Posted: Jul 09, 2014 8:00 AM
As summer temperatures rise, so does body anxiety in many women. Some women worry about defined arms and toned tummies and forget about enjoying the fun the beach has to offer. Follow your kids' lead this summer and play in the waves instead of worrying about gracing the cover of a swimsuit magazine.
Photo credit: Eric Audras/ ONOKY/360/ Getty Images

Body image and the beach

Beach scenes in movies contain a great deal of frolicking, toothpaste-ad smiles and women who aren't worrying about whether or not diving for a Frisbee is going to dislodge their bathing suit. Those scenes are comprised of good camera angles — and probably some double-sided tape — but many women find themselves comparing themselves to those picture-perfect beach shots. Suddenly, reclining under a beach umbrella seems like the best way to disappear into the background. If devouring your latest beach read is your idea of the ideal day at the beach, read away. However, there's more fun to be had at the water's edge — and you don't need a good camera angle for any of it.

^Bring your balls to the beach

There's something about the breeze at the beach that makes playing catch more fun. Nerf balls float easily through the air, so kids of all ages can partake in the fun. Whether you're playing a two-man game of toss football or gathering a crowd for a pickup volleyball game, a little beach competition is a great way to decide who has to carry the heaviest beach gear back to the car.

^Stay cool with water games

When you've had enough of the sun, head to the water for a respite from the heat. Stay active in the waves by bringing old school-yard favorites into the water. Get silly with a game of Simon Says, making sure you're taking swimmers' skill levels into consideration. If you're playing with little ones, stay in shallow water and let them be Simon to make sure they're comfortable with the challenges. If you have at least two adults in the water, keep kids in sight with a water version of What Time is It Mr. Fox? One adult can start as the fox — and test the depth of the water — while the other stays close to the shore line to monitor the players.

^Explore the beach

Venture away from the safety of your beach blanket oasis and see what else your beach has to offer. Is there a boardwalk? Mini golf? Shuffleboard? The relaxed atmosphere of a beach day means no one will hurry you through the windmill obstacle on the mini-golf course, and no one is going to criticize you for not knowing the rules to shuffleboard or bocce ball. Even if all you find is a spigot to rinse off the sand from your feet, the change in scenery will be exciting to your kids.

^Beachfront scavenger hunts unearth treasures

The water's edge contains a variety of treasures, from feathered seaweed to bits and pieces of shells. Some lakes and oceans will even have small sea animals, like minnows, gathering near the shore. For a little one-on-one time with one of your children, pick up a sand pail and walk along the water. Talk about the things you might find, and gather them into the pail. A beach walk is a welcome chance to slow down your footsteps and enjoy the company — and your book will be waiting under your umbrella when you return.

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