What to pack for a day at the beach with your toddler!
Most Aussies have a love affair with the beach, especially in Summer, but how do you prepare for taking toddlers at the beach? We have our own wonderful memories of days out exploring rock pools, swimming and playing in the sand and want our kids to enjoy the same memories.
What we don’t remember is the mountain of ‘stuff’ our parents had to pack to make the day survivable! Here’s a beach-packing checklist from Shae Rickards, Global Nutrition Manager and Paediatric Dietitian at Bellamy’s Organic to help you get prepared.
Sunscreen and rash guard
Make sure you apply sunscreen to your toddler (and yourself) before you put any swimmers and clothes on. The ideal time to do this is at least 20 minutes before you leave the house and well before you are out in the elements. Make sure your sunscreen is at least 30 SPF, broad-spectrum and water resistant. It will need to be reapplied after swimming. A rash guard is also a great idea. It helps cover more of your toddler’s delicate skin and allow you to use less sunscreen.
Hat and sunnies
Make sure you all wear a wide brimmed hat that covers your ears and neck. For your little one, consider an under-chin strap, otherwise their hat will most likely end up in the water. Sunnies are also a must to protect your kids’ precious peepers. For toddlers, a strap is also a good idea, for the above reason!
Brolly or beach tent
An umbrella or beach tent is a good idea for a day at the beach. Not only does it provide shade, but it keeps you dry too. Bring shade that fits over your entire body to make sure you receive maximum protection from the sun (and hopefully not the rain). Finding a tree is always a great idea… if you can find one.
Shae says no day at the beach is complete without a cooler packed with all your favourite snacks. Sand is always the enemy when it comes to food at the beach, so be sure to include ingredients that are packaged ready to eat, or pre-cut, to reduce handling.
Great snacks for your toddler include:
- Bite-sized soft pieces of fruit like watermelon and strawberries
- Grapes – cut in half (you can also freeze these the night before)
- Natural yoghurt
- Bellamy’s Organic Pear & Apple Snacks
- Bellamy’s Organic Banana & Strawberry Hearts
- Bellamy’s Organic Milk Rusks for your teething toddlers
- Wraps or Sandwiches – (we love a vegemite sanga that doesn’t melt in the heat!)
- Soft veggie pieces like cherry tomatoes (cut in half), sliced cucumber and capsicum
- Ice packs – to keep everything cool. If you don’t have ice packs, try using a frozen water bottle to keep food chilled and safe.
Some of these foods are perfect for the big kids too!
Shae says that with some delicious fruit, ready to go Bellamy’s snacks and healthy sangas on hand, you will hopefully have more chances of resisting the smells of takeaway chips-with-vinegar!
Shae also stresses the importance of water. “When you’ve got toddlers at the beach staying hydrated during the day is important and having plenty of cool, tap water on hand will help stop you from purchasing sugary drinks.
“Be sure to take a refillable cup or water bottle for each person. Pre-freezing some water bottles in advance is also a great idea and can be popped into the cooler in place of ice.
“If your little one is still nursing, a nursing cover can come in handy, protecting your little one from the sun”
Toys can help keep your toddlers at the beach busy while you relax a little.These include a big bucket and shovel, a plastic boat and toy cars or dolls. If you’re taking some older kids as well, a beach cricket set and boogie board are always popular.
Bags and clothes
Take a sturdy, waterproof beach bag to carry all your belongings.The bigger the better.
Pack a garbage bag for any rubbish, as well as an additional waterproof bag that you can put wet clothes in. A mesh bag is handy for holding toys and a waterproof phone pouch is helpful for keeping your phone clean and dry.
And don’t forget to take a change of clothes for your toddler and yourself!
Chairs and towels
Beach towels, a large blanket and beach chairs all make life more comfortable during your day out with toddlers at the beach. You can even get tiny beach chairs for your toddler. A sarong always finds multiple uses, the primary being draping it over yourself when you’re napping.
Wipes and sanitiser
With sand ready to stick to every surface and sneak into every crevice, fragrance-free wipes always come in handy at the beach.They help clean sticky fingers and remove sand from faces. And of course, we’re now old hands at taking the sanitiser whenever we head out!
We suggest you print out Shae’s checklist before you start to get ready so you’re well prepared for your day out.