Regular readers of our blogs will know that Flea and I love the beach.
Living in a Victorian town house has many charms – chronic damp, wonky walls and rotting floorboards for starters – but a large garden is most definitely not one of them.
Perhaps that’s why the beach is our year-round playground. We visit the beach near to us in all weathers, and we can happily entertain ourselves on a beach all day long. We often take down a flask of hot chocolate and our portable barbecue and have dinner on the beach so I can watch the sun set, while Flea works on her ever-increasing rock collection.
We always have a spare coat and spare clothes in the boot of the car, along with a plastic bag to put sandy clothes before we head home. Don’t forget gloves – beaches are exposed places and the wind can numb your fingers in five minutes flat. If we’re settling in for a few hours, we’ll also take a waterproof-backed blanket, which I fancifully imagine myself sitting on but gets swiftly hijacked by Flea as a portable play-mat.
This week the weather has been rotten in Lancashire, but we still spent a great day on the beach, getting blown about. Here are our five favourite winter games for beach days.
Superhero Cape Races
There’s a little known law that if you’re on a beach during a windy spell, you have to play Superhero Cape Races. Don’t know the rules? Cast your mind back to primary school. Simply unzip your coat, take hold of the corners, raise the coat over your head, and run as fast as you can into the wind. Fastening your coat around the neck stops it flying away, but let’s face it. This is cowardly cheating and is frowned upon by all PROPER racers.
Beach Driftwood Art
Have you ever noticed how much stuff you can find on the beach after the tide goes out? Our local bay is always strewn with egg casings, sticks, seaweed, razor clam shells, stones and more. I love to create a stick ‘frame’ and challenge Flea to fill in the frame with her very own beach art creation. It’s a great way to get kids exploring nature, and identifying the different things they find.
I always think the beach is the world’s best playing field. There are no tough spots to fall on, no annoying boundaries, and if anyone falls over, it’s rarely a disaster. This autumn, Flea and I have been working on throwing and catching skills, and sometimes I like to mix it up with a bit of touch rugby. Odd-shaped balls and all that.
Bucket and Spade
It’s never too cold for a bucket and spade. That’s like a scientific fact, or something. Or it is in our family.
The very, very best thing about the beach in winter is that you’ll likely have acres of sand all to yourself. That’s nature’s canvas, right there. Nothing is more pleasing to your average kid than writing their own name in 15-feet high letters. It’s also quite pleasing to this 30-something, now I think about it. And you’ve got all the space in the world to keep writing…