Fun and Learning on the Beaches of the Pacific Northwest

By Barbara Christensen - 10:16 AM

There's nothing like a day at the beach, and I can't get enough of it. We have our favorites for swimming, our favorites for exploring, and our favorites for the dogs. Going to the beach is great fun if you have some foolproof activities in mind to keep the children engaged all day to ward off boredom. Be sure to bring a basket or bag for all the goodies your child may find along the beach to bring home with them.  You can get in on the action too or just sit back and watch your kids have a ball. Try these with your outdoor explorers:

Seashells come in all shapes and sizes. Just walking along the beach where the tide rolls in can net you lots of pretty shells. You can also hunt in the shallow area near at the water’s edge for more. My daughter loves to collect them. Make sure you know if your beach is a reserve or not, because if it is you can't take those shells home. Instead make it a fun photography experience or stop and sketch your favorite shells.

If your child is like most children you will have to help them sort through and choose the best shells to take home otherwise you may need a truck to carry them all. Teach them how to inspect the shells for defects, make groupings by color or shape, and even plan how to display them creatively at home.

My favorite has always been rock collecting, though. Maybe it's something to do with the energy they connect to. Any beach is wonderful place to go rock collecting. Many rocks along the beach will be smooth from years and years of rolling through the tides which makes for easy collecting for little ones. You will find many types of rocks on the beach – agates, jaspers, quartz, jadeite among many others. You could even get lucky enough to find fossils among the rocks as well.

Some of these rocks are very beautiful just as you find them. But, if you choose to take them home to clean them up or put them through a rock polisher your child will be amazed at how truly beautiful their finds are.

Here we're so lucky to have the tide pools many times throughout the year. The tides rolling in and out bring in lots of gifts from the sea that are deposited on the beach every day, such as sea glass, tropical seeds or fossils. Make it your mission for you and your children to find some treasures on the beach to take home.

Another fun thing to do after you get home is to make a keepsake out of the things you found. A few ideas to get you started are attach all your finds to a canvas to make wall hanging, make a treasure box or add your items to a net tied at the top

One idea that my husband still wants to try with my daughter is hunting for metal treasures. Most beaches have hordes of people visiting all summer long which makes for great treasure hunting with metal detectors. Older children who have the patience will be the best suited for this type of activity.

Of course at our favorite lake front beach, we make sand castles and cover kids and turn them into mermaids. Bring buckets, molds and shovels to create the ultimate sand castles. You can even invite other children to work with your child to build a large community of castles with trenches, moats and towers. The kids will love it and you child may make some new friends too.

A day at the beach is more than just swimming and sunbathing. With a little creativity, you can turn your beach trip into an exciting adventure – and even add a few “teachable moments” to your weekend.

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