Summer has just begun back home, but here (in the UAE) it is getting to the point where you cannot go out except for the few necessary minutes it takes to get in/out of the car and your destination. However, we took full advantage of the beautiful weather last month.
Little Duck and I have been very lucky to join my husband on his weekly business trips lately. The hotel he is staying in has an attached resort which is perfect for the both of us. While DH is usually not able to join us, he is content knowing we are making use of the facilities and enjoying our time.
I know nature walks are incredibly important but sometimes I focus on other indoor activities, and I forget how much more hands on going outside can be. Our trip to the beach was filled with learning opportunities and so we ended up going every day of the week, a lot more than I was expecting.
The first day was spent walking along the shore and collecting sea shells. Little Duck loved this. She would spot one, say the word in Arabic, sadaf (seashell), go down to get it (sometimes getting splashed in the face), clean it off, and put it in our bucket to take back. When we went to rest on the beach bed, she examined each one closely, touched each side, and constantly repeated her new word. I can’t wait to put them in a jar for us to reflect back on later and for her to continue exploring.
The next day, we spent more time talking about the things around us at the beach. She picked up so many words in Arabic such as bahr (beach/ocean), mayy (water), shams (sun), sama’ (sky), raml (sand), etc. We were able to spot a couple of birds that came down to drink from the ocean which really excited her.
The next couple of days, she spent more time getting comfortable in the water. A couple of months ago, I took her to the beach and she would not leave my arms nor let the water get anywhere near her. She was absolutely terrified. These couple of days, I have watched her easily walk up to chest level in the water. Her confidence was building so much that she refused to hold my hand. She was putting her face in the water, sitting, and just loving every minute of it. I was having to force her out which was such a change from her previous attitude!
One of my favorite activities was building a sand castle on the beach. I bought a bucket filled with different sand castle/beach toys for kids back in the winter while I was still in the states (which now I am so happy I did)! My daughter would fill up the buckets with sand using her little scoop and my job was to flip them over and gently lift the molds to create our various structures. I loved watching her concentrate so seriously on her task and keep an eye on me to make sure I did not ruin our castle (haha). She was focused and determined throughout.
Our days at the beach turned out to be excellent for building vocabulary, sensory play, discovery, fine motor skills, etc. We created some amazing memories that I cannot wait to share with her when she is older. With baby number two coming next month, it really was an excellent way for us to spend time together and bond.