04 March 2011

at the beach.

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There are some places where it is easy, so easy, to connect as a family--places where joy of the moment overrides any difficulties of the travel that brought you there. The beach is one of those places for us, and I bet for many other families, too. I love going there in the not-too-months, and we were lucky enough to spend time with my parents and grandmother last month at my very favorite beach (one of those Gulf-coast gems you almost don't want to tell others about, for fear the hordes will descend and spoil its relative quietness).

It's easy to get caught up in packing for the beach--sunscreen, towels, sand toys, water, floats, chairs, umbrellas, snacks.  Those things are great, but I think the beach is also a good place to practice a kind of family minimalism.  Next time you visit, see how many things you can leave in the house or car, at least to start.  It's the sheer immensity and naturalness of the ocean and shore that people love, and if you take a few moments to enjoy it just for that, you'll find a wealth of things to keep you busy.

Eight Simple Things To Do With Kids at the Beach When You Forget Your Shovel and Pail.

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1) Improvise.

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2) Jump hard enough to make a splash.

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3) Footraces!

at the beach.

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4) Look for signs of other visitors and residents.

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5) While you're at it, feed the birds (my grandmother saves stale bread for this).

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6) Dare the ocean.

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7) Gather items for an arrangement, and watch how the wind and waves change it.

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8) Watch the sun set.

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