Summer is here and if you’re lucky enough to either live by or be heading to the coast, you will probably be planning a day at the beach with kids. If you’re anything like me, it always seems a massive hassle as there’s so much to take and lug around. So I’ve put together a helpful list of things to pack for a day at the beach with kids.
It contains all the things that you will need to hopefully make your beach trip a bit easier. Be fully prepared for your next family beach day with our beach packing list.
What to take with you for a day at the beach with kids
The beach towel is a very important part of any day at the beach with kids. You can use it to dry off, sit or lie on, wrap it around yourself if you get a bit chilly and you can also, if you’re careful, get changed under one. Make sure you take a towel for each person – maybe use a different colour or pattern so each person knows which one is theirs. I know, Britain has a lot of pebbly beaches but if you are heading to a sandy beach, you can also buy sand-free towels, which are a game changer.
If you don’t want to be sitting on your beach towels, make sure you bring a picnic mat or rug instead. Or push the boat out and bring camping chairs to sit on. Might as well try to be as comfortable as possible for a day at the beach with kids.
We all know how important sun cream is at protecting our skin from getting burnt – it should be applied before you get to the beach and you should take some with you to reapply. It’s recommended to use at least an SPF 30 and a water-resistant spray, which is a little easier to apply. Sun cream should be reapplied at least every two hours and after swimming. Good luck doing that if your children hate it!
It is a good idea to have sun hats for everybody at the beach, not only to help protect against getting sunburn but they also help to keep you cool and can prevent heat stroke. Choose wide-brimmed hats or a baseball cap to provide maximum protection.
If it is going to be a particularly hot day you may think about taking some sort of sun shelter to the beach as there is usually no shade. Pop-up beach tents are great, especially if you have babies or toddlers who may need to take a nap. Pop-up beach tents are the easiest to put up and take down too. Well, that is if you have sussed out the knack! Windbreaks are also great and do what they say on the tin. They’re a great way to ‘mark your spot’ on the beach too, and you can easily put two or more of them together if there is a bit group of you.
Food and drinks
Make sure to pack plenty of water, you could freeze a couple of water bottles so they gradually melt and you will be left with a nice cool drink. Let’s face it, food at beach kiosks can end up being very expensive, so pack a picnic. Anything easy works, like mini sausage rolls, crisps, snack bars, some chopped up fruit. Then maybe you can treat them to an ice cream later in the day. Because every day at the beach with kids has to include an ice cream, right?
To store all of your food and drinks for a day at the beach with kids, invest in a cool box and some ice packs. Great for carrying and keeping everything cool, you can buy soft cool bags or a hard sided cool box.
You can’t go wrong with a pack of baby wipes, use them to clean sandy hands and wipe sticky ice-cream faces.
More things to take on a day at the beach with kids
If you’ve not heard of the talcum powder trick, then you’re going to love this. Stick a bottle of talc in the bag for when you’re leaving the beach. Once you get off the sand, sprinkle some talc on the kids’ feet and and rub it gently. It gets rid of all the sand so they can put their shoes on without moaning all the way back to the car that they’re uncomfortable. It’s literally a game changer.
Bucket and spade
If you want to try and have a stress free day at the beach with kids, you will need to bring some things to keep them busy. Invest in some beach toys to entertain them like buckets and spades. If there is no sand to build sandcastles, they can use the bucket to collect shells and pebbles in.
Other beach toys
A bucket and spade is the obvious one, but there are loads of other beach toys the kids will love. What about a net for rockpooling, a line to go crabbing, bat and ball, frisbee, boules or rounders set? If your children are old enough a bodyboard or little dinghy can be fun in the sea. Chances of your kids just sitting still on a picnic mat or towel all day are pretty much zero, so the more you have to entertain them the better.
First aid kit
Pack a small first aid kit with plasters and antiseptic wipes, just in case, they end up treading on something sharp whilst they are paddling in the sea. I’m rubbish at remembering this, but I’ll try to take my own advice.
It is always a good idea to bring a rubbish bag, most beaches will have a rubbish bin nearby, but if it is a busy day they can end up overflowing.
Kids love to get in the sea, whether it is for a little paddle or a full-on swim. Make sure you’ve packed their swim shorts and costumes. Put them on under their clothes before you leave for extra ease. And if your children feel the cold why not bring wetsuits too? Nobody wants to go to the bother of changing them for them to get out after 3 minutes because they’re cold. With wetsuits they’ll be able to make the most of the water for longer. Wetsuits will also protect them from the sun too. It’s a good idea to take a bag to take all the wet stuff home in.
Change of clothes
Bring extra clothes for when it gets chilly or the kids want to get out of their wet swimming costumes. This makes it much more comfortable for them and there is no better feeling than putting a soft, warm pair of trackie bottoms on.
As mentioned, us Brits have a lot of pebbly beaches. We end up doing some sort of comedy hobble from the sea if we are bare foot. Even if it is a sandy beach, there are always stones and shells. So a pair of beach shoes, water shoes, sandals or Crocs will give everybody so much more comfort and hopefully protect little feet from any accidents.
Wagon or trolley
With all the above to carry, you’re going to need some help! We’ve all seen the wagons people take to festivals, well why not get one for the beach? It might be a bit tricky pulling it over the sand, but you can fit loads in them. Maybe even the kids!
So, there you have it. Our little beach day packing list. Summer days will be here before we know it with warmer days and mild evenings. We hope you manage to get some vitamin sea soon.
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