Nothing says summer like spending time at a beach. Unfortunately, it is not usually possible to take kids to a beach during a session. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have a fun beach day. Think outside of the box and bring the beach to you. Bring in beach items from home and create your own beach for everyone to enjoy. It’s also a great time to check in with families to see if anyone has ties to beaches. Perhaps they have lived by the ocean, or come from another country which has beaches that they went to. This is a great way to incorporate individuals from multilingual families.
Before kids arrive, transform a space into a beach area. Put a giant beach blanket onto the ground. Bring some sand in a sensory box which is big enough for everyone to get their hands into it. Toss in some shovels, pails, and other sand toys. Inflate several beach balls and put them around the space. When the kids arrive for sessions, invite them to sit down on the blanket and relax.
Take some time to read some books to share with the kids about the topic. This is the perfect introduction to check in with them to see if they have been to a beach, and how many times. Some books which will work well with this subject include:
- Duck & Goose Go to the Beach by Tad Hills
- Curious George Goes to the Beach by H. A. Rey
- Pete the Cat: Pete at the Beach by James Dean
- There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Shell by Lucille Colandro
- Beach Day by Karen Roosa
- Miranda’s Beach Day by Holly Keller
- The Sand Castle Contest by Robert Munsch
- Beach Party! by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback
A great extension after reading is to have a search party in the sand. Have a container of toys that can get hidden in the sand for everyone to dig out. This will help with strengthening skills like teamwork, taking turns, and following instructions. In addition to this, using different tools to dig through the sand will help fine motor goals. For children working on speech and language skills, practice using the item found in a creative sentence.
Therapists can also take time to chat with students about life experiences at the beach. Do they have a favorite memory? When and where do they usually go? Do they prefer to play in the sand or water? Tie in any photos or special items that families may have seen in about their beach experiences.