I like to have a pre-packed beach bag during summer so we don't have to pack again and again, and we can head to the beach without much notice or pre-planning. We are fortunate to live a short drive to the beach, so we can take frequent short trips. Of course a full day of beach activities requires more items, like a sunshade and a cooler, but this is what I take for 2-3 hours at the beach with my littles. I can also use this bag if we we're taking a trip to the lake or swimming pool!
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Obviously the #1 item in the bag is sunblock. It always stays in the bag so there is no chance of forgetting it. If you haven't read my article about having skin cancer yet, read it here. You can never be to safe. I'm not a doctor, scientist, nor expert on which sunblock is safest or most effective. A good resource is the EWG's sunscreen guide. If you don't have time to peruse the list, I will link a few of their top rated below. (There are more options in my skin cancer article as well.
I usually don't change the kids clothes on a short beach trip. They are usually dry by the time we get in the car and it's a short drive home. (When we get home, they head straight to the bath!) But, can you ever really go anywhere without emergency clothes? I just put one outfit for each of the two older boys in a one gallon ziplock bag. My two year old has extra clothes in his diaper backpack that I always keep packed everyday. The only thing I have to add in it for him are a couple swim diapers. If for some reason the kids use the clothes, I just replace them in the bag when I do the laundry.
Right now I only have a few beach toys on hand, but they seem to keep the kids entertained. Two things I really like that take up minimal space are deflated beach balls and thin frisbees. But of course we also have small shovels/rakes and sand molds. I think I may have bubble wands in there as well. We actually have their buckets stored in the back of the van for easy "grab and go" when we get there. However, for even more convenience you can get collapsible buckets which I will link below.
So I usually only bring two beach towels for the kids. Basically, to dry the kids a little if they need it. Or dust off sand. The kids usually don't get soaked and they dry very quickly. The farthest in the water they usually go is waste high. My toddler always has a small towel in his diaper bag. I don't bother with a beach blanket with my kids because they will just cover it in sand. While we are talking about sand. I have a have for you hack to get off sand next!
Baby Powder Hack
So I have never used baby powder with my kids for diapering. I'm still not sure where scientists stand on the safety of its use. However, I took a newborn care class at Loma Linda Children's Hospital before I had my first son that was taught by a very "crunchy" nurse. If you don't know what "crunchy" is, read here. (Before you ask . . . I don't like to label my parenting style because while I try to provide natural and organic things to my kids, I also let them get Happy Meals.) Anyway, she said that on occasion even she uses baby powder to get sand off kids at the beach before they get in the car. She said you sprinkle a little on the area with sand and off comes all the little particles. Of course, be careful not let the kids breathe it in.
The kids eat a meal before and after the beach but you know kids need snacks available at all times. Snacks I usually pack the morning of and I make them very simple. But you really could have these prepacked as well. I usually try to do a fruit and a whole grain. So today they had organic applesauce pouches for the fruit. (I do give applesauce sparing though because of arsenic...but I can do another article on that if you are interested.) For the whole grain we had organic low sugar snack bars. I just throw all these in a gallon ziplock bag. Sometimes I do juices too but today I brought a big jug of water for them to share. This one to be exact. (OK, If you know me I am a germaphobe so it is weird that I let them share, but after raising these boys I realized they constantly are sharing their germs and carrying one big bottle is easier on a small trip. If you want to carry multiple water bottles more power to you!)
I always have hand wipes in every bag. If the kids can't wash their hands...I am a-wiping them down. Again, make your own safety choices with wipes but I have used all of the ones below.
That's it! The kids get in the car with their swimsuits, sunglasses and hats already on.
My go to place for swimsuits is Carter's!
I hope everyone gets to make some great family memories at the beach, lake or pool this summer! If there is anything I have forgotten or you have any other beach tips, leave them in the comments! I'll leave you with some cute bags, I've found on Amazon.
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