It is summer. It is hot as hades and most of us dream of rooftop pools or laying on a private beach while reading our favorite novel and listening to the sound of the waves. But wait, how can i do these things if i am a parent. Well, the quick answer is to keep dreaming until the kids are off to college but, in the meantime there are ways you can make a summer beach day fun and relaxing for the entire family!
First and probably most importantly, do not wait until the day of the trip to pack!! I have talked to so many parents who throw what they think they need in a bag the morning of the trip only to drive an hour to a beach unprepared. Make a list a few days before the planned outing so you have the proper amount of time to pick up any items you need. (On a side note, if you find you are traveling to the beach or pool often, you can keep a bag already prepared with most of the items you usually take and just add perishable snacks or clothing items that you have washed the day before).
1. Pick your favorite canvas beach bag. Make sure it is large enough to carry most if not all of what you need.
2. Beach towels. In this case, bigger IS better.
3. Activities. Remember to pack for your kids and for yourself as well. Some of my favorites are coloring books/crayons, magazines, my favorite summer book and the Ipad. I understand that some parents might be against taking an Ipad/Kindle to the beach but it really depends on how long you plan to stay. If you stay longer then a couple of hours i promise you will thank me later.
4. Proper clothing. Again, pack for your children and yourself. It is important to have nice clean dry clothes to put on at the end of the day especially if you have a long drive. For the kids you should have clean underpants/diapers, wipes, extra clothes and even an extra bathing suit in case they decide to go back in the water after resting for a while. If your child is especially sensitive to the sun or are infants remember a hat or rash guard. Also, i received an especially good tip from my sister-in-law. Use baby powder to help get all the sand off the kids arms, legs and bum at the end of the day.
5. Beach umbrella. This is pretty self explanatory...use it to shade your area. Most of us here in Brooklyn don’t always have the room to store a large beach umbrella during the off season. If this is the case for you, you can also consider a small beach tent that folds into a bag and is easy to store in the closet or under the bed.
6. Snacks and water...lots and lots of water. Snacks are personal. Everyone enjoys different things but i have found that on a hot day edibles such as apples or watermelon are refreshing. The thing about eating at the beach is you want to contain the mess as much as possible as well as avoid sand invading the food. I recommend pre cutting any fruits or veggies and putting them in re-usable containers with lids. Also, easy to grab foods such as gold fish crackers, grapes or chips make it easy for kids to grab and go. And don’t forget paper towels and wet wipes for easy clean up.
7. Toys! This is one of those things you can just always keep in the beach bag. If you forget them you WILL be sorry. Also, if you have an infant or small toddler, a blow up pool can be great. Fill it up with some ocean water, put an umbrella over it and let your little one splash around.
8. Proper sun protection. Keeping healthy skin is important for every member of the family. Remember to bring the right sun screen for you and your child and eye protection that blocks UV rays.
9. Some awesome jams...that’s the music not the spread.
10. Plastic zip lock bags. I find people forget this one quite a bit but it will really help keep everything organized and protected. Bring one for: Wet bathing suits; to keep electronics safe; snacks.
Also, remember a plastic grocery bag for trash or dirty diapers. We want to keep our beaches clean!
A beach outing with the family should be enjoyable and stress free. So, pack that bag and hit the road!