The Ultimate Sensory Experience For Kids

16 Dec 2015 0 Share

Happy beach kids, Photo by Brooke Ingram Colless

Happy beach kids, Photo by Brooke Ingram Colless

A surfing mum is a happy mum, but a surfing mum's child is a happy child too!
Blog provided by Karen Masson from Surfing Mums Inc.

Getting time in the surf is so important for our sanity and wellbeing, but it's also just as important for our kids and babies. There's been tons of studies done on how nature not only nurtures our souls, but is very important for our brains and emotions. There's even a new term for the lack of time on the outdoors - the "nature deficit".

Meeting up with Surfing Mums each week and enjoying the beautiful sunshine, the wind on our faces, the salt water on our bodies and the sand in our toes is fixing this deficit.

I'm a paediatric Occupational Therapist and a surfing Mum, so I'm interested in child development and I love surfing and the beach, and want to instill this love in my children. Here are a few studies that show that the effort we make every week to get the kids and all the beach stuff that goes with a morning at the beach - towels, snacks, spades and buckets, board!! - is all worth it.

SEE ALSO: 5 Kid-Friendly Surfing & Camping Spots For Summer

"Nature is the ultimate sensory experience.” (Angela Hanscom OT) Playing in the sand, swimming in the water, being knocked down by the waves, tasting the salt, hearing the ocean and birds are all important for development of our children’s sensory and body awareness.

"Baby feet have many developing muscles that get quite a workout when walking on the floor, carpet, dirt and grass (and sand!)” says Margaret Rice, a pediatric physical therapist. “The feet react differently to each surface, causing the muscles to strengthen and stretch when barefoot....When babies are in direct contact with the ground it can help them to develop a better sense of touch and body awareness.”

Playing in nature boosts cognitive development. “After one year, kids with greater exposure to green space showed greater increases in key cognitive abilities, on average, than their peers with less access to grass and trees. Their level of attentiveness also increased at a heightened rate.” - Tom Jacobs

Photo provided by Surfing Mums

Photo provided by Surfing Mums

But the following is what I love the most about sharing time with our babies and children each week at the beach.

Research shows that shared experiences in the natural world help form parent-child bonds and connections. Our homes are filled with distractions—cleaning and washing begging to be done, computers and telephones taking up our attention. But sharing time outdoors, at the beach, encourages what experts call “effective sharing" (a feature of a securely attached infant and parent.) "Because the natural world (the beach) is filled with sights, sounds, and smells that ignite a young child’s curiosity and invite active exploration, being outdoors also can make it easy for a parent to follow the child’s lead, to respond to the child’s cues and expressed interests, to share the child’s delight in new discoveries and experiences—the very ingredients shown to lead to a secure attachment. Furthermore, many a parent has discovered that an almost surefire way to soothe a tired, cranky infant is to go outdoors. Fresh air, a gentle breeze, the warmth of the sun, the fragrance of flowers and grass can calm both a fussy baby and a frazzled parent, allowing for one of those special moments of quiet connection." Martha Farrell Erickson, Ph.D.

SEE ALSO: The 20 Best Presents For Surfers & Groms This Christmas

I love my session in the surf each week at Surfing Mums - my sanity and soul is restored by the waves and sun and the salt. I also love watching the babies walking and falling in the soft sand, the older kids climbing the rocks, and toddlers and kids jumping off the sand dunes, digging and building castles, drawing with sticks in the sand, collecting that special shell. Sharing these experiences with our children builds enduring and beautiful connections.

Tags: surfing , mums , topnews , Karen Masson , kids (create Alert from these tags)

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