Our Summer of Nothing: Let's Go to the Beach
Last month, I hereby declared this summer as the summer of NOTHING. After having a month or two of constant on-the-go-ness, I decided that instead of making myself crazy trying to schedule 900 things for my son to do during the summer, he (we) would take it easy. Sure, we're taking an occasional day trip to Sea World, the Zoo and he's going to a day camp for a few weeks-- actually Science Camp, to be exact... Although I'm not sure it's just animal cells and protons verses neutrons talk, because the other day, within the span of about 2 sentences, he said "by the way," "Obviously," and "shut the front door." (We were not at the door.)
But I digress...
So aside from his science camp, we don't have "big plans." There's no major road trip, no major family vacation, and no major event that's going to happen (other than him starting kindergarten, which I'd rather not talk about at this moment because I will cry). Thankfully, our summer can be one big "stay-cation." We live in Southern California, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and I must confess, there have been several summers where we didn't go to the beach at all. Not sure why, we just didn't go. But this summer, we've already been dozens of times.
While going to the beach may not seem like "doing something" (or maybe it feels like a big event for some of you), I've realized, yet again, that I can take this outing and the many mundane activities that go along with beach-going and make it into something. Our trips to the beach have become memorable, fun, a great bonding experience, and mainly: A fantastic time suck. Truly. Getting to the beach takes some time in and of itself-- but once we’re there-- there's SO many "nothings" to do, we end up staying for hours! I love it and my son can't get enough.
Here are my top favorite things to do at the beach that literally require NOTHING but: Bathing suits, sunscreen, towels, snacks, pail & shovel, and a child.
1) Make a Sand Angel
I must confess, I'm very nervous about burying of any kind. After reading about all these freak accidents in which kids are buried alive by sand at the beach, I'm nervous burying any body parts at all. That said, kids love sand. And they like it EVERYWHERE. I suggest making sand angels. After your kid makes it, have them draw a face or make a story up about how the angels got to the beach. Time suck number one!
2) Beach Writing
This is a great game to play especially if your child is just starting to write and spell like mine is. We like to write our names or I give him words to spell, and we do it down by the ocean. It's fun to try to write the word before the wave comes and washes it away. Which leads to....
3) Wave Run
The ocean is cold but that won't stop a kid from playing "catch me if you can" with the waves. (This game is also known as "Wear out your kid.")
4) Beach Snacks!
Part of summer time fun is summer time snacking. While most of you probably bring ice-cold grapes to the beach, my family and I prefer potato chips. Yep, I like junk food at the beach. (And back in my bad girl days, I liked smoking cigarettes at the beach too. But that's another post.) To make this trip extra special, I packed my son's favorite: Cheetos. Unfortunately, these happen to be the DIRTIEST kind of snack to enjoy because of the yellow mouth, finger-licking, sandy hand eating element. That didn't stop my son and his enjoyment though. Of course, leave it to me to forget any wet nap device. Thankfully, the group next to me had a ton.... which came in especially handy after a seagull came swooping down during said snack time and took a big ol' poop on me. Moving on…
5) Shell & Crab Hunting
What's a trip to the beach without a search for treasures! We collected a ton of shells and my son was enamored with each and every one and proud of finding them. He also wanted to find sand crabs and watch them swim in a bucket. This was my least favorite thing as it gives me the heebie jeebies, but it allowed us to sit down for a few minutes to relax after our long walk down treasure shell lane.
6) Us Time
Finally, the time we spent together, just he and I, is invaluable. I loved sitting next to him staring out at the waves, watching people swim, and telling stories. These are the moments of nothing-ness that end up meaning everything.