Kids and the beach seem like an obvious combo. In the history of great duos it can even be argued that this one is up there with “peanut butter and jelly” and “Kermit the Frog and Ms. Piggy”. It’s a great way to get the kids out into the open air and away from their screens. During a Pandemic year when most of the world is still dealing with Lockdowns the beach is a healthy and entertaining place to be.
There are countless things to do, of course, on the beach. So it’s helpful to think of them in categories: Nature, Art, beachside activities, water activities, and relaxation. Five categories and lots to do in each one. Don’t feel like you have to do them all in one day – get out to the beach as much as you can and take your time. It’s good for the body and soul.
We all feel better when we can shed the crowds and breath in Mother Nature for a few hours. Some things to do:
- Go shell seeking and sort all those beautiful shells into whatever collections strike your fancy.
- All kinds of little sea creatures use the tide pools to hunt, hide, and live in. Go exploring along the rocks and see how many you can spot.
- Start an observation journal of all you find during the course of the day.
- Build sandcastles and imagine the crabs will take it over and live in it once the humans go home.
The beach has a way of inspiring even the tiniest artists. Really, it inspires the artist inside all of us and major artists such as Dali, Picasso and Monet have all based works off of it. Give them some ideas to get started, and sit back and watch their minds, and imaginations at work.
- Photography – Hand your camera to your kids and see what they come up with. They may surprise you with original pictures from their point of view.
- Many beaches have beautiful pieces of driftwood just waiting to be found and re-purposed into innovative structures.
- Use creative methods with sticks to draw in the sand. Add stones and shells for decoration.
- Bring a watercolor set and a pad of paper and see what transpires.
3. Water Activities
Swimming is always the first step we take into the water. It can be an amazing experience for young and old in the ocean water with fish and waves all around. But sometimes it’s fun to incorporate some new activities too.
- Paddleboarding – There is nothing as simple and new as paddleboarding. It’s the fastest growing sport in the world with 130,000 people buying boards in the United States and Europe every year alone. It’s a fun activity for the whole family because it can be enjoyed on many different skill levels. For more information about paddleboarding, visit Paddleboards.com
- Body surfing- Commonly called Boogie Boarding (which is more fun to say) it’s simple and easier to do than traditional surfing because you lay flat on your belly and find the small waves close to the shore to ride on.
4. Beachside Activities
The beach is wide open and has plenty of people to get together for team sports. Perfect for a pick-up game of…..well, just about anything! If you can burn the kids’ energy efficiently with all (or some) of these activities you stand a better chance of succeeding with the final category – REST. Wear’em out and then let them sleep!
- Grab a ball and you can play a game of soccer with a few cones marking off the goal line. A ball and a net are all you need for a game of beach volleyball.
- Frisbee is easy and convenient because you only need one other person. Or, maybe you have a talented dog who loves catching that frisbee.
- Tug-a-war is an old-fashioned and fun game to play.
- Fly a kite on a windy day and enjoy the fact that the beach is the easiest place around to get a kite in the air with the constant air currents coming off the water.
- Water bucket relays is another old-timey game that younger kids love. Set up a course and have them run full buckets of water back and forth to see who wins. A spilt bucket means they start again from the beginning.
- Don’t be shy; bring a water-resistant speaker and start a dance party. Conga lines and limboing are completely allowed at the beach!
Mindfulness is gaining steady support in the mental health community these days. It’s scientifically proven that relaxing can have significant and tangible benefits beyond what was imagined a few decades ago. It’s true that your thoughts affect your body. Relieving stress has whole-body repercussions as the body settles back into a healthy balance. (Don’t forget the sunscreen)
– Bring a good book or magazine and let them take you away as you immerse yourself while reading.
– Most people do not get enough sleep and taking an afternoon nap can help you get the recommended 8 hours a day.
– Listening to the waves and birds can be healing. Science is catching up to why sound meditation is good for you, but you don’t need to wait for the report to simply close your eyes and let the relaxing sounds of nature put you at ease.
Being outdoors and being active are very important steps to a life-long habit of taking care of ourselves, our bodies, and our planet. Kids benefit by exercising and improving the basic body skills of balance and coordination, and they learn to love the natural environment. We can only hope this inspires them to take care of it as they grow. Our planet will need as many friends and defenders as it can get in the future.
It is never too soon to bring our kids outside and get them involved in a healthy lifestyle. Besides it’s fun for you and for them, and having fun is what the beach is all about!