Nature’s Child

I think and hope we have had our last blast of summertime air in the Northeast. Yesterday’s temps were in the 90’s, but the rest of the week promises to be cooler. As Texas Mommy noted earlier this week, many of us LOVE the fall, and I feel very ready for its arrival.

I am, however, somewhat sad to see the days of summer, and particularly summer days at the beach, come to an end. We spent the 1st week of September at the beach, and it was a very relaxing time. The first week of September is always a last hurrah as we say goodbye to the summer. This year, on the last day, my oldest two children both cried.

With only a bucket, a ball, and a small shovel, children can entertain themselves for hours upon hours at the shore. Charlie (age 2) and Gianna (age 4) would spend their days, diving into the surf, laying in the water pretending to swim, throwing a ball, watching dry sand fall through their fingers, digging a hole, building a castle or a mountain, collecting shells, digging for clams, digging for sand crabs, chasing seagulls, spotting small fish in the water, AND among other things, learning about mussels, crabs, clams, barnacles, and porpoises.

The beach is truly a vacation from the hectic nature of life. It is a break from our Disneyworld culture of fast food, television shows, and bins of plastic toys. Life at the beach is simple and expectations are few. We wear our bathing suits by day, and change into our pajamas in the evening. We run, learn, and play all day on the beach. In the evening, we snuggle up with a good book and go to sleep. The only pressure comes from our children as they ask again and again to return to the beach. I’m sure this simple and relaxing time at the beach compares with a family camping trip, or a trip to a farm. Such vacations provide an amazing opportunity for children, and the parents, to really enjoy nature.

While an occasional family vacation to Disney World or Busch Gardens sounds like a blast (and we do drive to a nearby beach town boardwalk one night of our vacation), I think it better suits the natural creativity of children to spend a family vacation at a beach, lake, farm or camping spot. I might be taking things too far (big surprise right!), but it seems like kids who can’t have fun in nature are probably over-stimulated and over-scheduled. This is a very good reminder to me to schedule abundant outdoor time into our homeschooling curriculum–Charlotte Mason would be proud!

I’d love to hear from our readers about their family trips to these natural vacation spots. Any suggestions for a family thinking about camping for the 1st time? And how young is too young for a camping trip ( and how do you take a baby camping)?

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