Going to the Beach

Everyone loves the beach!  Whether you swim and play ball all day, or prefer to lie in the shade with music, munchies and magazines, nothing says summer and relaxation like a day at the beach.  To complement our book flight of beach books for the whole family, we thought we’d list our top 5 favorite things to do at the beach that everyone in the family can do together.  (Assuming that suntanning is verboten and swimming is a given!)

1.  READ – Yes, that’s probably an obvious pick for a book-centric site!  But it’s good to remember that reading is a fun break for everyone, whether it’s a magazine, a board book for some quiet time in the shade, or that family read-aloud while digesting the picnic lunch before you can swim again.

Need some suggestions?  Check out our beach books recommendations!

2.  Build a sandcastle.  With a moat! You’ll be surprised how engrossed the youngest to oldest in the family can get in this activity.   And bring some action figures (we like Smurfs!) to inhabit the castle.  If you need some inspiration of how an actual castle was constructed, peruse David MacAulay’s fabulous Castle.  And while this may seem like overkill, this sand-brick making set gets older kids as invested in the process as the little ones. (And it doubles as a snow-brick set in winter for fort building fun!)

3. Find something alive. Beaches are alive with more than tourists! Even at the most crowded beach there are tadpoles in the water and gulls begging for snacks.  And at rockier or more remote shores there are wonderful tide-pools filled with marine life.  Keep a running family journal of “living creatures we found at the beach” and look up information about the ones you’re not as familiar with once you get home.  (We’re always on the lookout for a reason for a trip to the library!)

4.  Fly a kite! Buy one, or make your own before you hit the beach.  There are some really easy instructions here, and everyone in the family can participate in the building and decorating of the family kite.

5.  Anyone for science? The very creative or scientific minded parent can probably come up with their own experiments or explanations.  For the rest of us, there’s a great book called Science in Seconds at the Beach by Jean Potter.  Some of these can be done at the beach, and some things can be observed there, and experimented with later at home.  In some cases, it’s just a great resource for parents who can’t remember 9th grade Earth Sciences classes, and need to bone up on a little reading to answer questions like “What causes waves?”,  “Why do the waves break”  or “Why does it seem like you can hear the ocean in sea shells?”

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