Beach Party

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If you can’t get some place warm and beachy this winter, here’s my favorite suggestion for entertaining kids indoors: Bring the beach to you!

This morning, we woke to gray skies and cold weather, so on a whim I set out a few beach towels, as well as all our summer beach toys. There were sand buckets and shovels….

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…a travel tic-tac-toe game…

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…inflatable pool toys, and more! Of course for added authenticity, we cranked up the heat a few degrees so the kids could put on their bathing suits.

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I had intended the game mainly for Veronika, but big brother Travis had to join in, and soon was “sunbathing”.

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If you want to go all out, there’s so much you can do here. Add tropical music, tropical snacks, or even real sand and real water for your little ones to scoop and play with in a sensory way.

Apologies for the dark quality of these photos; yes we played this game before the winter sun was even up!

Summer Water with Baby

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Recently, I posted a round-up of fun field trips to take with the under-one-year-old set before the summer is out. Here’s a second round-up featuring a few water-centered ideas that – yes! – you can do with a baby.

Turn on the sprinkler:

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This is an easy one! Just head out to your yard or driveway, and set a sprinkler going. Bonus points for silly ones! Just dipping in baby’s toes is sure to elicit laughter or surprised little squeals.

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Find a water fountain:

Many parks have pretty fountains, which you can stop off at after a walk or playground play. In addition to being fun just to watch (splashy water!) you can quickly dip in baby’s toes for a cool off on a hot day.

Hit the beach:

I was worried about Veronika eating fistfuls of sand, so avoided the beach for much of the summer. But it turns out there’s a way to take even an everything-in-the-mouth nine-month-old to the beach safely.

First, bring shade. You’ll still want to slather your little one with sunscreen, but a large umbrella offers extra protection.

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Don’t forget to pack wipes, swim diapers, a change of dry diaper and clothes, plastic bags (for trash or wet clothing), and a nice sunhat.

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And toys!

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Beaches are the perfect place for a nap, so don’t worry about baby missing out on key shut-eye.

Once she was awake, first she wanted to play on a big beach towel.

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Then we took Veronika down to the water’s edge. Choose a beach with gentle water, whether that means a harbor, sound, lake, or other sandy stretch with few to no waves. She could happily sit and let the tiny waves lap at her toes.

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She did like digging her hands into the water and sand, but she only tried one nibble, which I easily diverted.

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In sum, I have no more fear about babies and beaches!

How have you and your baby played with water this summer? Please share in the comments!


Game of Stones

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This is the most beautiful game to take to the beach or poolside this summer! It’s easily portable, fun for all generations, and also a cinch to put together.

It all starts with a trip to a park or the beach to collect stones. Travis was convinced some of the rocks we found were shark’s teeth, which made the collecting that much more fun!

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Use a paint pen or acrylic paints and a small paint brush to mark half of your stones with x’s and half with o’s – you’ll need 5 of each.

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I had two old muslin bags around the house, one small and one large, so we made two copies of the game, one for our smaller rocks, and one for the larger.

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Paint the bag with a tic tac toe cross-hatched board. Let dry.

Travis thought our new poolside game was a delight!

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The bag now serves not only as your board, but also as the means to clean up the stones when you’re done playing!

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Seashell Friends

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After a week at the beach, we’ve come home with treasures galore to turn into crafts! Some of our best clam shells were the perfect base for making these little “friends”, and now they are a fantastic reminder of the summer fun we had at the shore.

Start with any relatively flat, whole shell as your base – clams worked great, but we tried a mussel shell that we’d found as well.

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After a week away, Travis couldn’t wait to get his hands into our craft bin, meaning this was a before-breakfast undertaking!

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Use anything in your craft box to make silly, friendly faces on the shells – I thought pipe cleaners or ribbon would make great smiles, but Travis had more fun adding mouths in sparkly glitter glue and paint.

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Pom poms made adorable noses, and googly eyes were the perfect finishing touch.

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Beach Memento Wind Chime

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If your summer plans take you to the beach, bring a bit of the beach home with you with this neat project!

The first step of course is finding your treasures, so the next time you head to the beach, bring a shovel and pail; take a walk in the sand to comb through for the prettiest finds. We only found small pieces of shell at this particular beach, but they were a gorgeous assortment of colors – purples and whites and even gold!

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At home, find a sturdy stick and use twine to wind around your treasures, and then knot onto the stick. Travis loved “helping” with the winding and knotting.

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Once we had our treasures dangling in a row, we hung them outside where they could click and clack against each other.

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A super windy day made this project even better!

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