A morning or afternoon at the beach is guaranteed to provide little people with big entertainment. After all isn’t the beach just nature’s giant sandpit, packed full of treasures? But when we reach the winter months, even the brightest day can feel a little chilly for a stretch of excavation and castle building.
The good news is that Mud Mates are a great way to keep your kids clean and warm. Because they provide a protective layer over the top of clothes, you can rest easy that your kids are going to stay nice and cosy inside. And there’s the added benefit that you don’t need to worry about too much sand in their undies (but let’s face it some will get in there somehow).
So if you’re planning on a trip to the beach in winter, how can you make the most of your day? We’ve got 5 simple steps to keep your little people happy for outdoor sandy play.
1. Enjoy the middle of the day
In summer we spend our time trying to keep the kids out of the hottest sun in the middle of the day, but in winter that’s exactly when the day is at its warmest. That means it’s a great time to head to the beach. Obviously it’s still important to stay sunsmart, but you’re more likely to be protecting heads with woolly hats rather than sun hats. And being at the beach in the middle of the day is a great excuse for a picnic.
2. Bring a warm snack
There always seems to be a breeze blowing on a winter beach, and its effects can range from refreshing to freezing. Having a flask of hot soup in the car can be a great way to keep the kids fed and restore some warmth to little tummies. It’s also a really easy way to manage beach food. Bring a yummy bread, some chunks of cheese and a selection of fruit and you can boost their energy levels so that they can enjoy a longer play time at the beach.
3. Think active
Small people don’t feel the cold like we do – but that doesn’t mean that they don’t get cold. If you’re trying to keep them out of the water and be sure they are warm, a good spell of running around is a great idea. Treat the beach as a playing field and use a stick to mark out a fun obstacle course, with things to run around, jump over and hop through. They will love the adventure and you will be happy that those rosy cheeks are a sign of happy cosy children.
And of course, there is always joy to be found in a game of ‘running away from the waves’…. something even parents never seem to grow too old for!
4. Bring a foraging bag
The beach is not only great entertainment when you are there – it’s also got lasting value when you come home. Shells, sticks, seaweed, stones and all manner of beach treasures can be used to make wonderful craft and fill afternoons with sorting, washing, painting and sticking things down. So bring a bag or a bucket for each child to collect their finds into and you’ll increase the fun.
5. Sand castles and beyond
Kids love building sandcastles and they love smashing them even more. If you get tired of that cycle of destruction, why not think of what else you could create? We so often get stuck in a sandcastle rut, but actually sand is also a great medium for making mermaids, dinosaurs, pirate ships, mazes and so much more. Ask your children what they would like to build and then get sculpting – you can add feathers, shells and stones to make your creation even more impressive.
Check out our blog Why Kids Should Play Outside in Winter to learn some of the benefits of letting your children play outside, even if the weather isn’t the best!
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