have to do any cleanup before or after, and the opportunities for themes kids love are endless, from pirates to mermaids to fish to whales. With just a little advance planning and preparation, you can invite all of your child’s friends over for a day that is sure to be more than just fun in the sun.

Three to four weeks before the party

Plan the location and send invitations. Some beaches have picnic areas that require reservations or gathering permits; Make the necessary phone calls to confirm. Choose a parking lot or landmark that guests can use to help locate your party once they arrive. If you’ve selected a theme and colors for your child’s party, an invitation is a great way to give guests a sneak peek. Include reminders for guests to bring a towel and sunscreen, beach chairs if picnic tables are not available, and tools to build sandcastles.

Plan the menu

Simple snacks will be the order of the day, but start gathering ideas and recipes now. Choose things that stay tasty and fresh at room temperature.

Plan activities

The beach is ideal for foot races, sack races, sandcastle building contests, and obstacle courses. You can create sand plaster molds of their hands or feet, or plan a piñata activity, creating it with the theme of the party in mind.

Plan beach decorations and gifts

Paper lanterns strung over picnic tables, some colorful beach blankets, and a bow or stake to hang your piñata are probably all you need. If you’re planning a sand toss activity, that will make a treasured party favor; otherwise, something simple and fun, like an inflatable beach ball or a colorful pinwheel, is perfect.

One to three days before

It’s time to go shopping

Shop for food, snacks and drinks, plus game or activity supplies, decorations and party favors. Make sure you have enough plates, cups, and utensils that are ready for the outdoors. It’s a great idea to have things like a roll of paper towels and a box of baby wipes nearby to help clean your hands after eating and a bottle of sunscreen in case the kids forget or go swimming for too long. Weather.

Start preparing food

Start with anything that can be made ahead of time, like cutting up fruits and vegetables and baking cupcakes or sandcastle cakes (keep them refrigerated until the day of the party). The day before the party, make and chill lemonade using an easy recipe. Make sure you have enough bowls for chips and other snacks.

Party day

Finish the meal prep

Fill a cooler with an ice pack and any treats that need to be kept cold until it’s time to eat, like cheese, hummus, or cut up fruit. Frost and decorate cupcakes, or add decorations to the top of sandcastle cakes. Make sure you have birthday candles somewhere in the bags you bring to the party.

Prepare the location on the beach

About an hour before the guests arrive, go to the party venue and start preparing for the party. Arrange balloons, hang paper lanterns under picnic table umbrellas, and set out plates and utensils so kids can help themselves to food. Set out a cup filled with your decorated straws, if you’re using them, and hang your piñata.

Prepare the games and activities for the beach party

If you’re hosting sack races, mark where the start and finish lines will be. Prepare a table with the materials for your sandcasts. You may want to set up an area for the kids to spread out beach blankets and towels, so they can sit after swimming or while eating (if you don’t have picnic tables).

Organize an end time for the beach party

If parents are dropping off their kids at your party, be sure to communicate with them about when you plan to pick them up so they don’t miss out on any of the fun. You should always be aware of the collection of waste or garbage that can be generated during the party. A good plan is to end the party by having all the children help clean up as a game to preserve the environment.