Ah the sea! Just the words beach and sea are often real synonyms of being on holiday! They are just so important to help us to recharge mind and body. But: what can you do at the beach with kids?
In these lines, you will find some advice as to how to best use your time by the sea in a self-aware, educative and, of course, fun way!
Let’s start by underlining that the sea and the coast are truly rich in possibilities. These are magical places, fascinating from every point of view: physically, cognitively, emotionally and sensorially.
If you would like to read further about the subject of the sea and children, I recommend for a start that you read: Children and nature: a practical guide.
Going to the seaside doesn’t mean just staying on the beach!
What to do at the seaside: mindful experiences
As we mentioned before, the marine environment is full of stimuli. But sometimes it is useful to learn to focus on a few details. Here are some games that you can play by the sea that take their cue from mindfulness. This sort of activity is aimed at youngsters with the intention of:
- educating and improving attention, with a particular focus on the present;
- developing emotional intelligence;
- increasing the awareness that they have, both of themselves and of the surrounding environment.
An alien on the beach:
An alien from a faraway galaxy has just landed on Earth. He is seeing the sea for the very first time, without knowing what it is! Help him to describe the environment (sea, beach, rocks) by using your five senses. List here all of the sensations that the sea gives you, via your sight, smell hearing, touch and taste.
Is there anywhere better for this game? In terms of biodiversity, the sea just beats everywhere else! Plus, if like us you have the fortune to play this game in a Protected Marine Area, it’s even better! Try and focalise your attention on the different life-forms and on all the animals that you see during the course of your day. How many are there? Can you manage to keep count?
All you need to do is keep your eyes open and you will discover marvellous treasures all around
What to do at the seaside: education and citizen science
After having observed the environment, it’s time to move on to the action phase! So if you are curious, not just about exploring but also about understanding nature, there is nowhere better to do it than directly in the field.
What is environmental education?
Environmental education is teaching regarding the structure and organisation of the natural environment. In particular, we intend educating human beings to enjoy nature in a sustainable way without altering its delicate balance. When these educational activities are carried out in the open air, we also talk about it as outdoor education.
What does citizen science mean?
Citizen science is a term that indicates a series of activities connected to scientific research that normal people take part in, in this case children. Thanks to specific Apps (e.g. iNaturalist) anybody can become an active protagonist in monitoring and conserving the environment.
Citizen science and outdoor education activities are important for:
- reinforcing knowledge of and respect for the environment;
- promoting active learning;
- developing a sense of cooperation and participation.
To find out more, I would suggest that you also read Environmental education: a guide for families. In this article and its related video, you will find tips and practical proposals to try out even during the course of your days at the seaside.
What to do at the seaside: watersports and enjoyment
There truly are many sports that you can do that involve living and exploring the sea. With the appropriate measures these can be practised even by smaller children and give numerous benefits. Watersports are in fact a healthy and fun way to:
- encourage neuromotor development (balance, coordination, strength);
- gain confidence with natural elements (water, waves, rocks, sand);
- live the sea from different perspectives.
In this article I cite some of my favourite watersports to do with children – all of these can be done either with a guide or independently (with the right knowledge!).
Kayaking is the perfect solution for spending a day at the seaside
Introducing children to this activity is fundamental for gaining a correct confidence with the sea. Exploring the underwater dimension is in fact a stimulating and fun way of doing water and underwater activities, acquiring abilities that are decisive for performing every sort of activity in the water confidently – the sooner you learn them the better!
First of all: if you don’t know what coasteering is, have a look at this article – there is everything that you need to know about this extremely enjoyable activity.
This combination of climbing, diving and swimming is ideal for learning to move safely on the rocks. In fact thanks to their shoes, helmet and lifevest, each child learns to move around the coast just like a crab. So between a dive, a limpet and a starfish or two, they will improve the awareness of the movements of their body in nature.
Kayaking is an ideal way to develop strength, coordination and balance. Furthermore it is ideal for spending a whole day far from the crowds. Sit-on-top kayaks, whether single or double, are perfect for loads of games with kids of all ages. So you can pick any of the agility and teamworking exercises, as well as spending unforgettable moments together discovering every hidden corner of the coastline.
To conclude: what can kids do at the seaside? These are just a few of the wide range of solutions that this environment offers. Thanks to my experience with outdoor activities for children and youngsters, I can guarantee you that your days spent together by the seaside will always give you great satisfaction!