[Note: This post was written by KFDC Contributor Emily Moise, a local writer and mom of two young children. She always has excellent recommendations for kids’ items as well as local explorations with little ones. View more of them here, here, here, here, here. And this one about summertime must-haves is a must-see for the upcoming season. ]
It’s that time of year again when the post-Spring Break “are we ready for summer” mental checklist begins. For me, it was a recent day trip to a local beach that made me realize how underprepared I am. We had the basics for a four-hour stretch, but I know our upcoming weekend and week-long beach trips will require more strategic gear.
My almost five-year-old and three-year-old are at the playful ages where they can spend hours doing whatever the repetitive things are that little kids do at the beach. If you’re looking to build on that childhood joy, and mostly relax and “sittervise,” these picks for the best beach day are for you…
Are We There Yet?
There will inevitably be iPads, but you’ll want a few things in your back car seat pocket to delay screen time en route to the beach. Tablet drawing boards have been on my list since using them at a recent pediatric dentist visit, and a friend suggested these, which are more preschool age-appropriate. I am also stocking up on Magic Pattern coloring pads.
You’re gonna need a better bag. A wide mesh tote is a lifesaver for sandy beach toys, and these smaller mesh cross-body bags are perfect for your seashell collectors. I’m also a fan of insulated backpacks, and use this small one daily. This larger one with a cooler at the base may be better-suited for a long beach day.
The hunt for the best thing to ease sunscreen resistance continues. This year, I’m testing out foaming lotion. This mineral foam sunscreen with “vanishing color” looks like a sure-fire hit. An option for both kids and parents is this one from rising brand Supergoop!. Don’t forget a sensitive, tear-free lotion just for the face.
The Big Dig
Let’s talk digging — because kids love to do that at the beach. My favorite shovels are the large wooden ones, but we have had bad luck with the spades breaking after just a few uses. These large ones with shorter handles look much more durable. For the smaller variety, these scoop shovels are way more efficient than your standard plastic shovel.
If your kids simply dig a big hole and fill it with water, add spouted watering cans to your beach bag (one for each kid). On our recent beach day, my three-year-old stood in awe of another kids’ similar spouted pitcher. Another summer staple is water blasters, and the beach is a perfect, wider space to use them.
If your kid fills a big hole with water, you’re gonna want a water toy to go with it. Turn it into a mermaid lagoon with these dolls, a superhero cave with Marvel dive toys, or play a game of Finding Dory. Vehicle lovers will enjoy a just-for-the-beach dump truck. And when your kids want you to play with them, ultra-lightweight frisbees are entertaining for everyone.
For the hottest beach days, a small tent may be essential for a shaded break. They can also be used for discreet outfit changes or portable potty breaks. If you’ve ever seen a three-year-old try to hold up a towel around them, you’ll appreciate poncho towels. And try these headbands if your child won’t keep a hat on, but you still want some scalp coverage.
What’s in your beach bag? Tell us in the comments!
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