How to Pack for a Day at the Beach with Kids

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Pack for a Day at the Beach with Kids
Pack for a Day at the Beach with Kids (Image: myinspiredheart.com)

Bringing your kids to the beach can be a rewarding and entertaining adventure, but it also requires some planning. A trip the the beach with kids and toddlers is very different than that of adults and requires attention to important details in order to have a safe and fun time. Make a list and give yourself plenty of time to organize all the necessities and you’ll be prepared for your family beach day in no time. Here’s a guide to packing for a day at the beach with your kids.

Things You'll Need

  • Beach bag
  • Towels (at least one per person)
  • Waterproof sun block
  • Beach toys
  • Flotation devices
  • Snacks
  • Water
  • Beach blanket
  • SPF sun hats and long sleeve shirts
  • Cooler (optional)
  • Umbrella (optional)
  • Swim diapers
  • Wet wipes
  • Assorted re-sealable plastic bags
  • Baby powder
  • Camera

Bring a large beach bag. There are a number of beach-specific bags on the market these days. Choose a large and durable bag that it light and roomy. Canvas or “boat” bags make perfect beach bag artillery, as well as large mesh bags that help to sift through sand and are perfect for beach toys and wet swim wear.

Don't forget the sun block. This may be the most important item for a day at the beach. Make sure your sun block is no less that SPF 25, has UVA and UVB protection and is waterproof. Reapply every two hours to dry skin, even if you have to drag them away from the water or an activity. Sun burns are not to be messed around with and having your kids whine for five minutes during the day is much better than a whole week of it because he burned his skin so badly. Spray sun screen is a great investment, because it makes the application process quick and easy.

Take Pplenty of water. Make sure you and your children are hydrating all day long. The hot sun will drain the body of its liquids quickly and it is vital to you and your kids health to stay adequately hydrated. Kids tend to swallow a lot of water and the salt in sea water will only act to further dehydrate them. Avoid sun stroke and severe exhaustion by drinking water all day long. Pack a small cooler with a number of small, sport top bottles. Kids are more likely to drink water if they have their own personal bottle.

Pack beach toys. Remember that kids aren’t going to be satisfied laying on their stomachs reading a book for six hours, so you’ll need to bring plenty to keep them entertained. The good thing is that kids are easily entertained. The sand and water give them a perfect background to get creative, so bring along some beach toys, especially sand castle tools and let them loose in the sand.

Take along wim safety items. If your child is new to swimming, you’ll want to bring some water safety devices, like water wings, suits with flotation devices and rafts. Remember that even the best swimmers can get caught in the strong ocean currents and undertows, so keep an eye on them when they’re in the water.

Pack swim diapers. If you have babies or children who are still being potty trained, bring swim diapers, baby wipes and baby powder. The baby wipes can also be used for cleaning hands and faces after eating lunch and for feet before you get back in the car to drive home. The salt and sweat can cause rashes and irritation, so use the baby powder to relieve irritation and friction. It also work great for getting rid of sand.

Bring appropriate beachwear. While children should be allowed to run around in their bathing suits for some time, do not allow hem to sunbathe for six hours without covering up some. Children's skin is much more sensitive than yours and you need to protect it. Sun hats and long sleeve shirts with an SPF protection are recommended for at least a portion of the day.

Take plenty of snacks. The hot sun zaps the energy right out of you, so bring snacks that are high in protein and will replenish you and your children’s energy. Peanut butter sandwiches, nut mixes or GORP, cheese and crackers, jerky and even hard candies will help to bring you back to life.

Bring plenty of towels, a beach blanket and umbrella. Bring a towel for each member of the family and throw in two extras as well. Kids will be in and out of the water and the sun, sweating and cold water will make them feel cold, so they’ll need to have dry towels. Sharing wet towels isn’t fun for anyone, so bring enough to keep everyone happy. Reserve your towels for wet bodies and bring a beach blanket for sitting. An umbrella is optional, but is a great way to escape from the suns rays.

Take Aa camera. A day at the beach with your family will afford you a lot of great pictures. These are moments that you won’t want to miss, especially if your children are new to beach fun. Bring a camera and a waterproof case and take a ton of pictures.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bring resealable bags in assorted sizes to keep things dry and sand free, like snacks, clean diapers, cell phones and cameras. These will also be handy for storing dirty diapers and wet bathing suits.
  • The sun can take away your appetite, so even if your kids say they aren’t hungry, make them eat a little bit so that they don’t get sick.
  • Don’t pack snacks that can spoil in the hot sun. Meat and salads should be avoided unless you plan on bringing a cold ice cooler.

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