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Crabbing with children is lots of fun. It is an easy and cheap way to entertain them for long periods of time. It is also an activity which is enjoyed by children of any age (including adults) so the whole family can join in!

Want to go crabbing with children?

Here are 4 simple steps to ensure a successful crabbing trip!


1. Find a good spot for crabbing with children

On many beaches you will find rock pools when the tide is out. These are great places to find crabs.

Harbours are also great for crabbing, but will not always be suitable for younger children if there is a drop and deep water. You also need to check signs, as some parts of a harbour can be private where crabbing is not allowed.

2. Bring the right equipment

You will need a crabbing set , a net, a bucket and some bait. 

There are several crabbing sets on the market.

For older children we recommend:

Crabbing lines with a small bait bag attached

crabbing line with bait bag

Buy here

Using this kind of crabbing set is lots of fun, as the crabs hang on to the outside of the net when you pull the line up.

Chances are the crab will let go before you reach the bucket, so you will need to bring a net on a stick as well.

Teamwork might be needed here as well, as it is more of a challenge to actually get the crab in the bucket. But hey, that also makes it more exciting!

For young children we recommend:

Crabbing lines with a drop net 

This is basically a line with a net attached. You attach the bait to a clip inside the net and lift the net up every so often to see if you have caught something. Or in clear water, you can watch the crabs get to the bait.

As the crabs are already in the net when you pull the line, it’s a good set for younger children who might find it frustrating seeing the crabs fall of the bait nets in the first sets mentioned. It also avoids hanging over the edge trying to put a net under the crabbing set, which makes this a safer alternative.


Nets are not just handy for crabbing. I bring a net on many outdoor activities, as they are useful for pond dipping, bug hunting, frog catching and lots more!

You can sometimes buy equipment near your destination, though we recommend being prepared, to avoid disappointment or a frenzied shopping trip on your day out!


You can use any kind of bucket for crabbing. It’s fun to have a look through bucket, so you can have a good look at your catch, but this is not necessary.


Crabs have a great sense of smell and are scavengers. This means they like meat and fish. It’s best raw, but does not need to be a prime piece. Cut offs and left overs are fine, though they won’t touch it if it is off!

3. Look after the crabs you catch

  • Crabs are delicate. Handle with considerate care.
  • Put seawater in the bucket rather than tap water.
  • Add some seaweed and pebbles to the bucket.
  • Limit the number of crabs in your bucket.

4. The Crab Race!

Time to release the crabs. Why not have a crab race?!

Please don’t throw the crabs into water from a height. Instead find a spot not to far from the water’s edge, and tilt the bucket slowly to release the crabs.

Now it’s time to choose your winner crab! Is your chosen crab going to be first back in the water?

Crabbing with children

Adventure Family Experience: Hobbs Family

Adventure Family Go Outside and Play Hobbs Family

The Hobbs Family
Adventure Family Experience

We often go crabbing with the children.  Sometimes we go crabbing by a harbour where the water is not too deep. You can then see the crabs nibbling the bait.

We use a crab line for this. We have several store bought ones but we have also made our own in the past. You can make a crabbing line with some line and a peg. You ‘peg’ the bait and wait for the crabs to bite.

Other times we catch crabs in rock pools on the beach.  Especially when our eldest children were young. You just  need a  net for this, or if you are brave enough you can pick the crabs up by holding either side of the shell.

The best place for crabbing where we have been so far are: Lymington Harbour and Buckler’s Hard in Hampshire. West Witterings in West Sussex and St Margaret’s Bay in Kent.



Do you want to get more ideas of days out with the children? Read our 10 Great Free Outdoor Things to do with Kids.

And should you need convincing of the benefits of outdoor play, then this article is for you.


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