I am not afraid to admit that I am not the biggest fan of the beach. Usually. For me, I think of going to the beach as something like this:
First of all, I have to pack up food and drinks for the whole family for an entire day. This is a lot of work. Then you have to pack all other necessary supplies. I won’t name them, but spending a day at the beach with kids isn’t a ‘light packing’ type of scenario (as if I have ever experienced a ‘light packing’ scenario in all my life). Then once you get there you have to smear everyone down with sunscreen and try to remember to reapply every couple hours. And then there’s the greazy hands and stinging eyes from having sunscreen applied on a hot sweaty day. And the sand. OH the sand. It’s everywhere and there is no avoiding finding in all kinds of inconvenient places. Just try to keepit off your towel neatly spread on the ground. Just try. And sand PLUS wind? Let’s don’t even go there. I don’t like it. And the salt water. I’m not afraid to say that I strongly dislike swimming in salt water. Plech! Stuff tastes awful! And kids have to watched NON STOP because the waves make it a bit more unpredictable than a child in a pool with twelve floaties strapped onto their little bodies. And then the inevitable sunburn happens, even though we tried so hard to keep up with the sunscreen. And we’re not even to the child-breaking-down-non-stop-whining point in the day yet!
Ack! Am I the only one who feels this way?
Put me and some adult friends on a umbrella covered lounge chairs on the shore with books and drinks and I would be one thrilled lady. But the scenario above? Not my favorite activity. Just being honest.
But when we were in South Africa, I think I had my best ever beach experience with kids.
Here’s why I loved it.
1. Our housing was only a couple minutes away. So we could go for shorter times. We could even walk if we wanted.
2. Our housing was only a couple minutes away. So we could use the loo before we left and avoid public beach bathrooms altogether. I didn’t mention those above, but they’re usually not the nicest facilities, eh?
3. Because we could go for shorter times, much less packing was necessary. I still took water and snacks and my camera, of course, but it wasn’t a full size suitcase, is what I’m saying. Ha!
4. It was cold. Too chilly to swim. And the sun was not strong. So we had no swimsuits, no sunscreen, no umbrellas, no greazy hands and no stinging eyes. Glory!
5. It was cold. So we we were fully clothed. That means the sand had a harder time finding its way into ridiculous hiding places, if you know what I mean.
6. It was cold. So I could be cozy and warm in a hooded sweatshirt and be breathing fresh cool sea air. Amazing. So very refreshing.
7. This particular beach had built in playthings. There was a large sand cliff perfect for climbing and jumping and rolling. It was way more fun than flat flat beach. So great. There was also a stream-like thing that was emptying into the ocean. But it was shallow and slower and didn’t have waves. So the kids could dig in the edges and make their own little rivers and not have to be dodging waves the whole time. And I didn’t have to wonder if the tide was going to swallow them up at any moment.
This is the stream-thing (there is a name for this type of thing… what is it?!!). Sometimes it was shallow enough for H to walk through and sometimes it was deeper. One time Mike sunk in up to his waist . Woops! But a funny woops that I rather enjoyed, ha!
See? Perfect setup for beach and sand and water play!
And here’s the sand cliff.
We all liked it, but H liked it the most.
He got brave and creative and found all kinds of ways to go up and get down…
Jumping of course.
And the forward slide.
And then there was the…
…the backward roll. He did this so many times and none of us got tired of it. He was so cute. BUT I have to say… this boy DID get sand EV.ER.Y.WHERE. It was worth it though.
7. Lastly, it was not busy. There were a few surfers or body boarders in the water in their wet suits and sometimes a handful of other people around. But the place was pretty deserted and that was nice, too!
My best beach experience with kids ever. Thank you Onrus! Amen!