Beach Therapy…for my daughter with special needs

20151003_162231For the past nine years we’ve found ourselves living as educators/cross-cultural workers/Christian workers (we’re still figuring out what to call ourselves) on an island that sits on the brink of the Pacific Coast. I have come to realize that being on the beach with a good book and drink is therapeutic to the mind, body, and soul. There is just something about the whooshing sound of the waves, the warm sun and sight of green mountains, blue sky, and blue/turquoise water that just makes me exhale deeply. Seriously, just writing about it I exhaled…

While I quickly discovered this amazing way to relax – remember I grew up in Midwest, USA – I had NO idea how taking my daughter with special needs would be beneficial to her as well. And to be honest, living overseas makes it difficult sometimes to find therapies for our TCKs with special needs. So, I love it when I can do things that I know are beneficial and inexpensive.

1. Digging in the sand – She uses both fine and gross motor skills as she digs holes and her sandpit is HUGE.
2. Filling buckets – with the sand that she just got from digging holes and also the countless trips back and forth to fill up the buckets with water to pour into the holes.20151003_160440

3. Sand – Just the texture of the sand itself is therapeutic. Many kids don’t like it, so they have to be introduced to it over and over – but others, like my daughter, LOVE it. For us, we had to teach her that it was not okay to put it in her mouth.

4. Running/walking in the sand – If you’ve ever tried running on the beach yourself, you know the workout you can get from it. Enough said.

5. Standing in the waves – This really depends on how strong the waves are. Of course, if they are pretty strong – then do not put your child in the water. But if the waves are mild, then the constant motion is great for balancing. *

6. Jumping the waves – I know our PT has worked with us on getting Jie Jie to jump and this is a fun way to jump over something.

7. Collecting shells – We can work on balance as she 20150919_160228bends over to pick up the shells and walking without dropping the shells out of the bucket.

8. Playing with the hermit crabs -Jie JIe is an animal lover, and last month her younger sister introduced her to hermit crabs. She loves picking them up and letting them scurry across her hand or trying to scare me with them.

9. Boogie boarding – My daughter is not able to do this completely on her own, but she loves to lay on the board and let the waves take her in and out. We also go out with her sometimes and help her catch a wave that is a bit farther out.


10. Surfing – I’ve not had the opportunity to do this, but from reading about Surfer’s Healing, it is something I’d love for her to experience. Below is a picture of her out in the kayak with her dad – this girl loves the beach.20151003_151111

We’ve just moved to a new city, finally – but transition is rough. I think tomorrow we are in need of some therapy….beach therapy.

* Always be extra careful when taking your child with special needs out into the ocean. We always have Jie Jie wear a life-vest even when the water seems calm.

Your Turn: What are some activities that you have found therapeutic to you and has been good for your children as well? Please share below.


Vacation Turned Staycation

If you remember I posted awhile back our plans to go camping over vacation. Well, that didn’t happen. We decided to take the tips that I wrote about and do a staycation. If you did not get to read those tips you can click here to read them or review them.

I’ll admit I had mixed emotions. I wanted to get out of the city, away from the apartment, to escape the routine, but the thought of packing everyone up and camping was a bit exhausting. The weather wasn’t looking that great either, so Leaky Tent Phobia took over. We stayed home.

What did we do?

1. Celebrated 100 years of ROC.  We stood with the other few thousand gathered around the intersection to watch the military drive by. I would call it a parade, but it wasn’t really one. The real parade was invitation only. We caught the line up after the show on their way back to base. It was still pretty spectacular with the face paint, fighter jets flying by, and the parachuters jumping out with their red, blue, and white parachutes.

Frog Men armed and ready...

This guy scared me and intrigued me all at the same time!

"The French have landed! The French have landed!" was what my husband wanted to shout as they glided down to the ground. =)

Watched the show from our rooftop!

2. Beach Trip. Went to the beach for half a day. We forgot the boogie boards, but kids caught some waves anyway. Any day at the beach is a good day, sand and all.

3. Cable Car Ride. We rode the cable car up to the tea farms. Our cable car had a glass bottom. Yes, it did! To say the least, it made for an interesting ride as we climbed higher and higher up the mountain. I wasn’t sure if it was really that hot inside our glass death trap or if my body was reacting to the little bit of stress I felt every time Jie Jie would get excited and start jumping. We survived the 30-minutes and took the glass bottom box back down. All for the love of our kids, cause it ain’t gonna happen again!

4. Zoo Trip. A few hours with friends at the zoo is always fun. I officially called our group, The Crazy Mom Club. You know 5 moms take out 14 children. No more needs to be said, except that we didn’t loose any kids and we all were laughing and having fun.

I’m really glad we didn’t go camping. We would have missed the “parade”, the fireworks, and probably would have had to sleep in the rain. It was the best decision we could have made. Bonus points: we saved money. Now I’m planning Christmas vacation with more money in our budget.

If you had a fall break, what did you do? What other staycation ideas do you have? Share in the comments below.