Outdoor play has long been regarded as the ideal environment for kids to get down to the business of actually being children. Freed from the confines of the house, and away from all things technological, the outdoors brings with it a sense of adventure, and a place to best practice and master motor skills such as running, jumping, catching, skipping in addition to all the sensory play options available in the big wide world.
Escaping to the beach, is just one of the very many outdoor areas you can take your kids to for free, and for many is one of natures greatest gifts.
Here are some great activities for some fun on the beach:
1. Nature walk
The beach isn't just for sunbaking and swimming, and some smaller kids don't actually enjoy swimming in the sea. Whatever your reason, a walk along the beach can be a really enjoyable adventure, especially if you stop to listen to the waves, to watch the surfers, to look at the seagalls. Try to pick out as many things as you can on your walk. Perhaps you spot a bird you don't recognise; take a picture of it, and then look it up when you get home.
2. Chasing bubbles
The beach invariably has a beautiful coastal breeze, and so can be a perfect place to chase bubbles along the sand.
3. Writing in the sand
This one's easy. Grab a stick (or use your finger) head to the moist sand near the water and write whatever you fancy. You could write your names, you could draw your family, you could even get your child to draw around you as you lie down. It's lots of fun, and helps with fine tuning motor skills.
Footprints in the sand
The beach is a great place to explore. Look for rock pools, look for sea life in the ocean and of course look for shells. A close eye should always be kept on little ones, and adults should always check what is in a rock pool first (dangers do lurk in our waters). Getting a sense of adventure into kids is a great way to help build up their confidence. Kids might enjoy taking a little net with them.
Explore and look at the wildlife around the beach
Many beaches make a perfect spot for a dip in the ocean. Look out for family friendly beaches and sheltered bays with little current. Ask for recommendations if you are not sure where to head.
Building sandcastles is so much fun for the young and young at heart. Bring some little flags with you if you want to really set off your masterpieces.
7. Digging for treasure
If you're taking spades down to the beach with you for sand castle creations, you may as well also have a dig for some treasure. Typically, we find hidden shells and these are our treasures, but the fun part of this is digging so deep that you then have a great hole to fill with water.
8. Touch play
Create a full on sensory experience for your litlte ones by gathering up bits and pieces from around the beach area for your litlte one to touch and feel. You can bring a blindfold with you for extra fun and see if they can guess what they are touching. There are so many objects you could use from a beach; think of sea weed, shells, bark, sand, water,
9. Games on the beach
If you just want some light hearted fun on the beach, or if it's a Winter's day and swimming isn't an option, then take some balls with you to the beach and have a game. Easy options are beach cricket, soccer, catch and frisbee.
10. Take the beach home with you
Some kids are sad when their time at the beach is finished. Particularly if the beach isn't close to you and therefore not something you'd do every week. However, the fun doesn't have to end at your visit. Instead, take home some beach memorabillia with you and create your own beach at home through craft. Just grab a piece of card and stick on some sand and shells and even bits of dried sea weed and you'll have your own little beach in no time.