As the weather turns cooler and wetter, and the days become shorter, the beach is not usually the first place of choice for holidaymakers or day-trippers. However, families wanting to spend some fun, action packed, healthy time together, will love the myriad of options that a day at the beach can offer.
Pack away your beach bikini! Autumn and winter days may call for sand based activities rather than the water-based pursuits of summer. Organised or impromptu, games such as treasure hunts, finding crabs, running races, sand sculptures will keep the family occupied while filling their lungs with fresh, sea air.
Pop a pair of kids swimmers in your bag just incase, and rug up with a hat and scarf to embark on a treasure hunt. Either draft a map before you leave home, or mark out your clues on the sand. Treasures for hiding could include chocolate coins or pretend jewels. Add to the authenticity of the hunt, dress the kids in bandanas and eye patches. Give them an activity to do before receiving the next clue- 20 x star jumps for example – and they will warm up and work off that chocolate before finding more!
Searching for Sea life Game
Hours can be lost searching for sea life at the beach. Check your local tide chart, and head for the water’s edge at low tide to have your best chance of finding sea creatures. Walking across the rocks, looking in the crevices and watching for movement, children are educated and enthralled. Search for crabs, mollusks, jellyfish and interesting seaweed types.
I don’t know where the energy comes from, but considering the kids will still have some left following their crab and treasure search, it might be time to start some running races.
Depending on the numbers of children, relays can be fun as team races encourage full participation and enthusiasm. For just a couple of kids though, give them a start and finish point and consider including a challenge. Hopping on the left leg or side stepping there and back will keep it interesting and assist in co-ordination and strength. As it is a soft landing, the sand is the perfect base crazy races.
As parents, we are reminded to use every day opportunities to teach our children. A trip to the beach in any season then, can be educational. Using a shell, a stick or your finger, encourage the little people to write words, letters and numbers in the sand. Play nougats and crosses, hangman or even draw shapes, the learning at pre-school and big school can be re-enforced in a fun, play based way during your day at the beach.
Sand castles / sculptures
While a sea sculpture might sound too professional a creation to attempt, sand castle building is for everyone. For an organized attempt, give each child the name of something to build. Or to muck in together – way more fun in my opinion – just start digging. Big castles with moats and tunnels built close to the waters edge are once again a learning lesson as the moat fills with the ebb and flow of the tide.
As Andy Warhol once said “Art is what you can get away with”, so don’t let the word “sculpture” put you off. Collect anything from the beachfront to build yourself a sea sculpture. Twigs, seaweed, driftwood, and shells in all their forms combine to make a delightful representation of the seaside. Leave it behind for all to admire and enjoy.
Misty and moody, the beach can be a magical place in the cooler months. Rug your family up and discover the delights waiting for you at the foreshore during Autumn and Winter.