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Posts Tagged ‘beach activities for children’

10 Classic Summer Beach Games to Play With the Kids

Posted by Jody on June 25, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Writer is Emma Roberts of Summer Nanny:

A trip to the beach might be all about the sun and surf in theory, but that’s just not always the case when there are little ones in tow. Kids’ shorter attention spans make diversions necessary, even when they’re surrounded by the wonder of the crashing waves and acres of pristine sand. Instead of tossing out a pail and shovel for everyone to squabble over while you read a book, why not indulge in these 10 classic beach games for a bit of quality time with your brood over summer vacation?

Let's Play!

Let’s Play!

  • Volleyball – When the question of playing games on the beach is posed, volleyball is the first that comes to mind for many people. Many beaches even have nets already set up that are municipally maintained, so all you’ll have to bring is a ball. Be prepared, however, for a long wait for a turn at the nets if you’ve chosen a particularly popular destination.
  • Miniature Golf – Along the boardwalks and seaside amusement parks that dot the coast, one of the most common sights are miniature golf courses. While you certainly can shell out admission for each member of your party to play putt-putt, you can also foster creativity and save a few bucks by building your own mini golf course. Dig holes, mold obstacles out of damp sand and invest in a few cheap plastic golf sets. Before you know it, you’ll be playing a rousing game of golf for a fraction of the cost at a shore course.
  • Frisbee – If you really want to get the whole family involved in a beach game, this is one that allows you to even get Rover in on the fun. It’s wise to invest in a handful of Frisbees, rather than just packing one because they’re easily lost or blown away. Being able to pull another out of your bag will keep the fun rolling, even if one goes missing on a crowded beach.
  • Cornhole – A classic at backyard barbecues and tailgating parties, whether you call it “cornhole” or “beanbags,” this game is an ideal way to pass time at the beach. Try to arrive before peak times or select a spot that’s a bit farther from the shoreline to ensure that you have enough room.
  • Sharks and Minnows – While this adults-versus-kids version of Hide and Seek typically requires the adults to be blindfolded, you may want to skip the scarves in favor of simply closing your eyes while you’re wading through shallow waters at low tide for safety’s sake.
  • Bocce Ball – Beloved by many beachgoers, Bocce ball is such a classic beach game that it’s often referred to as “beach bowling.” Sets range from relatively cheap to quite expensive, and many municipally maintained beaches have Bocce ball courts to accommodate players.
  • Tag – When the beach is crowded with other people, sending your kids weaving in and out of other groups as you chase after them might not be your idea of a good time. In the earlier morning hours or past peak times, however, it’s a great way to get in a workout while keeping your little ones giggling.
  • Kickball – A sort of hybrid between baseball and soccer, kickball is a playground classic beloved by generations of kids. Bring this traditional game to the beach by substituting an inflatable beach ball for the harder kick ball that’s typically used. As an added bonus, the soft beach ball makes the game more suitable for smaller kids.
  • Relay Races – Whether you’re filling buckets or passing batons, there’s nothing quite like a good relay race to foster a sense of healthy competition while keeping everyone in the family active. Take turns acting as referee so that everyone has the chance to rest and get hydrated between rounds.
  • Tug-of-War – Adults will probably have to throw the game a bit by not exerting all of their strength, unless the sides are unevenly matched in kids’ favor. Still, all you need is a rope and a sense of adventure to create hours of fun in the sun and spray.

As with any beach games, it’s important to keep safety first. Games that require kids to hide or sprint across a crowded beach may not be ideal choices during peak time, as the last thing you’ll want is to lose track of a little one. Take the time of day and beach conditions under consideration, then have a ball!

Reprinted with permission from Summer Nanny.

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Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Tallies & Tips | Tagged: , , | 18 Comments »

Beach Activities for Everyone ~ Even Non-Beach-Lovers (Seriously?!)

Posted by E.G.D. on April 25, 2013

Today’s Featured Guest Post Writer is Erica Kritt from The Cruise Web:

The ever-popular Seawall Beach at Galveston Island, Texas

The ever-popular Seawall Beach at Galveston Island, Texas

I confess, I used to hate the beach. I hated the sand getting in everything, I thought it was boring, and on top of that I don’t like my beach bod. However, now I love the beach. Working at a travel agency, destinations that are rich in beaches come up a lot, so I have a lot of knowledge about what to do on a beach. I’d like to share how the beach can be a fun place for everyone from grandpa to baby with a few activities that will be fun for all. Believe me, if I could get over my dislike of the beach, then you or your family members can too.

