Hunting for seashells is likely one of your children’s favorite beach trip activities. Seashell hunting is a fun (and budget-friendly) way to keep the whole family entertained and learn about marine life with your kids.
Seashells, when collected responsibly, are a fantastic souvenir or gift to bring back from your trip—and even better, they are totally unique. Below, we outline our best tips for collecting seashells safely and responsibly.
Bring the right gear
What makes seashell hunting fantastic is that the only truly essential to have is curiosity and a keen eye. However, there are some additional things that you can bring to make scavenging for shells a lot easier and safer for the whole family. Be sure to pack your kid a pair of water shoes, polarized sunglasses, a mesh bag for collecting the shells, and even this scavenger hunt checklist that can help them learn about the marine life they are exploring!
Early bird gets the worm
If you (and your kids) can wake up early enough, hunting for seashells during sunrise is one of the best times to do so. You get to watch a sunrise, your kids are able to find the coolest seashells, and the beach usually isn’t yet crowded by hordes of tourists. During this time, the sun normally isn’t as hot and tides are lower, which makes being at the beach safer as well. If you can, the best time to hunt for shells is the morning after a storm, since the rough water washes even more shells up to shore.
Search the wet sand
Many times, the best shells can be found below the wrack line, where the sand is wet. Shells, kelp, and various other sea life are primarily deposited in this area during the night high tide. If your kids are searching higher up on the beach, the shells will not be as vibrant and could be bleached from the sun.
Leave no stone unturned
When searching for seashells, sometimes the best places to look are in the places you don’t expect. Try searching for nearby boulders and logs to look under—your kids could find some awesome, unusual shells that haven’t been picked up yet.
Take care of your shells
Once your child is happy with their seashell collection, the next step is to properly clean them so you can see their true beauty. First, you should soak them to remove debris and dirt—but be sure not to bleach them, as this could ruin their vibrancy. If you would like, you can use an old toothbrush to remove any grit or dirt from the shells during this time as well. Let the shells soak for a week, and be sure to thoroughly dry them afterward so your kids can really appreciate their unique natural beauty.
Ready to start hunting for seashells? Print out this seashell scavenger hunt to bring with you on your next beach trip. In the meantime, try downloading these seashell flashcards so your child can learn all about the types of shells before you go to the beach!