One of the best childhood memories is the summer holidays spent at the beach. Whether it was round the corner so you could visit every day, or was a special family trip, the quintessential British summer holiday on the beach is a firm favourite for all, young and old alike.
So it goes without saying that as a parent now, a beach trip during the summer holidays is an absolute must to get our fill of nostalgia and recreate those precious memories. Fish and chips, sandy toes, beach balls, paddling in the sea, eating far too much ice cream on a cone, and making enormous sandcastles that get lost to the sea 15 minutes after you’ve placed the last shell are the perfect ingredients to a summer’s day at the beach well spent and memories that will last a lifetime for the whole family..
Keeping kids entertained on holiday at the beach
It isn’t just about the fun, albeit, there is always a lot of fun to have at the beach. Visiting the beach has so many benefits for the whole family, especially kids. Sand is a great surface to strengthen muscles and improve coordination as it is harder to run and play on it compared to grass or harder surfaces. Sand also teaches textures and consistencies to younger children, particularly when you add water for sandcastle building.
Beach visits also encourage social interaction and confidence, as during the peak season they can get very busy with other families making the most of the good weather. Encouraging play between groups of children enables them to learn about boundaries and adapt to new play environments.
Then there is the sea. Being on the beach is an excellent way to teach water safety which is vital life knowledge. Knowing when they should and shouldn’t enter the sea is important for their safety, as well as others. But the time can also be used to teach them how to wade, paddle and swim properly and safely too. All important habits and experiences for children when visiting the beach.
Sand Beach Toys
No trip to the beach is complete without a host of beach toys ready for a day of sunshine, sand and sea water. Every family needs the traditional bucket and spade for sandcastle (or fort) building, but there’s also beach balls and frisbees for more energetic family members (and the dog) that need a good run around. Add a pull along trailer with big thick wheels to get across the sand without having to carry it all in your arms for a stress free trip from the car to the beach.
Water toys are also a great extra for the beach, for more confident swimmers. Sinking water toy sets are a great option for teaching kids about diving under water and promoting underwater swimming confidence in a fun way. Make sure you remember your goggles so they can see where they’re going without getting salt water in their eyes. Other swimming and water toys that are great for the beach include toy rafts and boats. Always make sure your children are supervised whilst playing with these, and are confident in their water depth and swimming abilities, but played with safely, these make for memories that can’t be replaced, and build confidence further in the water.
Sandpits & Water Tables Toys For Home
At home, you can keep the beach day magic alive with sand beach toys and water tables. With a mix of styles to choose from, you’re sure to find something that works for your garden or outdoor space. For larger gardens, a wooden sandpit may be the option. These are usually kept in place year round, coming with a lid to ensure wildlife doesn’t move in when not in use. These are also popular as climbing frame additions.
For smaller gardens, the traditional plastic sandpit (usually shaped like a turtle, you know the one!) is great grabbing in and out of storage when it’s needed. It also makes an excellent paddling pool for warmer days as it’s fully sealed in. Play sand is often available in supermarkets as well as toy stores, especially in the summer months and can last a long time with the right amount of care.
Lastly you have water tables. These can be as simply, or elaborate as you like. From basic sets that include a few toys and a simple bowl table ready to be filled with water (and in some cases sand if it’s a dual purpose sand/water table.) to have water tables with fountains, tubes, pipes and sprinklers fixed to the centre. These tables are excellent for problem solving, dexterity and sensory play with levers, plungers and buttons to press to get the water moving around the table. As with all water play equipment, water tables should be supervised at all times by a responsible adult.
If you want to be a bit more eco with your water play, fill up from your garden water butt rather than your sink, ensuring you give your kids a good wash after they’ve finished playing. Also remember that hose pipes left out in the sun can get very hot, so make sure you give it a flush through onto a path or into the garden, away from anyone else, before you start filling up the water table.
Sand Beach Toys For The Farden
You don’t have to visit the beach each week to have the magic and fun of the beach. Recreate the beach feelings at home with beach toys for the garden.
Paddling Pools For Kids
Invest in a really good paddling or swimming pool to bring the beach home. Many larger paddling pools are beach themed with extra such as sprinklers and fun games like a ring toss. Alongside that, inflatables are a popular toy for the beach and garden, but cause far less stress at home. With British weather being temperamental, it’s a real risk that inflatables will go flying down the beach never to be seen again. So keep them for the safety of the garden where the fences can keep them from going astray.
Water mills are also a good purchase for water loving kids, to be used in the pool, with a water table, or even just a simple bucket or tray. These a particularly popular with younger children learning about water and mechanics as they can see the cogs turning at the water flows through.
You can also dual purpose your gardening toys as sand beach toys. The rakes, trowels, forks and buckets from your kids gardening set are all great multi-purpose toys to use with sand in the garden too. Just give them a wash off between uses to limit cross contamination from mud to the sand to ensure your play sand lasts as long as possible.
So getting out to the beach this summer holidays is a perk for the whole family. Encourage development, build relationships, create memories. Then keep the fun going with more imaginative beach play with toys in the safety, and less sandiness, of your home. The only limit is your child’s imagination, and with the right beach toys and water play, there really isn’t a limit at all.