Looking to Relax
If you can find a quiet beach, you are set, and even if you are at a popular spot, put on your shades and some soothing music and focus in on the waves coming in and out. Lounging on the beach is a great chance to get out in nature, but you can surround yourself with creature comforts, like a pillow, your e-reader and some tropical smoothies.

Most relaxing activity: Many cruise lines have private islands in the Caribbean and the Bahamas, where you can even experience a massage in a cabana right on the beach.

Shelling with Family

Shelling with Family

Looking to Explore
A beach has a lot to offer for both kids and adults looking to discover creatures they’ve never seen, or to find those special shell treasures. In fact, finding a good beach could be an expedition in itself.

Best Exploration: Snorkeling excursions are a chance to see the creatures that lurk just underneath the water. In the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, you’ll have a chance to see beautifully colored fish and interesting coral formations.

Looking to Play
Sand castles aren’t just for kids, on the shore you can try your hand at making sand sculptures. The beach is fun, but things can get really fun in the water. At many beaches you can rent wave runners, or fly high while parasailing over the ocean. Some cruise lines even offer passengers the chance to take a horse ride on the beach and even in the surf.

The Most Fun of All
Anytime you can learn a new skill, it makes your experience that much more rich. Beaches in Hawaii and other tropical destinations offer surf lessons where you can test your balance in the ocean.

As you can see, there really is an activity on the beach for everyone. All you have to do is make sure you visit a beach that offers what you are looking for, read reviews, speak with a travel agent, and get ready for some fun in the sun.

About the Author: Erica Kritt works at The Cruise Web, a travel agency that specializes in cruising. Her favorite beach has to be the one on Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas.
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Posted in Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , | 7 Comments »

Travel Theme: Circles

Posted by Jody on December 9, 2012


What a great idea for this week’s Travel Theme!

It’s easy to turn this one into a family friendly beach scavenger hunt! Simply pick a geometric shape for the day and head out to the seashore with the whole clan. The kids won’t even suspect that they’re actually doing math! How cool is that?

Today’s beachy shape is the circle. On our past beach trips we’ve spotted circles on everything from safety signs to rescue vehicles and sand dollars to sea anemones.  How about you?

This week’s Travel Theme is “Circles.”

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Posted in Today's Special | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Celebrating World Oceans Day

Posted by Jody on June 8, 2012

Today is World Oceans Day!  Unofficially celebrated every June 8th since it was proposed by the Canadian government in 1992, World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008. According to the World Oceans Day website, “On World Oceans Day people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents.”

This year’s theme is Youth: the Next Wave for Change.

“Youth: the Next Wave for Change”

Learning about the ocean is nothing but fun! It doesn’t have to be a preachy-teachy experience.  Just have a good time while getting the kids pondering about what the world’s oceans mean to all of us.

Here are some simple ideas:

  • Take a walk on the beach.
  • Read a book with the little ones. My choices for beginning readers? One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss, Albert the Albatross by Syd Hoff, and Sailing off to Sleep by Linda Ashman. So many books are available to get even the  littlest ones thinking about life in the sea. The Beach Chair Scientist has a great list of ocean themed children’s books to help get started!
  • Visit the aquarium.
  • Watch an ocean themed documentary. Netflix has several to choose from. OK, so it’s not a documentary, but Finding Nemo is a favorite with children of all ages.

“This one has a little star. This one has a little car. Say! what a lot of fish there are!” ~Dr. Suess

Happy World Oceans Day!

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The Sand Beneath Our Feet

Posted by Jody on May 16, 2012

Northern California

When you walk out onto the sandy beach, happy and barefoot, what do look for?  Do you gaze straight ahead, into the sea, at the rolling waves or do you peer even farther out to spot ocean going vessels on the distant horizon?  Maybe you scan the sandy shoreline to see if there are any special beach treasures left behind by the recent high tide.  Are the tanned and toned volleyball players among the first things you scope out?

