It’s the middle of the day. The kids have been out since 10:00am and the sun is at its mid day zenith. Recent reports tell us Kids’ sun exposure may be key to deadly cancer so we’re heading inside for a few hours to avoid the scary 12:00-2:00 UV rays.
Oh wait, this just might not be practical! We’re at the pool/a picnic/ a park…there is no inside! What should we do?
This turns out to be an issue that comes up a lot in the summer. But as child who spent every summer from 9:30am to 6:00pm at the local swimming pool, I’m full of ideas for activities to bring along to the beach or pool and do in the shade.
So, in addition to your typical beach or pool supplies – sunscreen, snack, water, towels and changes of clothes, pack a few of these things as well.
1. Books – books to read aloud and books for children to read themselves. Especially older children really enjoy having a story read aloud (since it doesn’t happen as much anymore). Pick a classic that can be read over several sessions…especially one that has a few pictures. I like Barefoot Books stories of Knights and Pirates or Princesses and Horses or the illustrated classic Narnia series by C.S. Lewis.
2. Card games – the beach or pool is a great place to play card games. They’re easy to carry and one pack can provide a multitude of games. We were always fond of War and Rummy and would spend hours under a shady tree playing with which ever child had been tossed out of the pool either for an infraction or by a parent worried about over exposure. Learn how to play them here.
3. Drawing and coloring. – Bringing lots of pads and paper, coloring books and art supplies to a watery area seems somewhat counter intuitive, but if you plan ahead for a shady break you can find a spot away from the drink for kids to quietly exercise their creativity. Be sure to bring hard backed sturdy pads since often the shady spot is on the grass and pencil cases of some sort to keep markers, crayons and pencils from rolling away.
If there is a fairly large shady space available, you can bring favorite toys – cars or dolls, play figures or even Legos or blocks. The key is, of course planning ahead and providing a blanket for lounging on, an umbrella to provide shade if none is available and a designated time period for out of the sun play. Just after lunch works well since you can merge it with the “keep out of the water for at least ½ hour after eating” rule.
A little shade time goes a long way toward protecting kids from the sun and avoids those long nights of applying aloe and comforting sad and sunburned kids.
Photo credit: basykes at Flickr under Creative Commons License
Related posts about things To do With Kids:
7 Things To Do With Kids This Summer That You Usually Do Indoors Or How to Combat Vitamin D Deficiency