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Sesame Family Newsletter July 10, 2008

Sea, Sun, and Sand

by Joy Brewster

How one family enjoys their annual beach vacation.

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Featuring:

Something for Everyone

Roadtrip to the Beach

So Much to Do, so Little Time

Staying Safe in the Sun

Time Out of the Sun

A Week Flies By

Games and More
Fun in the Sun

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SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE

 

"Digging in the sand!"
"Chasing waves."
"Finishing an entire book."
"Swimming out to the sandbar."
"Riding the ferry."
"My secret hideout."
"Afternoon cocktails."

Above are just a few responses my family gave when I asked what they loved most about our recent beach trip. As for me, I enjoyed spending time with my old college friends and their families, who have been part of our summer beach trip for the past several years. This annual tradition has become my favorite part of summer -- one precious week to relax, bend the rules a little, and just enjoy being together.

 

ROADTRIP TO THE BEACH

TRAVEL BOREDOM BUSTERS
Seven travel games to keep your preschooler amused.

 

HOW WE SPENT OUR SPRING VACATION
There's no place like home--especially after a road trip with the kids.

 

THE ART AND SCIENCE OF HAVING FUN
Kids can enjoy adult museums, too.

 

 

As much as I look forward to our beach vacation, I can't say the same about the road trip getting there. Inevitably, five minutes after we take a bathroom break, 5-year-old Olivia has to go AGAIN. And little brother Vann, age 3, fights his much-needed afternoon nap until he's delirious and cranky, which tends to rub off on the rest of us.

But the biggest challenge is keeping the kids entertained. Of course, it's easy at the start of the trip. They delve into the big bag of toys and books, playing games or drawing on the magnetic doodle pad. After an hour or so, we'll break into the "road food," which usually starts a round of jokes like, "Roads don't eat food!" Then there are the silly road games, stories, and songs, until we're all itching to stretch our legs. Whenever we can, we try to pack a picnic lunch and stop at rest areas along the way. (One friend of ours remembers stopping for picnics at fire towers on family road trips through rural North Carolina.) For longer trips, my husband Steve looks for fun "destinations" along the way, like local museums and parks. On one trip, we spent a couple of hours at a train museum -- to this day, I think that's what the kids remember most about that vacation.

And when all else fails? Well, we do what we swore we never would do -- we turn on videos. Before we had children, we'd see kids in other cars watching videos on the highway, and think, "What, they can't go a couple hours without videos?" Now, when a favorite movie keeps them happy after five hours in the car, we have a whole new appreciation for portable DVD players!

 

SO MUCH TO DO, SO LITTLE TIME

VIDEO PLAYER: BEACH 
Search the word "beach" for lots of fun videos about crabs, sand castles, making a beach mobile, swimming in the ocean, and even Bert and Ernie at the beach.
 

BEACHY KEEN
How to make seaside vacations a shore thing.


SPLASH DOWN
Get all wet with these fun games to play with your kids at the pool and the beach.

 

Once we arrive, it's easy to put the road trip behind us -- especially when we hit the beach. Of course, our beach activities have evolved as our kids have grown older. As babies and toddlers, they were content to dig holes by our feet or let the waves tickle their toes on the shore. Gone are the lazy hours spent on the beach helping build a single sand castle. Now, our energetic preschooler and kindergartener want all action, all day! The sand castle has been replaced by a giant sand "fort"-- a huge sand mountain surrounded by a moat for the kids to climb, slide, and race around. These days, there are whiffle ball games, boogie boards, and long walks to see the fishermen at the end of the island.

This year Olivia braved the waves like never before, bobbing in the water past the breaking waves with Steve. As for Vann, he still prefers staying on the shore, getting close enough to run through the waves and throw shells into the ocean.


 


 

 

STAYING SAFE IN THE SUN

SAFE SPLASHING
Keep your child safe in the water.

 

WATER WARNING!
Three essential tips for safeguarding your child in the water.

 

SUN-SAFE STRATEGIES
Tips to keep your little ones safe at the beach or the pool.

 

 

Steve and I are neurotic about sunblock, especially with the kids. But no matter how careful we are we still manage to miss one or two spots that unexpectedly burn -- the tops of feet, the backs of knees, and even earlobes. This year was no exception. I thought we had thoroughly covered the family before our first day on the beach, and then I came back with pink armpits. Ouch!

Even when armed with sunblock, water, and snacks, we know there are limits to how much sun we can take. So while the activities have changed over the years, our schedule has pretty much stayed the same: mornings on the beach, back to the beach house for lunch and a few hours of downtime, then return to the beach for a while in the late afternoon before dinner.

 

TIME OUT OF THE SUN

IN PRAISE OF DOWNTIME
Set aside the schedule and have some fun.

 

CHALK CREATIONS
Let's talk chalk! Imaginative games for sidewalk drawers.

 

Some of the best memories from our beach vacation are times when we're not on the beach. In the height of the afternoon sun, we often hang out at the house or go on adventures, like taking the ferry to a local aquarium.

Olivia's favorite spot in the house was her "secret hideout," an empty closet where she'd lounge with a book or giggle and hide with one of the other kids. When Vann wasn't napping or hiding with Olivia, he was thrilled to play with all the big-boy toys, like remote-controlled cars. And when those "big boys" weren't out playing putt-putt golf, they entertained themselves with computer games. (And we thought an Internet connection was essential for the parents!)

Art projects brought all the kids together, whether they were coloring pirates or drawing self-portraits with sidewalk chalk.

 

 

A WEEK FLIES BY

 


All too soon, the week was over and we were stripping beds, searching for puzzle pieces, and shaking sand out of our towels one last time. As we packed our cars that morning, we let the kids watch videos and eat the last ice-cream sandwiches and popsicles (yes, for breakfast!). It seemed like a fitting way to end the week -- letting the kids relax, bending the rules, and just having fun being together.

Here's to your own summer family vacation, wherever you go!

Joy Brewster

 

WEEKLY TRIVIA

 

Did you know? 

Some Sesame Street Muppets are designed with colors that complement each other.

It's true! Best friends Elmo and Zoe have matching red and orange color schemes.

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP

Sesame Workshop is a nonprofit educational organization making a meaningful difference in children's lives around the world. Founded in 1968, the Workshop changed television forever with the legendary Sesame Street. Today, the Workshop continues to innovate on behalf of children in 120 countries, using its proprietary research methodology to ensure its programs and products are engaging and enriching. Sesame Workshop is behind award-winning programs like Dragon Tales and Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat, Pinky Dinky Doo and ground breaking multimedia productions in South Africa, Egypt and Russia. As a nonprofit, Sesame Workshop puts the proceeds it receives from sales of Sesame Street, Dragon Tales and Sagwa products right back into its educational projects for children around the world. Find the Workshop online at www.sesameworkshop.org.

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