We spent a lot of time at home during our two months in Vinaròs, which allowed for lots of creative play with our under two’s. Meanwhile, as a family, we had beach time almost every day because we were on the doorsteps of one of the many beautiful bays around Vinaròs.
On each of the bays near Cala Montero, the bay we were based at, the beaches are pebbles. There’s very little sand. So while there was no sand play on the beach, we did find lots of interestingly shaped stones in all colours of the rainbow. Our favourite thing to do with the stones, was take them back home and paint them.
Carmelo created a set of stones where each of them had a specific drawing on them related to our atomic habits, such as meditation, writing, video editing, drawing, painting, playing. Atomic habits are the daily routines you want as part of your life if you were to make your life more fulfilling and more productive. Ajay and Giselle painted some rocks that our friend Mila took home for her garden on our last day there. Encouraged by Carmelo and Giselle, the little ones loved painting their rocks and pretending they were space ships or boats or fire engines or some other vehicles. Ahhhh, the beauty of having so few toys! They are happy with so little.
Because we have so few toys, a lot of things that the kids want to play with are made out of boxes and bottles and sticks. We managed to make a car ramp, a garage, a plane hangar etc. Most impressively, inspired by the Avengers End Game movie, Carmelo directed Giselle and Kenzo to paint some infinity stones using the little pebbles from the beach, and with a biscuit box he made the Infinity Gautlet, which fit perfectly on Kenzo’s hand.
Giselle, Ajay and Carmelo do a lot of drawing/painting. Carmelo mainly draws cartoons, Giselle recreates her favourite cartoon characters and Ajay creates fantasy and symbolic art pieces. This inspires Kenzo and Lui to often ask for felts and paper. Ajay began to create an art gallery in the house, complete with an opening night which had music and food. Kenzo and Lui would walk around talking about each piece they created.
I loved being on the beach with the family. And once Carmelo’s arm was out of the sling, he would lead Kenzo on adventures. Sometimes Kenzo would demand Carmelo take him on an adventure, which meant climbing a rock or the side of a cliff, or finding some rock pools. Although Ajay and I swam daily in our last few weeks, none of the kids did. It was too cold for them. They only entered the water if it was the access point to see a rock pool or a crab.
We began using the pool in the last few weeks of May. The pool was not much warmer than the Mediterranean Sea but it was more fun for Kenzo and Lui so we would hang there after Ajay and I had finished our two hour walks. They could throw toys in the pool or ride on crocodiles or whales (ie Ajay and I).
One time Kenzo, Lui and I were playing by the pool. Lui wondered to the other end and decided to put his feet in the water in the deep end. He fell in but by God’s grace, he dunked himself under and pulled himself up because somehow he knew to hang onto the ladder. When I heard the crying as I was running towards him, I was grateful he was alright.
Inspired by Peppa Pig, Giselle made a treasure hunt for Kenzo and Lui. She drew a map of the house and marked a spot with ‘X’. At the end of it were some biscuits. Kenzo loved it and wanted to make his own. We then began doing treasure hunts with clues. We would draw something like a table as one clue, he would go to the table and find the next clue which might have a picture of the lemon tree on it.
When we had finished our time with Mila, Carmelo and Giselle made a treasure hunt for her as a way of practicing English. At the end of it we had a little gift for her and she gave us gifts for our travels.