You’re probably thinking what in the world is physical literacy and why is that important? Doesn’t literacy involve print? Physical literacy, numeracy, and literacy are all important factors in your munchkins’s development and your munchkins is exposed to each of the above earlier than you’d guess. You start exploring these concepts by reading with your baby (literacy), singing songs (literacy/numeracy), packing up some of their beloved stuffies or toys before taking a trip (numeracy and physical literacy), and encouraging/supporting them to roll over or take their first steps (physical literacy). 

“Physical literacy is the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge and understanding to value and take responsibility for engagement in physical activities for life.” The International Physical Literacy Association, May 2014 

It’s important that munchkins learn movement skills in each of the four basic environments: 

On the ground – as a basis for games, sport and dance.

In the water – as the basis for all aquatic activities.

On snow and ice – as the basis for all winter sliding activities.

In the air – basis for gymnastics, diving and other aerial activities. 

I thought it would be cool to provide a short list of ways you can promote your munchkins’s physical activity while enjoying time at the beach as most families do throughout the summer! 

Build Sand Castles 

See who can build the biggest sand castle and then have fun stomping them down. The sensation of taking big steps and stomping are great ways to practice physical literacy with younger munchkins who have just learned to walk. You could make a long line of sand piles and take turns running down the line stomping the piles.  If you’re at the beach with older munchkins you could add the element of a time restriction (2 mins) and require them to make their castles a little more elaborate (ie they must incorporate 3 rocks, 2 sticks and 1 shell). Setting requirements means they will have to search the beach for the materials they need and who doesn’t love a good beach scavenger hunt! 

While we’re talking about sand- if you haven’t played hopscotch at the beach in the sand, you haven’t lived! It is so much fun for everyone! 

(Picture from: http://www.annageorgianna.com/category/travel/) 

Stick Tents 

During a day at the beach there’s usually a time when the munchkins take a break from the sun and water for a quick snack. Why not construct stick tents using sticks and beach towels to create some temporary shade to enjoy your snack in. Each munchkin will already have their beach towel, all they need to find are some tall enough sticks to stick into the sand, and then VOILA! Put your towel over them and you have your very own tent! (extra added bonus- the towels will dry faster and be ready for the next dry off!) 

I’ve posted a link below to assist you with your stick tent construction, but feel free to allow your munchkin to come up with their own unique tent creation ideas. 

http://sayyes.com/2014/07/how-to-make-a-boho-beach-tent.html 

Find Wish Rocks 

These are awesome to find and I got the idea after a trip to St. Martins, N.B. In the Once Upon A Tide gift shop on the beach they give wish stones away with a verse that reads: 

Wish Rock 

A “Wish Rock” is any rock with a continuous band of white around the rock. 

This wish rock was found on the beach at (insert name of beach here). 

The local legend is that if you find one, you make a wish. Once that wish comes true you pass the rock on to someone else to make their own wish. 

So make your wish, and when it comes true, be sure to pass this along to someone new! 

Munchkins will enjoy searching for these rocks on the beach all while enhancing their physical literacy skills (picking up rocks, turning them over, running/walking on sand/rocks or in the water). You can print out the above legend and give the rocks to friends and family as cute gifts from the munchkins! 

Wave Fun 

I haven’t met a munchkin yet who doesn’t love playing in the waves in a safe environment. This is great physical literacy practice as well! Kicking the waves, jumping the waves, and running away from the waves before they reach you are all great activities that enhance this practice. It’s also fun to float on boogie boards as the waves wash you to shore. I have also used the waves to have races with the munchkins beach toys before. You can buy cheap floating boats, whales, and fish from a local dollar store (or use sticks found on the beach for free) and have munchkins stand into the water at the “starting line” and then release the toys and see whose makes it to the shore first. After the toys race then you could have the munchkins race to practice their speed and endurance! 

Sending you all well wishes as you enjoy the rest of the summer with your munchkins,

PlayCoach Amanda Weaver at Movin Munchkins Saint John

Useful Resources and links:

6 Simple Ways to Support Physical Literacy in Kids

What is Physical Literacy