Rest, relax and have some good old-fashioned family fun with games and activities you'll love
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The next time you’re headed down to Tod’s Point, plan ahead with these fun beach activities.
1. Build Castles in the Sand
Every year, Greenwich Point is the site of “Sandblast,” in which teams compete to create amazing sand sculptures. In fact, as any beachcomber will tell you, building castles, big or small, is an essential beach activity.
To create your own artistic sand castle or creation, competition or not, here’s what you’ll need:
• Shovels with long handles (small to large)
• Buckets in various sizes
• Putty knife, paintbrushes and other plastic utensils
To get started …
• Draw a sketch of your fantasy castle or sculpture.
• Box off a large square of sand near the water, but not so close that waves will destroy your castle as the tide comes up. Use a stick to draw a border around the site.
• Dig a hole down to the water table, where the sand is dark and moist, or bring up large buckets of water from the Sound.
• Scoop piles of wet sand onto the center of the work area.
• Work fast so the sand stays wet.
• Build towers by forming and stacking sand patties about the size and shape of thick pancakes. Place larger patties on the bottom, and gently shake the patties from side to side as you pile them so that the sand settles. Seal with water.
• Carve the towers and the walls into shapes using tools such as a small trowel, a putty knife or plastic utensils.
• Dig a moat around your work to protect it from breaking waves and trampling feet.
2. Dress-up Relay
This “dress-up” beach relay is a hilarious group activity — perfect for candid photos. Divide the group into two teams. Fill two beach bags with an entire beach ensemble that includes flippers, a snorkel mask, very large swim trunks, sunglasses and a beach hat. Place the beach bags at the end of the running line. At the starting line, give a beach ball to each of the first two lead runners. The first runner on each team has to keep the beach ball between his or her knees while running/hopping to the beach bag filled with beachwear.
When a player gets to the beach bag, he must put on the entire beach outfit. When the outfit is complete, snap a photo. The player must quickly take it off again and pass the beach ball to the next player, who continues the race, until every runner on both teams has taken a turn.
3. Scavenger Hunt
A great way to spend a day at the beach is to set up an amusing scavenger hunt for the little ones. Armed with a sand pail and a list of items, each child sets out in search of a variety of beach treasures — seagull feathers, clam shells, seaweed, sand crabs and other items. The scavenger hunt is an engaging way to teach kids about nature.
The hunts can be set up for individual players or teams, and planners can organize the level of difficulty by age. For instance, you can ask the little ones to point out easily visible items (a cloud, an umbrella, a kite), while you can give the older kids a more challenging list of natural items to find.
Another variation is the ABC Scavenger Hunt, in which each player must find one item that begins with each letter of the alphabet (an acorn, a bug, a crab); the player who returns with the most items in the allotted time is the winner.
Hit the Books
Here are resources for filling your days with fun-filled games year-round:
Let’s Play, by Camilla Grykski (Kids Can Press)
The Kids Summer Games Book,
by Jane Drake and Ann Love (Kids Can Press)
Old-Fashioned Children’s Games, by Sharon O’Bryan (McFarland & Co.).