I firmly believe that if you take kids outside, they will find endless ways to entertain themselves. This belief was validated on Tuesday, when I took our kids to BB Clark Beach.
Immediately, groups of children started building moats and filling them water. They saw real or imagined “crabs” in the water. They floated boats on the water (really discarded plastic). Others were busy collecting sticks and building tepees for their pretend fire. Kids quacked at the ducks that paddled near the shore and they saw migrating loons in the distance. They learned that it’s not a good idea to throw sticks at birds on the water, but it’s okay to skip rocks if there’s nothing in the way. Others were running along the shore exploring. We had a few kites and those occupied a few children for awhile. Those not interested in the water, made up games on the play structures and tossed around a few balls.
It was time to go when kids started to have to use the bathroom. It’s April, so the bathrooms weren’t open yet.
I learned that clear boundaries need to be established about where kids can and cannot go. Can they climb on the rocks near the water or not? Can they retrieve sticks from the lake? This ensures that no one gets wet. Also, toys are a must on the beach. We had plenty of sand toys, but there is always room for more. I would bring more things that they could float and tools to explore nature like magnifying lenses, an underwater scope, etc. I would like to put together a nature kit that we could take with us on outings. This kit would be ready to go.
It’s great to give kids a chance to play freely without the intrusion of media or structure. It’s really fun to watch too.