Going to the beach is definitely something my whole family enjoys. I guess it’s my island style, but each of my children’s first visits to the beach holds a special place in my heart. It takes a lot of prep to make a trip to the beach with young kids a success, but it is so worth it. Learn why you should pack the swim shoes but skip the spray sunscreen.
School may back in session but, sun soaked beach days are long from being over. If you’ll have kids in tow on your beach visit, you may want pack more than just your swim suit. A day at the beach with young children is not going to be the day you get to just lay out in the sun so make sure you bring all the basic beach essentials.
Regardless, going to the beach with children is a lot of fun. To make sure that your next kiddie beach day is a success, here are the eight must-have items to take with you when you’re headed to the beach with young kids.
No matter the skin tone, protecting skin against harmful UVA/UVB is top priority at the beach. Sun protection is especially important on babies’ delicate skin. So pack a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 for your trip to the beach with kids.
When buying sunscreen for younger kids, look for tear-free, hypo-allogenic formulas that won’t sting or irritate. Don’t forget to re-apply minimally every 2 hours. Some sunscreens may need to be applied more frequently. Although it may be tempting, the FDA warns parents to avoid spray formulations on children as they pose a safety concern in kids if inhaled unintentionally.
Applying sunscreen on wiggly kids can be hard, but I’ve found that humming or singing a tune does help.
All beaches are not created equal. So to keep little bodies hydrated, take several bottles of fresh water with you. Don’t forget to bring your children’s bottles and/or sippy cups if they are still using one.
It’s also a good idea to bring extra bottles of water and store them in the car. Later, when the beach day is over, use the water to rinse sandy toes and other beach sand covered body parts that you may have missed. Definitely used this little trick many times growing up in the Caribbean, especially when beachside showers are sometimes nowhere to be found.
If you’re a nursing mom, you’ll find that fresh water comes in handy for rinsing not just sandy but, salty body parts as well.
3. Sun Protection Swim Suits
A great way to keep young children’s skin protected from the harsh sun is by buying swimwear and apparel with the sun protection already built in. Retailers offer hats, swimsuits and even head bands that make it so much easier to keep little ones protected from the sun.
And for all those fashion forward mamas, there are lots of cute options too!
4. Swim Shoes
Have you ever walked along a shoreline that has been baking in the sun all day long? Ouch! Save small toes from painful burns by packing swim shoes for everyone on your next beach day. Swim shoes also come in handy for protecting young feet from beach glass, sharp shells and other items that may pose a threat to tiny feet while shell finding.
One of our favorite beach spots is Coki Point Beach in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. White sand, turquoise blue waters and not as many shells to get in the way of squishy, sandy toes.
5. Sand Bucket
If you are taking the kids to the beach, you might as well let them play in the sand. If the beach is near home base, then be sure to pack sand toys like buckets, molds and shovels. For beach destinations further away, save on storage space by borrowing beach toys and amenities from your host hotel during the beach getaway.
The West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad, California leant us beach toys on our recent visit to Delmar beach, and boy was it a lifesaver.
Another option is to buy some affordable sand toys while on the trip and then leave them behind as a courtesy to other hotel or beach house guests. There are even collapsible beach pails that fold flat for easy storage and transport.
6. Swim Diapers
If your little one is still in diapers, a day at the beach is not the time to go commando. There are lots of options for disposable swim pants and even built-in swim diapers that are a part of swim wear. Be kind to other guests and save yourself some strife by taking swim diapers with you.
A day at the beach with kids is just full of Instagrammable and photobook memories just waiting to be captured. Luckily, these days just the built in camera on a smart phone is capable of freezing precious moments in time like baby’s first swim, a peculiar collection of shells or sweet, soft toes in the sand.
8. Beach Bag
With so many things to carry, taking a beach bag just makes sense. But not just any beach will do. Bring a large beach bag with a sturdy bottom to allow for easy transport of all those beach items. Straw bags are cute and all but think long and hard about if your straw bag is practical for a day at the beach with the little ones. They just don’t accommodate as much stuff, and constant snagging in a poorly constructed bag can also be a big concern.
The best thing is to stick with a bag that is big, waterproof, and perhaps made of mesh to allow for sand to easily pass through. If your kids are five or over, have them hold their own bags to help lighten the load. Going to the beach with kids is always fun but, make sure that you are prepared by taking the right things with you.