The post is now a compilation edited by Jeannie Krill, writer at Bright Horizons, and former pre-kindergarten teacher at Bright Horizons.
Summer is coming to us, and that means beach days too. Always a summer activity, the beach is proving to be even more popular this year, as it is something that is still allowed in most areas amid COVID-19 bans. And it can give your family a quick way to spend time outdoors and give children’s scenery changes, while keeping a safe distance from others.
Have your children been beach babies from birth… or are you ready to introduce them to the water for the first time? Either way, we have tips to help make your time at the beach more enjoyable. If you’re lucky enough to live near Myrtle Beach, travel on a weekend to Cape Cod, or spend the day with your family in Long Beach, check out this guide for ideas on what to bring you , including all -important masks. Plus, get safety tips and activity ideas that will help keep your kids happy.
What to Pack and Take to the Beach
Before you go to the beach, make a list of things to take with you. What do you want to make sure you don’t forget? A sandy beach without a towel or blanket can be uncomfortable… and bright, sunny days without sunglasses can’t be fun. Write down the requirements and check each item on your list as you enter it in the car. Think about your last trip to the beach… what do your kids ask for the most? You’ve probably heard, “I’m thirsty” or “I need another towel.” Think about these things too, and pack on extras or things you probably didn’t think of last time.
See ten suggestions.
A bag on the beach. The beach bag is the most critical thing. Make sure it’s large enough to pack all your necessities, and affordable enough to withstand the elements A bag with a pocket so you can separate wet, dry, and sandy stuff to help you organized.
The requirements. Gathering chairs for everyone, towels, lots of sunscreen, a first aid kit, a beach umbrella, swimming goggles, hats, sunglasses, and a beach cart to carry everything.
A beach towel or picnic blanket. The sand can be hot… and someone to help sit down! You can even find lightweight blankets that fold the size of a laptop and include a strap and pocket to hold a few small items (like sunscreen and wallet).
A potty chair. It’s hard to know if public restrooms are open-and it can’t be a “wait and see” situation. Consider investing in a double pot travel trip and take it. Whenever your kids need to use the potty and, inevitably they use it often, they can use the potty to travel in the tent or in the back of the car (if the car is nearby). Be sure to also bring heavy-duty baggies, wipes, and toilet paper.
Good sun coverage. Not only does a tent provide shade, it’s a great place for young children to sleep and play… and it gives them the privacy to use the pot as well. On windy days, be sure to bring something heavy to restrain each corner. A beach umbrella is a great idea, too, if you want to be in the shade, but still be able to soak up all that the beach has to offer.
Various beach toys. Traditional buckets and shovels are suitable but consider bringing other items that your child can use to carry and play with sand and water (cups, large spoon, a funnel, etc.). Bring waterproof figurines – people, animals, etc. – and add them to the sand castles.
Beach goggles. Did you already understand the beach, you just knew you left the goggles in the bathtub toy bin or in your child’s swimming bag? Salt water is not pleasing to the eyes, so take a pair of glasses specific for the beach and put them on the beach.
A quick lunch set up. Avoid sandy sandwiches by carrying – and eating at – small portable tables on the beach.
Swim diapers. Can it be done again? Is it possible? Same? Whichever option you go for, put a regular diaper on the swim diaper until you get to your destination. This will help prevent drops as you go.
Beach snacks. Need a good stock cooler, especially as the seafood snack shacks and nearby restaurants may not be open. Make sure kids have plenty of water – fill large bottles with water and wrap them in ice before you leave the house. Fill with colder sliced oranges, apples, cheese, grapes, juice pop, chips, premade sandwiches, and more.
And don’t forget to go to the beach early! Do most of your packing the night before to get out of the house quickly in the morning. If you arrive on or before 9:30 a.m., your kids can also sleep on the beach. Or, if that fails and you have to go home for naptime, you can still feel like you have a decent time playing in the water and sand.
Beach Safety Tips for Kids
Good childhood memories are made on summer days at the beach. But be sure to keep going export to think and know and avoid the potential dangers of beach safety tips.
Use life vests. Whenever your children are around the sea, pool, lake, or other multiple water sources, make sure they wear life vests that fit properly. And be sure not to buy inflatable vests – they can easily move or pop.
Take an infant CPR class. These classes are generally a day commitment and are offered by many local organizations – even offered online, if the person is not an option this year. Taking a class will give you the tools and knowledge you need to go through and provide emergency care if something goes unthinkable.
Keep the inside at an arm’s length and be careful. If your kids are in the water, stay close-unpredictable strong currents and flowing currents. And watch out for the many waves!
Keep your mobile phone nearby. You might think it’s crazy in today’s age (when would you go anywhere without your phone?), But also double check – that few minutes can save a life.
Consider swimming lessons. Help your children become more familiar with the water by giving them a foundation for water safety rules and good swimming habits. Even in the midst of social isolation, some organizations offer single sessions or group classes with a limited number to ensure plenty of space among children. Keep in mind that the YMCA’s national guidelines for teaching swimming advise teachers against drowning young children and encourage parents to participate in lessons.
Beware of small pools of water. Your children should not be left unattended in any waters, including things like tide pools and kiddie pools in the backyard. The “arm length” rule also applies here.
Signs of drowning are known. They don’t look like the bullying and screaming you see on TV or in the movie. The real warning signs are silent and often missed… so read on!
And make sure your child knows the four golden rules of water safety, also:
- Do not approach the water without aging
- Never dunk other kids
- Don’t run on the dock or pool deck
- Always jump on foot first
Are you ready for a day of sun, sand, and fun? Now that you’ve read what to bring to the beach and how to protect your kids while you’re at it, you’re probably wondering how you can keep them happy all day. Once you find your place in the sand, here it is some fun beach activities do with your children.
Some Final Thoughts
No matter what activities you choose, make sure your children have supervision, stay a safe distance away from other families, and wear the necessary equipment and sun protection at all times!