You're not swimming today? Then go and play in the sand!
Is it possible that someone living at the seaside comes up with: “We took our kids to the beach last year, and we didn’t have time to go there again later. Yeah, the water was cold, and we didn’t swim, we just played in the sand…” I was shocked. How come that in 365 days, you go to the beach only once even though it’s there under your nose? I know that we’re all in a rush, having things to do. But if you have the beach and the sea right out there, why missing them, even when the day is not for swimming?
Whenever I have time, but also when I don’t, I take my kids to the beach. No matter whether it is the beach at the sea, lake, river or if it’s good for swimming or not. I often get up earlier in the morning before I go to work, and I wake them up so that they could spend at least an hour at the beach, in the sand.
Because when I’m in the sand, I can be a child again, and play with my children. On the other hand, sand beaches are a blessing for the clever little fingers of your children or, as experts would say, for developing “fine motor skills”, and therefore for encouraging and developing of their intellect. That is why, if you have a beach nearby, and the water is not warm enough for swimming or splashing, you can play with your children in the sand. No, you don’t need any toys! The little fingers and imagination are all you need!
These are some of many beach activities I do with my two-year-old little fish and three-year-old little shark:
We build: It happens that whenever we get at the beach when the weather is not quite good for swimming, the first thing we do is digging a hole, or two and sometimes we make three and then connect them with a bridge and roads. We make sand towers of the wet sand and now we started making cookies. We usually mix something, we dig, build. It’s true that the sand gets into our ears, hair and nose, but what matters is the feeling.
We draw: With drawing or writing in the sand you keep those little fingers busy all the time and this helps them intensify the tactile stimulations which are important for their later development. What do we draw? Most often, we draw what we see at the moment, those are usually fish, the sun, jellyfish washed ashore, snails.. Also, I often draw them a hopscotch court and then write in the numbers using their fingers. The best feeling is to hop from one leg onto the other. Apart from learning numbers, with the hopscotch and the first hops we slowly start with the children’s plyometrics developing agility and muscle elasticity in children.
We decorate: Once we finish our masterpiece, we always do the decoration part. Sand beaches usually don’t have any pebbles, but in the shallows there’re always some shells we can use for decoration of our drawings. This is how children always are busy arranging, rearranging, filling in the holes, uneven parts of the sand drawings. The important part is to keep those little fingers busy.
We bring, we take: Each parent has to go through the phase of “bringing the water”, filling the beach buckets, pouring the water into the sand and doing so for more than a thousand times, to bring and take. With myself included. When you don’t have any toys, however, it’s much easier, and much more interesting for everyone. It’s enough to show your kids how to bring handfuls of water to the desired place. Apart from making your kinds involved in the task itself, you will also develop their patience when they are left only with a couple of drops in their hands, even after one step they make, not to mention physical exercising!
We touch: I love the most when we find a crab at the beach, or a snail or shells having their “tenants” and give them to the kids to touch and feel them. Of course, I always have a good story made up in advance for each one of those. That’s how we usually come across shells that moonbathe at night, which is the reason why they’re black and closed during the day, a colourful pebble which has fallen down from Jupiter to this shallow water and the beach where we’re swimming, a crab that has grown big and now is searching for a bigger home…
That’s why, if you are not swimming today, then at least you should go and play.
Develop fine motor skills in children at the beach as well.