B ach BABES
Oh, we do like to be beside the seaside – and your baby’s first experience of fun on the sand can be a magical experience for you both…
We all spend a small fortune buying developmental toys for our youngsters, and taking them to baby-gym classes and indoor play centres. But there’s a great experience waiting for you that’s every bit as stimulating: a trip to the beach. Just imagine if you woke up one morning as usual, popped out in the car as usual, then found yourself in a never-seen-before land of sand, sea and new people. You’d be surprised, wouldn’t you? And it’s the same for your baby. Taking her to the beach drops her into a completely new environment.
The beach is a place filled with all sorts of sensory adventures, from listening to the rhythmic swish of waves to tasting the salty air and feeling the squishy sand between her toes. There will be challenges for her fine motor control, such as picking up shells, as well as her gross motor control – because walking or crawling on sand is nothing like shuffling about on solid ground. It’ll also expose her to all sorts of new vocabulary that you don’t encounter in everyday life – toddlers just love the word ‘seaweed’!
But perhaps the most exciting part of her day will come from her drive to investigate this crazy new world. From around eight months, your baby will perform simple actions to find out ‘what happens if I…?’. By 18 months, she’ll have learned enough to be doing things to make something happen. And by three years, she’ll have an idea about what might happen if she does something, and will want to test out her theories. So, with you as her playmate, she’ll love the opportunity to investigate this exciting place called the beach and find out about this funny stuff called sand.
Around eight in 10 Aussies live by the coast, so chances are you’re never too far from a beach or bay of water. And on the following pages, you’ll find all the advice you need to have a fun-filled, stress-free trip – from what to pack to how to get rid of the sand when you need to, plus loads of activities to do with your child for maximum enjoyment.
Struggling to get your baby to nap when she clearly needs one? Try moving your beach shelter closer to the shore line, staying well above the high-tide mark. The white noise of the waves will help her drift off.