Children can find fun anywhere. That's what they do. Though what they want to do isn't always appropriate to the environment. Like when they're attempting to entertain themselves in church.
I've witnessed the mortification of many a parent vainly attempting to distract a bored child from climbing under pews, coming out between the legs of the horrified woman sitting in front of them; pinching their siblings until they cry; singing (or screaming) at the tops of their lungs. In the middle of the priest's liturgy.
Once upon a time – many, many years ago – my own youngest child pointed to the image of Christ on the cross and loudly asked, "Who's that?" My choices were to make like a lizard and camouflage myself, disappearing into the oak pews; answer him – opening up a can of worms I didn't feel like getting into at the time; or distract him with food. I chose the latter. I am a cowardly, weak woman.
But when you put kids on a beach there's an unrestrained quality of freedom and joy to their play. It may be the vastness of the playground, the limitless potential of playing with sand – constructing sand castles, or digging rivers then damming them – or the water itself, and all that lives in it. Shells and the stinky carcasses of sea life washed ashore are there to be collected, and there are endless waves to jump over.
Maybe some even notice the beauty of the seashore. Doubtful, but it could happen. Even if it's only in looking back at the photos, years later, seeing things through more mature eyes.
There are usually rocks, and in the case of the little girl in the second photo, a rusty, old shipwreck to climb. When I saw her, my first thought was "tetanus!," but looks like her parents were unconcerned enough to just let her go and enjoy. So I figured what the hell, and let my kids climb, too.
Let? That's putting too strong a spin on it. They were already gone. And still, no lockjaw here. Which is, I guess, a good thing. Usually.
I watched all these children play, knowing one day they'd lose the irresistible urge to run around the sand like little crazy people. Eventually maturity will rear its far more inhibited head – sooner than they know. They may have children of their own to watch then, splitting their attention between enjoying the beauty and making sure none of their kids drift out to sea – not allowing them the luxury of just taking it all in.
All that youth, energy, and innocence so open and free in nature's playground. It's a beautiful thing to see.