Southern California

It’s amazing what we could discover if we just looked down! Those seaweed piles (wrack lines) are brimming with miniature sized wildlife, and the sand beneath our feet is home to an abundance of coastal residents.  Beach hoppers, beach pillbugs, sand crabs, and intertidal clams, just to name a few, have all made their home in the ever changing sand.

Texas Gulf Coast

My daughter found a wonderful on-line article that she shared with me. “Sandy Beach Life,” from Marine Science by Genny Anderson, explores common organisms and coastal wildlife found on a typical sandy California beach. Full of terrific photos and information on coastal critters that I didn’t even know existed, it’s a very interesting read! It might be great fun to print up the article and pictures for a scavenger hunt or check list for your family’s next trip to any beach. Enjoy!

Southern California

Sanderling  

Bladder kelp

Sand crab

Beach hopper

Western Gull

Wedge Clams

Beach pillbug

Kelp fly

A great day at the beach!

Link: Marine Science by Genny Anderson: Sandy Beach Life

Posted in Beach and Coastal Wildlife, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Beach sand: start your own collection!

Posted by Jody on March 8, 2012

Today’s Featured Writer: Dr. Kristie McLin, Geologist and Smarty Pants

Beach sand: start your own collection!

Did you ever wonder what makes some sands so white, while others are tan, black, or even green, red, or pink? Next time you are at a beach, take a closer look at the sand, and you will be amazed at what you see! Tiny mineral grains, shell and rock fragments, and even glass and gems! Sand is so amazingly different at beaches worldwide that many people make a hobby of collecting the sand at the beaches (and other non-beach locations) that they visit. There is even a website for The International Sand Collectors Society (SandCollectors.org) that can tell you everything that you need to know to get started!

Muir Beach, California. Take a closer look!

All you need is a waterproof container to keep your sand sample in and a permanent marker to write the location where the sample was collected, but a spoon for digging and a magnifying glass or hand-lens to see the sand grains up close are nice accessories. For the serious collector, there are instructions for sifting, tracking, and cataloging your samples.

Be sure to check out the ISCS Photo Gallery for an amazing look at different sands from around the world! The star sands of Tonga are quite amazing!

Kehoe Beach, California

What will your sand collection look like?

Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Featured Guest Writer, Sand and Shoreline | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

A True Beach Treasure: The Lake Superior Agate

Posted by Jody on September 22, 2011

Lake Superior Agate, cut and polished – Minnesota (Photo by Astynax/Wikipedia Commons)

Minnesota’s State Gem is the Lake Superior agate.  These beautiful red, orange, yellow, white and grey gemstones are generously spread throughout northeastern and north-central Minnesota.  According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources:“The agate reflects many aspects of Minnesota. It was formed during lava eruptions that occurred in our state about a billion years ago. The stone’s predominant red color comes from iron, the major industrial mineral in our state. Finally, the widely distributed agate reveals the impact of glacial movement across Minnesota a mere 10,000 to 15,000 years ago.”  The Lake Superior agate can be found in virtually any exposed gravel or pebbly area throughout the state.  Minnesota’s rocky North Shore beaches of Lake Superior are especially good hunting grounds for agate hounds.

Polished Lake Superior Agate – Minnesota (Photo by Diana Stein/Wikimedia Commons)

What a perfect beachcombing find! It’s a lake shore discovery you can display, or with some polishing, wear as unique jewelry.  These richly colored Lake Superior agates can be found on the shoreline as far north as Lake Superior’s Thunder Bay in Ontario, Canada.  They can also be found on the pebbly South Shore beaches of extreme northwestern Wisconsin and on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

It can be a  bit tricky to spot the Lake Superior agates in their natural setting. The State of Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources offers many tips and clues for finding and identifying the official state gem. “Agate Hounds”, a very good full-color brochure on the joys of Lake Superior agate hunting, is available for “young naturalists,” though it has helpful  information for agate hounds of all ages.  Be sure to check it out on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website.

Additionally, Digging into Minnesota Minerals  includes sections on  the geologic history of the Lake Superior agate, distribution and clues to finding the state gemstone.

Happy beachcombing!  Have a gem of a day! -J-

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Posted in Beach Treasures - Beachcombing, Great Lakes Beaches | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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