MUST-PACK Items for Taking a Kid to the Beach
All spring and summer long, two of my most heavily visited posts are related to beach vacations. One is Top 15 MUST-PACK Items for Taking a Baby to the Beach and the other is Top 15 MUST-PACK Items for Taking a Toddler to the Beach. Both are great resources for taking those specific ages on a trip to the beach, whether you’re just going for the day or spending a week or more by the ocean.
Here is the final installment of this series – focused on kids between the preschool and tween age. Also before you head for the shore, don’t forget to check out the The 13 Beach Bag Essentials You Don’t Want to Forget!
1. Beach Tent Sun Shelter – For shelter, shade and just a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the beach, these little tents are incredibly convenient. These are honestly great for ALL ages, baby through adult. They just give you a shady retreat on even the sunniest of beach days.
A couple of things to look for: one that is extremely simple to set up and a bonus if it offers some sort of UV Guard Protection from the sun’s harmful rays. Landon actually used to nap for hours at a time in our beach tent. Both kids enjoy playing and lounging around in the tent when they want a break from the sun.
These tents fold down to practically nothing and usually come with some sort of storage pouch which makes them super easy to store and travel with.
Big buckets (like the 5 gallon Home Depot buckets) work great too! LOL
2. Construction Vehicle Toys – Give a truck-loving kid a dump truck and limitless sand, and you won’t believe how long he’ll stay occupied! We always fill up one of our big blue IKEA bags with some of Landon’s “diggers.” Both of the kids have a blast filling and dumping sand and water.
3. Hat/Cover Up/Rash Guard – (or all of the above) Hats keep sun out of your child’s eyes and off of his scalp. Kids’ skin is super sensitive. Sand is the archenemy of sensitive. It is scratchy, itchy and finds a way into EVERYTHING. Cover ups and rash guards help to protect a child from all things sun and sand.
4. Water Shoes or Summer Sneakers – Kids love exploring the beach! Keep their feet safe and protected from rocks, broken shells or the random jellyfish that has washed up on the shore with waterproof shoes.
5. Spray bottle with fresh water – Nothing fancy here, folks. Pick up a run-of-the-mill spray bottle (dollar store, travel section of Walmart or Target, etc). Fill it with clean tap water before you head to the beach.
These came in handy multiple times on the beach when, despite our best efforts, the kids insisted on grabbing, holding, scraping and eating sand. A quick spray of water on them (or on our hands first and then splashed onto them) and we were able to significantly cut down on the amount of sand that they ate for lunch.
6. Small Inflatable Baby Pool and Bath Toys – Years ago, my cousin suggested buying a tiny little baby pool for the beach. Time and time again, it proves to be the best boredom buster to keep the babies cool and entertained. Throw in some bath toys for an instant hit.
Don’t think that this one is just for the baby crowd – the big kids LOVE playing in these pools!
7. Beach Cart or Wagon (bonus if it has all-terrain/off-road wheels) – As the kids grow up and you eventually ditch the stroller, consider transitioning to a collapsible wagon. They rock! Takes up ZERO space in the car but gives us an instant option to toting Landon AND gear across the beach and beyond.
8. Water-Resistant Blanket – These things are all the rage! We have actually owned a couple for a few years. They have earned a permanent spot in each of our cars and have given us a nice dry spot to sit at many horse shows, beach trips, fireworks nights and more.
You can see my sister’s blanket in this pic that I took of Lily while she was hiding from the attack seagulls as she ate her lunch!
9. Baby Powder – Regular old baby powder comes in handy at the beach for sand removal. Just rub some powder on those sandy legs, feet, arms, you get the idea. The powder helps the sand come off without irritating the skin.
10. Sunscreen – Sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to forget to throw the sunscreen into your beach bag. Make sure you lather up the kids before you leave for the beach and then reapply according to your product’s instructions.
11. Snacks and water – Think about what meals and snack time(s) are going to occur as you sit on the beach. Pack plenty of bottled water as well as snacks and food for yourself AND your kids. We love our Pack-It Cool bags for beach days and road trips. The entire bag is essentially a big ice pack, keeping everything cool for hours.
12. Ziploc bags – I admit, I am pretty obsessed with Ziploc bags when we go on a trip. They help me to compartmentalize and organize all of our STUFF from snacks to toiletries. The beach is no exception. Since Ziplocs are sealed WATERproof bags, they are ideal for keeping items away from the water and sand. I like to pack food and also spare outfits in Ziploc bags. Bonus – turn an empty Ziploc into a trash bag for any food wrappers, dirty diapers, etc.
13. Mesh Bags – Pick these bags up anywhere from Walmart to the dollar store. Sometimes they even come in sets of multiple bags. Tuck these bags into your beach bag and at the end of the day, throw anything super sandy inside. Clothes, toys, etc will shake some of their excess sand off as you walk to your car or hotel, cutting down on the amount of sand that is dragged into your living space.
14. Beach Chair – It never fails – we get our beach area all set up, turn around, and find one of the sandy, ocean-soaked kids living it up in OUR beach chairs! Solve that problem quickly but bringing kid-sized chairs. I especially love the chairs with sun shelter.
15. Mesh Shell Collecting Bags – Let the kids collect shells WITHOUT dragging the whole beach home with you! Mesh bags are fabulous for shell collecting because a lot of the sand falls out of the bag. They are waterproof and these bags have handy shoulder straps which free up the kids’ hands for shell collecting.
17. Waterproof Pouch or Case for Electronics – We usually try to leave most of our electronics at home when we head to the beach, but inevitably there is usually at least a phone or two that end up on the beach with us. If you plan to let you kids take their phone or tablet to the beach, make sure you pick up a waterproof pouch or case to keep it safe and dry.
18. Full Face Snorkel Mask – Not really a “must have” but totally fun and a popular water “toy” these days. These masks offer a really cool 180 degree view of the underwater around you. There are even models of these masks that have GoPro mounts built right onto them.
What are YOUR MUST-PACK Items for Taking a Kid to the Beach?
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