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Beach entertainment

It used to be the case that going to the beach involved lying in the sun, perhaps delving into a book, splashing in the sea and relaxing. Now, seaside towns on the Costa Dorada (Spain) are offering free beachside exercise classes, from abdominal workouts and water aerobics to Latin dancing and Tai-Chi.

Vilanova i la Geltrú, a town south of Barcelona, has hired staff from a local gym to run the fitness campaign on three of its beaches. In Sitges scheduled activities such as body combat and gluteals are on offer five days a week. “The classes are intended for everyone, but I’m sorry to say, it is the British that could really use the aerobics more,” said Marina Martínez, a tourist office worker in Salou, near Tarragona, whose population swells from 20,000 to 300,000 with the beach-blanket crowd.

Keep the kids entertained

If organised activities and energetic aerobics are not your cup of tea, and you prefer to escape to a beach that offers nothing more than sun, sea and relaxation, here are our suggestions for keeping your children entertained.

Beaches are surprisingly full of fun things to keep the kids occupied – exercise a little creativity and you’ll keep them amused for hours.

Scavenger hunt

Have a scavenger hunt. Make up a list of things you can find on a beach – shells, rocks, seaweed, horseshoe crabs – use your imagination and see who’s the fastest at finding everything on the list.

Sand games

Sand offers lots of opportunities to make up new games to play – you can draw on it and build things with it. Try tracing out a dartboard and tossing rocks or shells to see who can get a bull’s-eye. Draw a tic-tac-toe square or a hopscotch court. You can even play “beach bowling” by constructing pins from sand and rolling a ball to see who can smash them. Or make a sand giant. Trace your shadow in the sand and decorate it with rocks and shells.

Arts and crafts

Shells, seaweed and other beach finds can be used to create art projects that will not only keep the kids busy, but will give them a souvenir to take home. Plan ahead, and bring paper, glue and other craft items with you on your trip. Have the kids search the dunes for pretty rocks and different coloured pebbles, then have them use their collection to make a picture or decorate a piece of driftwood. You can even make “sand mosaics” by drawing out a picture in glue on a dark piece of paper, then covering it with sand.

Water games

Make up new water games. If you have got water pistols and beach balls, you can have a race. Draw a starting line in the sand and set the beach balls there. Then use your water pistol to push the ball along with water, seeing who can go the fastest.

These activities are great for days when it is too chilly to go in the water, or when the grown-ups want some time to themselves. Just be sure to keep an eye on things. Kids should never be left unsupervised on the beach, and should be monitored for overexposure to the sun.