Thanks to the ongoing recession (and possibly global warming too…last spring was the hottest one on record in the UK!) good old Blighty is seeing a massive rise in the number of families opting for a ‘staycation’, a holiday in England rather than venturing abroad.
Of course, you’re not going to have the same experience in Britain as you would in the Bahamas, but you can still have a lovely holiday right here in the UK.
We’ve got plenty of famous beaches that get packed full of holidaymakers come summertime – Watergate Bay at Newquay, Saunton Sands in North Devon and Studland Bay in Dorset to name but a few!
A day out at the beach is perfect for families with little ones. It’s free, it teaches them to love the great outdoors and, best of all, Mum and Dad can work on their tans whilst the kids go crazy! And there’s no mess to clean up afterwards!
I’ve put together a list of the top beach games for young children that are guaranteed to keep them entertained for hours…
Image: Jef Nickerson
Build a Sandcastle
Okay – its nothing original, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable – in fact, building a sandcastle is almost a rite of passage that every child should experience at least once!
Depending on age, you can leave the kids to it or join in the fun, bring along a few beach buckets and let the construction begin.
You could build a fortress with a water-filled moat, a whole town of sand houses or be creative and make a sandman (think: Sandy Snowman), the only limit is your imagination!
If your kids were born after the hit children’s television series ended in 2007, they missed out on an entire generation of fun and crafty ideas presented by the super creative Neil Buchanan.
Not to worry – you can give them their own Art Attack master class on the beach front! First, give them a bucket each and send the little scavengers out to hunt for unique shells, stones, seaweed and anything else they might find.
Then, spread your treasures out on the sand and have fun seeing what pictures you can make with them.
Here’s one that little girls will love – take some string to the beach with you, then let them go out in search of shells and stones that have a hole in them, ready to be threaded onto the string to wear as a necklace or bracelet.
Another stereotypical beach image for the family album – family members buried under a pile of sand with only their face sticking out!
Sand is surprisingly heavy and young children are unlikely to enjoy being ‘buried alive’ – they’ll have far more fun piling sand onto one of their parents, trust me.
They say you should ‘leave only footprints’ in the sand, but they don’t have to be your own! Let your kids have fun pressing giant dinosaur footprints into the wet sand to scare the next person who comes to the beach…
Image: Capt’ Gorgeous
This one needs a little preparation before you hit the beach. Buy a bag of Plaster of Paris and a small container (a Tupperware box or tray works well) to use as a mould.
On the beach, mix up your plaster using bottled water (not sea water) and then make impressions of cool shells and other objects that your kids can find!
If your kids are slightly too old to be amused by sand-based games, why not take along a Frisbee and have some fun whilst giving them their daily dose of exercise too?
After scouring the Internet to find the best cheap hotels, the last thing you want to do is go and spend a fortune on expensive trips to keep the kids amused, so I hope these low-cost and free tips will come in useful!
I’d love to hear of any other seaside games for children you can think of…
Estelle Page is a thirty-something interior designer with two kids and a passion for the great outdoors. She’s a big advocate for holidaying in the UK and keeping our British tourism industry alive via cheap hotels rather than extortionate ones – she also blogs for Hotelopia.