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20 Fun Island Activities for Kids

Right now, it’s 2 degrees outside and I am *wishing* for a day at the beach.

Anyone else with me?

There’s nothing more fun that turning a day on its heels and just totally doing the opposite of what’s around you.

Like ‘visiting an island’ instead of shoveling snow off the driveway 🙂

Not to mention, it’s fun to interject a little sunlight into these long, cold winter days.

So close the shades, ignore the winter weather and host an Island Day with the kids.  We’ve got movies, books, activities and some fun food ideas that will have you basking in the sun in no time!


Island Activities for Kids

(and parents too!)

No matter what you’re age, everyone will enjoy an Island theme day!  Get in the mood with some of these fun options, recipes and activities.  We’re also including affiliate links for your information and convenience to make a few items easier to find.


Decide Where You Will Go

Islands can be found all over the world in both the northern and southern hemispheres.  There are quite a number of famous islands with names that may be recognized by kids — Fiji, Crete, Hawaii, Ireland and Iceland are just a few. 

Try locating a few islands on your map or globe.  Ask the kids which they would like to visit (my choice:  the Galapagos Islands!)  If you don’t have a map or globe in the house, check out our tips in Why Every Home Needs a Map!


Get set up for some Fun & Sun

Island hopping is no fun in jeans and a sweater! Get into the island mood by wearing summer clothes – let the kids wear bathing suits if they want (you may have to turn the heat up a bit — but those kiddos always seem to be able to stay warmer than I can 😉

If you plan to watch a movie or read a book, set up a few beach towels which can also serve as a great ‘picnic blanket’ for a fun snack (see our list below).

And if you have any Hawaiian Leis around the house (those Hawaiian flower necklaces), put them on too.  Or print these free paper Lei flowers from First Palette and make your own lei!


Plan Some Sunny Snacks

One thing I love about these snack ideas is that the ingredients are available in the winter (including the fresh fruit options)!

Pinapples, mangos, bananas & kiwi are all fun island fruits.  Try a few of these great recipes for a healthy snack:

If you’re looking for a easy-to-clean-up option, a snack mix of banana chips, dried fruit and macadamian nuts (most stores have a mix like this) is great too!

And serve drinks in glasses with little umbrellas or fun Umbrella Straws!


Enjoy a Movie

 Escape to your own tropical retreat with some of these great films —

Nim’s Island is a fun movie about the adventures of a girl and her father, who live on an unknown island.  It’s based on a book (shown below) so consider doing a read-aloud with the kids.  It’s also available online at Nim’s Island on Amazon Instant Video There’s also a follow-up version too — Return to Nim’s Island.


Introduce your kids to one of the original ‘island’ tv shows, Gilligan’s Island.  No matter what your age, there’s lots to laugh at with Gilligan, Ginger, the Skipper & Mary Anne!


Disney’s Swiss Family Robinson is a timeless classic about a family who gets shipwrecked on an unknown island.  Wild animals, pirates and lots of creative imagination!  The original survival movie for kids 🙂


Curl up for a Reading Picnic

Enjoy storytime with an island theme — here are a number of great books for kids of all ages!


The Little Island by Margaret Wise Brown explores the life of a little island.

 The Island of the Skog by Steven Kellogg tells the story of a group of mice who decide to leave the city and live on an island. 

My Little Island by Frane Lessac is a Reading Rainbow book and a beautiful story about an island that’s home to a volcano.

Babar and his family are shipwrecked on a desert island in Babar on Paradise Island, a beautiful new book in the series!


Chapter books with island adventures (great as read-alouds or for kids ages 7 – 11):


Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr is a must read before watching the movie by the same name.  It’s a very short chapter book.

The crew from the A to Z Mysteries series explores The Invisible Island – this is a great series for kids who enjoy mysteries that aren’t too scary.

A classic, The Boxcar Children’s Surprise Island by Gertrude Chandler Warner has the Alden kids finding all kinds of surprises on a island close to home.

Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson is a GREAT fantasy read (kids who love “Harry Potter” will really enjoy this author) about a hidden island, magical creatures and kidnapped kids!

Abel’s Island, a Newbery Award & Honor Book, is a wonderful story about a little mouse who is swept away from his wife and has to survive on an island while trying to find a way home.


 For Older Kids interested in amazing island adventures, we’d recommend:  


Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell is a survival tale about a 12-year-old girl who escapes hunters and is stranded alone on an island.

The first book in Gordon Korman’s Island series (titled Shipwreck) tells of 6 kids who are stranded at sea and must work together.  We’re sure your kids will ask to read the next 2 books in the triology as soon as they finish this one!


Island Crafts & Activities

Paint Seashells — the kids will love decorating some of the shells they’ve collected from past beach trips!  Here’s a great post on how to paint sea shells from Fun-a-Day.  Don’t have any shells of your own?  You can find them at a local craft store or online — here’s one set: Sea Shells In Bag.

What’s an island day without some water fun!  Head to a local indoor pool or splash park.  If you don’t have a pool available, try letting the kids ‘swim’ in the bathtub!

I also love this Make Your Own Pirate Map activity!  Tons of creativity and a great follow-up activity for many of the books & movies on our list.

Or if it’s warm enough to venture outdoors, the kids will love this free printable Treasure Hunt Adventure found at Free Homeschool Deals!

Test out some science with this fun Will it Sink or Float? activity too!  Use items from around the house or things that you might find on a island.




Enjoy your day in the sun!



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