Summer is getting closer! With all of those temps heating up, it’s time to head to the beach. While this is a wonderful activity sure to provide hours of entertainment, it can be nerve wracking taking your little one. To help calm your nerves and take away one less thing to stress about (goodness knows parents have plenty on their plate as it is!) here is a list of the best items to bring to the beach for your baby so that your family can have an enjoyable, relaxing time. Pack’n’Play with a Fitted Sheet Canopy OR a Small Beach Tent It’s important to keep baby in the shade as much as possible so they don’t overheat and their skin doesn’t get burnt (even if you’ve lathered them continuously with sunscreen, you never know!!).
There are two great options; one that you probably already have and one that would be a wonderful item to have if you’re going to be at the beach a lot.
Pack’n’Play with a Fitted Sheet Canopy
A Pack’n’Play is a pretty common item for new parents to have, either as a a gift from their baby shower, or as a “must have” they have purchased themselves. Just add a crib fitted sheet to the top of it, and you have got yourself a great place for Baby on the beach! There are several perks here:
- Baby is shaded and out of the sand
- They are safe and “contained”
- You probably already have the items needed for this, so it’s free!
This being said, there is one con, Pack’n’Plays are heavy and can be cumbersome to carry while you are hauling everything else you brought for the beach, not to mention carrying your baby!
Pop up beach tents are a great choice if you plan on being outside with your little one or at the beach a lot this summer. You can find them online, costing anywhere from $30 to $70, depending on the features and style you are looking for. There are many perks to this option as well:
- Baby is shaded and out of the sand but can still play with sand toys
- Easy to carry and folds down taking up minimal space
- Baby is within reach, especially if your tent is large enough for everyone in the family to enjoy it.
I don’t know about you, but the best way to keep my child happy is to feed her! While there might be some stands or food trucks nearby, you may not always want to get up every time you
or your child feels a hunger pang - and let’s be honest, your child is probably going to feel a hunger pang about every 15 minutes!
The sky really is the limit as far as the types of snacks you can bring. My greatest suggestion is to bring a cooler and fill it with everything from baby food pouches you stuck in the freezer overnight (my favorites are the Plum “Mighty 4” variety), different types of cut up fruit and veggies, and even Baby Goldfish crackers and different kinds of Cheerios (my daughter loves
the strawberry kind!).
Whether your child is not standing up on their own yet or your just plain don’t want to spend absolutely all day in the water, a great baby beach item is a blowup pool. Now I know you’re
already at the beach, and you’ve already brought your Pack’n’Play or your Beach Tent, but hear me out on this one. If your child is anything like mine, they are going to want to play in the water all. day. long. Instead of fighting them on this, bring an inflatable pool and bring the water to them! Your little one can play in the water to their hearts content and not be sitting in the hot sand and you can sit right next to them and work on your tan, or splash around with them! This is also a great option if you are concerned that your child will eat all of the sand on the beach (which is probably going to happen anyway, let’s be real).
Extra Clothes and Sunscreen!
This one might seem obvious, but sometimes we get so busy packing everything else, that we forget the most obvious things! You want to make sure your kiddo has not only a beach outfit, but something clean and dry and (hopefully) sand free to ride home in. You also need to make sure they have a hat and shoes that can get wet/are breathable. That sand gets hot and you don’t want your babies burning the bottoms of their feet! And be sure to have extra swim diapers and baby powder. As an added bonus, the baby powder will help you get sand off when you are packing up and ready to go home! Also make sure you have plenty of sunscreen, but keep a few things in mind. Sunscreen is not recommended for babies under the age of six months, otherwise, lather those babies up! Looking for a more natural route? Coconut oil works as a sunscreen and is quite a bit cheaper!
Sand and Water Toys/Floaties
You’re at the beach!!! It’s almost unacceptable to not at least attempt making a sand castle! Be sure to bring plastic shovels and a bucket and start working on a sand castle with your little one! Playing in sand is also a great sensory activity for them. :) You might also consider bringing some water toys. Your little one will love floating around in the water in a pool canopy while you are enjoying the water with them. You might also consider toys that spray water.
Photo Opportunity Extras
If you’re like me,you want to take pictures of your adorable child whenever possible. The beach is a great backdrop for this! While you can, of course, have your child dressed in their beach wear (only makes sense, right?), it can really make the photos POP and create more of a lasting
memory when you go all out. I really love items from Ruffles and Tutus (find them on Instagram and Facebook). They have so much to choose from and can even customize the look for you. They are also very reasonably priced. These are just a few items that you may want to think about before your next beach outing. What are some of your favorite things to take to the beach?
Audra Harris is a freelance writer and a teacher turned stay at home mom. You can read about all of her misadventures and parenting ideas on her own blog: suddenlystayinhome.wordpress.com.