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Beach Day Planning

Sea breezes, sunshine, the gentle sound of waves— and your toddler screaming because he just tried to eat sand! The beach can be great fun for the whole family but here are a few tips  to keep your toddler entertained, and happy! 

Go early—or go late.

Either get up and go early, ending with early lunch at the beach, or head there postnap for late-afternoon seaside bonding. The point is, avoid spending a huge chunk of time at the beach in the middle of the day, when UV rays are strongest.

Master the art of sunscreen.

The best way to apply SPF (for kids and adults) is to slather on a cream while totally naked at home, applying so much that you need to wait for it to sink in before you get dressed.

Use your phone.

Set the timer for sunscreen application! They will need it. 

Treat your car like a desert island.

Leave water bottles filled with frozen water in the car. You’ll have cold drinks waiting for you at the end of the day, and you won’t resort to buying bottled water.

Try a sand-friendly tote.

A mesh beach bag is indispensable: Sand sifts right through, and you can see what’s inside. 

Be ready to potty.

If you’re early in potty training, bring a travel potty and a swim nappy so you can enjoy the beach without worrying about number two.

Refer to the nappy as “beach pants”! 

Pack sand-proof snacks.

Squeeze pouches of applesauce and yogurt are smart bets. Grapes and blueberries beat cut-up fruit because if they get sandy, you can still rinse them off. Cut sammies into small pieces so if one gets sandy, the whole sandwich isn’t wrecked.

Bring twice as much food as you think you’ll need.

Much of it is guaranteed to get sandy or wet no matter how careful you are. And kids get hungry when they’ve been active outside!


Know that kids need to be reminded to drink enough. If it's tough, bring a water bottle filled with “juicy water,” a half-H20, half-juice combo, to entice them to sip more.

Pack like a pro.

Consider this your go-to beach checklist. Run through it before you pull out of the driveway:

  • Multiple sunscreens, in case of a sand or spill disaster 
  • Zip-top bags to store sunscreen, wet togs, and more
  • Beach hats, sunglasses, and cover-ups
  • Water bottles
  • Cash for an ice-cream on the way home!
  • Baby wipes and antibacterial hand wipes
  • Talc-free baby powder to remove sand from feet
  • A mini first-aid kit of bandages, alcohol wipes, and antibacterial ointment packed in a zip-top bag