Are you thinking about those bright warm sunny days just around the corner? Yearning for the sand beneath your toes and the excited cries of children running wild, splashing in the water? Me too! While I’m dreaming about swapping the down jackets for t shirts and kicking off the winter boots for flip flops I’ve decided to come up with ideas on how to pack for the beach. First things first, the essentials; Tips for packing for a day at the beach
Sunscreen – Best applied before getting to the beach. The question these days is whether to go natural or use the tried, tested and true big brands. Do you research if using a natural sunscreen as they are not all created equal. Some need to be applied more often and typically aren’t water resistant. For natural options I have tried Badger and Original Sprout and liked both of them. Spray on sunscreen seems to be the most convenient for wiggly children but inhaling all that excess aerosol is definitely a deterrent. Figure out what works best for you and your family but don’t forget to pack it along and apply liberally.
Hats – Some kids don’t like to wear hats but it’s necessary at the beach especially during the hottest part of the afternoon. Their little bodies are more susceptible to over heating then ours. Let them pick out their own hat or reward them with a treat if they keep it on all day.
Blankets and towels – Some very smart person out there came up with the idea of the packable blanket that works perfectly for the beach, easy to carry and the sand only sticks to one side. In addition, my rule of thumb for towels is one large towel for every 2 people to save space or take those cute hooded kid towels and just throw one over each kid as you leave.
Sand toys – For us it’s buckets and diggers and a blow up ball for space saving rather than a soccer ball. Encourage the kids to explore their environment and use found objects to decorate their castle or draw in the sand with a stick. I throw our sand toys in a separate reusable bag for easy carrying and storage at home.
Water and snacks – Depending on how long you plan to be at the beach it’s always wise to pack more water and snacks than you think you will need. Cut up vegetables and fruit work nicely along with trail mix and juice boxes.
Things that are nice to have yet not essential are:
Shade – Bring a small pop up tent or large umbrella especially if your child is less than 2 years old or will likely have a short nap at the beach (or if daddy needs a snooze!). Providing a bit of shade equals less stress about sunscreen and heat stroke.
Friends – Try and meet friends or bring one of your child’s friends with you. It’s amazing how relaxing the beach can be if you aren’t the only one to be the sand castle helper, water splasher or soccer goalie.
Final tips for packing for a day at the beach:
Try to pack everything into a big Rubbermaid bin or wagon you can pull for easy transport. A wagon also doubles as kid transport if tiny feet are too tired at the end of the day to hike back to the car.
Wear swimsuits to the beach and have a change of clothes in the car. It’s easier to change in the parking lot rather than on the beach and a lot less sand ends up inside the car.
I hope we are all hitting the beach soon! What are you must have items when you go for a beach day?