Mother & Baby (Australia) - - Summer Holidays -

For­get build­ing a sand­cas­tle, th­ese ideas are far more fun if you’re lit­tle!

Dig for trea­sure

In soft, dry sand, bury a few beach toys, and let your tod­dler dig to find them. If you want to up the fun, bury some of your things that you don’t mind get­ting sandy, pre­tend you’ve lost them, and let your lit­tle one save the day.

Play shadow tag

Chal­lenge your young­ster to catch your shadow. All she has to do is to stand on your shadow – once she man­ages to do it, swap over.

Go beach bowl­ing

Dig five or six holes in flat, hard sand and try throw­ing or rolling balls into them.

Be led by your child

It’s great to have lots of ideas up your sleeve to en­cour­age her to ex­plore, but give her the chance to in­sti­gate play, too. If she’s fas­ci­nated by a bit of sea­weed, then you be fas­ci­nated, too. If she hands it to you then wants it back, play her game and pass it back and forth. If you fol­low her lead, show in­ter­est in what she’s do­ing and copy her – she’ll feel con­fi­dent to in­ves­ti­gate some more.

Have a sea­wa­ter race

Each child will need a bucket and a spade. Set up the buck­ets in a row, a few me­tres from the wa­ter’s edge, and give them a spade each. Tell them that when you shout ‘go!’ they must race to the sea, scoop up some sea­wa­ter, run back to the bucket and tip the con­tents into it. The first per­son to get an over­flow­ing bucket wins. This is a great game for older kids.

Make a sen­sory pit

Scoop out a shal­low hol­low in dry, soft sand. Pour a cou­ple of buck­ets of wa­ter over one half. Your baby will en­joy ex­plor­ing the dif­fer­ence in tex­ture be­tween the wet, rough, cold sand and the dry, soft, warm sand. En­cour­age her to feel it with her feet, as well as her hands.

Turn her into a mer­maid

With your young­ster sit­ting down, shape a mer­maid’s tail from sand over and around her legs.

Walk like a crab

Tod­dlers will be fas­ci­nated by the dis­cov­ery that crabs walk side­ways. Find one, if you can – be­cause your young­ster won’t be­lieve you oth­er­wise – then prac­tise scut­tling side­ways with your child. This ma­noeu­vre is sur­pris­ingly dif­fi­cult to do when you try it for the first time!

Make drip cas­tles

When the tide’s go­ing out, head down to the wa­ter’s edge and grab hand­fuls of wet, sludgy sand to make drip cas­tles – you sim­ply drip the wet sand through your fin­gers to build as high a tower as you can. If your child isn’t sure about putting her hands into the sludge, then a bucket full of half sand, half sea­wa­ter poured through a fun­nel makes great drip cas­tles, too. Or give a young tot a bucket of wa­tery sand and show her how to scoop hand­fuls out and drip it onto drier sand.

Play mu­si­cal tow­els

This game is a must for when you think your on-the-go tod­dler needs a rest, but doesn’t want to stop play­ing. Lay out as many tow­els as there are peo­ple play­ing, and sing while ev­ery­one runs from towel to towel. When you stop singing, ev­ery­one has to lie down on a towel. The first per­son to do this wins. No-one’s out, and you can keep play­ing un­til your tod­dler stays ly­ing on her towel.

Cre­ate a bal­ance beam

Draw two par­al­lel lines in the sand and see if your tod­dler can keep her bal­ance walk­ing be­tween them. If you want to chal­lenge her, in­clude some curves or make the gap be­tween the lines in­creas­ingly nar­row.

Ap­ply plenty of broad-spec­trum, wa­ter-re­sis­tant sunscreen about 20 min­utes before go­ing out­doors and re-ap­ply ev­ery two hours.

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