I am very excited to have my first guest post on Saved by the Mommy. It is written by Trisha Roberts, a Physical Therapist and Early Intervention Specialist who has a blog (http://proeducationtoys.blogspot.com), which is an extension of her online retail store Pro Educational Toys. In her store, you can find amazing products that will not only teach your children, but they will have fun while doing so. I have learned a lot from reading Trisha’s blog posts and I hope that you will obtain some great tips below on what you can do to enhance your next beach vacation. Enjoy!
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 sunscreen 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.
- Put a large brimmed floppy hat on young children to keep the sun out of their eyes and protect their face from sunburn.
- Have sunglasses for each family member.
- Make sure that your children stay hydrated.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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). 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 difference 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.
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
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.
- 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.
- Running on wet sand is challenging, as is running through the water at calf-height. It is a great workout and strength-builder!
- Consider taking 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, founder of Pro Educational Toys, is a Physical Therapist and Early Intervention Specialist with decades of experience working with children. Toys should be fun and educational at the same time. We want to make available toys that will stimulate growth and development. Play with a Purpose is our motto! She also has a blog where you can find articles related to her specialty at www.proeducationtoys.blogspot.com.