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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Beach Vacations—How to make the most of the sun, surf and sand! by Trisha Roberts

Kids at the Beach


Ah…..the Beach!  Sun, Sand, Water, Waves. Who doesn’t love it?! But a good day at the beach can be a GREAT day at the beach with a few “tweaks”.

Caution--First Things First!                                                        

There are few things that will spoil a day at the beach more quickly than a bad sunburn. Even though we all know that sun protection is important, it bears repeating.  Make sure that you bring a water and sweat-resistant sun screen with an SPF of at least 25.  Apply it 20 minutes before heading out to the shore and re-apply it at least every hour.

Apply Sunscreen at the Beach
Use Sunscreen for a Happy Beach Time!

Importance of Sun Screen
Let Kids Participate in Application of Sun Screen

Take Turns!

Put a large-brimmed floppy hat on young children to keep the sun out of their eyes and protect their face from sunburn. 

Face Protection from the Sun using a Large Hat
Protect Baby's Eyes and Skin with a Hat!

Floppy Hat for Sun Protection
Floppy Hat to Shade Baby's Face

Kids Sunglasses are important
Don't Forget the Sunglasses!


Sunglasses for the whole family
Sunglasses for Everyone!

Have Sunglassses for Each Family Member


 Make sure that your children stay hydrated.

Stay hydrated at the beach

                       Have lots of fresh drinking water available and offer it frequently. 

If you have a beach umbrella, it is worth taking.  If you are lucky enough to arrive at the beach when there is still a selection of "spots", try to choose one with partial shade. There are creative ways to give yourself additional shade and protection.

Beach Umbrella provides added relief from the sun
Take a Beach Umbrella!

Additional ways to provide Shade at the Beach
Creative Ways to Supply Extra Shade at the Beach


Playing at the beach is great fun and it can be an exceptional learning experience as well. Sand is a wonderful sculpting medium, as anyone who has ever made a sand castle can confirm. 

Sculpting Sand at the Beach
Sand Castles--Classic Beach Fun!

Creative Beach Play
Creative Fun in the Sand

Sand and Water Toys
Sand and Water Toys

Taking along a few sand tools can make the adventure that much richer, as well as some of the items mentioned here. (sunscreen, beach umbrella, sheet, beach toys, Frisbee, Beach Ball, Kite)

First Time At the Beach--Creating BEACH BABIES!

Most children love the feel of sand and water; they find pleasure in letting it run through their fingers and relish the feel all over their body.  But there are kids who have negative reactions to different textures (Tactile Defensiveness).  If your baby or child is experiencing sand play for the first time, it is advisable to introduce them slowly to the new encounter and sensation. 

Make an oasis for baby using a sheet on the sand
Make an "OASIS" with a large Sheet
start slowly with sand and beach
Start Slowly and Make it Fun!

 Bring a large sheet (I prefer this to a standard beach towel or blanket as it is easier to clean because the sand doesn’t cling to the fabric as readily) and place your baby or child in the middle of the sheet.  Sit near the edge of the sheet and let your little one watch you play with the sand.  They will be curious and will probably crawl or move closer to get involved in your activity. If they don’t stick their hands into the sand, sprinkle a little sand on their hand or arm and watch their reaction. If they don’t like the sensation, don’t force the issue.  They can play happily in the middle of the sheet without direct contact in the sand.  Let the sheet be their oasis—they can travel to the desert if they get adventurous. Going slowly this first time can make a diference for a lifetime--Make it a Great First Experience!

Use Sand as a Positioning Assist

If your young baby is not yet able to sit alone, you can remove sand under the sheet to make a small crater the size of your child’s bottom and sit them in the hollowed out area.  Push the sand up around their pelvis and trunk as needed to give them sufficient support to sit without your aid. 

Position and support baby at the beach using sand
Scoop out sand and place baby in the indentation.  Perfect Positioning and Support!

They will play happily for long stretches of time if you place toys within their reach.  Sand can also be used to prop children in a prone on elbows position or supported hands and knees position—mound sand under the sheet into a roll the approximate size of the space between your child’s arm pits and groin.  Place the baby on their tummy over the mounded sand with their hands and knees on either side of the hump; this will give them support under their trunk and allow them to bear weight through their hands and knees while playing.

Benefits of Sand Play

Squatting during Play improves leg strength and control
Improve Social Interactions

Older children will love digging and measuring sand, making sand castles, and creating mud pies.  Bring a variety of rakes, buckets, shovels, sand sifters, and watering pails. Challenge children to dig the deepest hole they can.  Or make the highest hill of sand possible. Children have the opportunity to improve their Cooperative Play and Social Interaction Skills.  
Cooperative Play in the sand Improves Social Interactions
Cooperative Play at the Beach

Kids who have low muscle tone or need strengthening will not realize how much exercise they are getting when you give them buckets to fill with sand or water to carry from one part of the Sand Castle to another. (Remember--a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds!)

Improve Lower Extremity strength by playing in a squatting position
Playing in a Squat Position Improves Strength

Repeatedly moving from a squat position to standing will build strength in the thighs and buttocks (quadriceps muscles and gluteal muscles) as children rake, dig, and move around their sand masterpieces. 

Smooth wet sand and use a stick or finger to draw or write.

Improve Hand strength and control by drawing in the sand at the Beach

Handwriting Practice at the Beach in the Sand with a stick

 What a great way to practice fine motor skills and handwriting!  

Kids running on the sand at the beach
Running on Sand is a Great Strengthening Activity!

Running along the beach is fun and a good exercise
Running through the Water and Waves

Running on wet sand is challenging, as is running through the water at calf-height.  It is a great workout and strength-builder!  
Kids Parachute Games on the Beach
Kids Parachute Games on the Beach
Kid Flying a Kite at the Beach
Kite on the Beach

Consider taking along a beach ball, Frisbee,
Parachute or Kite to encourage additional active play.

Finally, and most importantly, Have Fun! 

 The Memories you Make Today will Last a Lifetime!

Author:  Trisha Roberts

Copyright © 2016 TNT Inspired Enterprise, LLC, All rights reserved.

Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.


  1. Nice ideas. Some of my fondest memories were playing with our kids at the beach!

  2. I agree! Whether at the Ocean or Lake, Beach time is Great! Make it a Memorable Event!