5 joys to rock pooling with teens

Newgale beach

There are so many joys to rock pooling with teens. Don’t get me wrong. I loved it when they were little and busy discovering nature for the first time. There is nothing quite like seeing something through their fresh eyes and hearing the excitement. So much glee, but, hands down, teenagers pip them to the post. They allow me to lose myself in discoveries too.

edited: I feel I should define what rock pooling is, for the benefit of anyone outside the UK. Rock pooling is the exploration of the little pools and their trapped creatures, once the sea tide has gone out. Usually the water is trapped by the surrounding rocks as a pool, thus the name rock pool or tide pools. It’s a traditional summer pastime in the UK, especially for children, but definitely not exclusively!

Rock pooling with teens

For one, I no longer worry or nag them about falling in. Thinking back, did they ever really need me to remind them every five minutes. If they were going to slip, it would probably happen anyway, whether I kept my silence or not.

Secondly, as teens, if they do get wet, it’s their problem. They’ll dry.

rock pooling with teens

Third joy of rock pooling with teens is that you no longer have to carry all their stuff. Oh my goodness, it added up. This includes dry/wet clothes and the inevitable beach finds. From this point on, anything I find months later in the depths of my pocket is totally on me. Sand and all.

red sea anemone
Red sea anemone

Fourth joy of rock pooling with teens is that they know more. Not everything is new. They know what a sea anemone looks like, whether it’s in the pool or left high and dry as the tide retreats. This leaves more time to look for the creatures which are rarer and more camouflaged, rather than counting every, single red blob on the beach.

Eldest teen paddling in the sea

Lack of tech

Fifth joy of rock pooling with teens….is seeing them totally diverted away from technology. Pre-secondary school, my children really had limited use of screens. Next to nothing. No phones or laptops of their own, but as teens they do. Extracting them gets harder. Seeing them on the beach, crouching by a rock pool and totally absorbed, reminded me of those early years. A real joy for me.

Teens climbing on rocks
Swimming out to look at the rocks at high tide


I wish we had had longer and I’d remembered my rock pool book. We spotted the usual periwinkles, hermit crabs, red sea anemones, crabs and common blenny fish. Also a sea hare which I’ve never seen before and, until I looked it up later, I mistook for a sea slug. The front tentacles are meant to look like hare’s ears, giving it its name. My photo was taken through slightly rippling water, but the “ears” are clear. They have an internal shell too.

Sea hare in rock pool
Sea hare in rock pool

Also found the most beautiful pink and green sea anemone. The ends of the tendrils have a pinky/purple colour. Really quite delicate and mesmerising in the water.

pink and green sea anemone
pink and green sea anemone


I loved the caves. There was a definite tide mark on the walls to about head height and I’ve seen photos of people kayaking into the caves, which must be fun. I’d love to do it one day. There were rock pools to be found in there too.

Newgale beach cave

The mini barnacles and muscles coat the walls making fascinating patterns, highlighting the changes in the cave wall surfaces. Just waiting for the tide to come in again and bring fresh food.

Mini muscles and barnacles

We really did enjoy exploring.

One last joy is sharing a passion for nature with my teens. They were even bolder than I was clambering over the rocks to find more rock pools. Sharing time with them and no one was bored or whinging. They were as enthusiastic as I was about searching the pools. I do love them being teenagers.

They even humour me when I show them dragons in the cave walls and funny muscle shells with mini barnacles for eyes.

Seriously. What’s not to love?

Muscle shell with barnacles

15 thoughts on “5 joys to rock pooling with teens

  • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 11:32 am

    hahaha! It is a lot of fun with older kids but I still keep warning them about slipping and falling in.
    It looks like everyone had great fun x

    • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 8:56 pm

      They are fun, aren’t they?

  • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Such wonderful photos! My kids loved rock pooling when they were younger and in the UK on holiday. I remember one occasion, probably quite stupidly, doing it when we were flying later on. I begged my youngest not to get wet… which of course he did!!!

    • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      It always happens! I hope they still have fond memories of rock pooling.

  • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 1:55 pm

    Gorgeous! I never heard the term rock pooling before in the U.S. We are going to California soon and I’m excited to do some rock pooling of my own. #MMBC

    • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 8:46 pm

      Hope you enjoy yourself.

  • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    I wasn’t sure what rock pooling was until I saw the photos. Discovering creatures in pools is great fun and now I have a phrase to describe it. #MMBC

    • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 8:46 pm

      I’ve added an explanation about rock pooling. It’s such a traditional activity in the UK, I forgot others may not use the term. Glad I could supply you with the term.

  • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    Ah those photos are wonderful – I love all your different finds and the mussel with the barnacles for ‘eyes’ made me smile. I’ve never heard of a sea hare before. Lovely to be able to spend time exploring yourself without having to worry about your teens and not having to carry all their stuff is a definite bonus! #MMBC

    • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 8:43 pm

      Sea hares were new to me too. I’d heard the name, but had no idea what they looked like. Interesting little creatures.

  • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    This was always one of my favorite family activities well through my teen years. Your view as an adult explains why my parents kept going and bringing a wide range of children in age.

    • Monday 13 September, 2021 at 8:37 pm

      There is so much to learn, I well imagine I’ll be still be peering into rock pools in my dotage.

  • Tuesday 14 September, 2021 at 7:30 am

    I love rockpooling and discovering different sea creatures. It’s a really fun (and free!) activity when you can get to a beach 🙂


  • Tuesday 14 September, 2021 at 4:16 pm

    My boys and I enjoy checking out the tide pools too! It is a fun way to get some free science learning into our day and get them away from their technology and screens.

  • Sunday 19 September, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    Rock pooling is awesome isn’t it?! I totally get how you can’t quite relax with the younger ones though. I’m that mum who nags the kids not to fall in, haha!
    Lovely pics. x

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