Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What do you do on a beach day?

White sandy beaches. Clear blue sky. Shallow, quiet sea. A few palm trees, maybe. That's the perception of a dream vacation day for many families. We sampled those days during our Asian trip. Nice, yet boredom is never far away. After a few hours, we have enough of it. Even the children grow tired, particularly the younger ones.

Beach vacation is very popular among families. I sometimes wonder why. What makes a day at the beach a perfect day for you? I listed my ideas of why beaches are fun.

1. For sandcastle building. One of my favorite activities as a child, which I still find enjoyable. Perfect for all ages, across generations. The younger ones create simple sand pyramids, the most skilled artists craft towers, stairs, bridges... At the end of the day, we all watch the tide wash our masterpiece away. 

When traveling, we often find ourselves dramatically under-equipped for this activity. No buckets, no molds. Building sandcastles with bare hands or improvised tools is definitely more complex.

2. For bathing, swimming, playing in the waves. Look at beach photographs, have you noticed how few people actually bathe in the sea? Strange, isn't it? Isn't bathing the prime reason why people come to the beach? Whenever we are at the coast, we spend most of our time in the water, no matter if mild or cold. That's fun in any case!

3. For collecting shells. Children love collecting shells. Bad news for parents who end up with full pockets and bags. Unless you're in a secret place with the most beautiful and precious shells, the collection is rather uniform and useless. Shell do perfect sandcastle decorations, though.

4. For selling paper flowers. A Belgian specialty. Belgian children craft paper flowers which they "sell", in exchange for a few shells, on the endlessly flat Belgian beach. A great tradition and a lot of fun for local kids!

5. To relax? Well, that one puzzles me. Many parents say they go to the beach with kids to enjoy a relaxed day there. How do they do that? No matter how good my daughter can swim and how many swimming aids I use for the younger ones, I can never relax or open a book when my children play in or near water. Can you?

What are your additions to this list?