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There is something magical about taking your toddler to the beach for the first time. The look of amazement on their face is priceless. The gaze over the biggest sand box they have ever seen accompanied by the largest body of water they could ever see is monumental. It is a first for their baby books for sure! However, let’s be honest, going to the beach with toddlers can also a HUGE pain. Sand everywhere, heat, sunburn and the constant fear of drowning… but you should still go!
So, let’s get down to it! What are the beach essentials for toddlers?
The Beach Essentials For Toddlers
- Golf Cart: If you aren’t right on the water, try and find a home with a golf cart or a shuttle. It is a life saver. First, they are fun! Second, you can pile everything in it and keep the sand out of your car.
- Wagon: Toddlers need a lot of things to make a beach day not so miserable. Investing in a wagon can help you haul all of your stuff. Find a wagon that rolls easily on sand! Also, make sure your beach allows them. Our most recent beach trip had a huge staircase that made it impossible to bring.
- Backpack: This is a great alternative if you can’t bring a wagon. We LOVE ours. It fits a ton of stuff and has little holes that allow the sand to fall out. It also fits nicely on your back. You will quickly see I have a theme for “backpack beach products”!
- Tent/Umbrella: I love shade. It also gives you a home base and keeps the sun off you and your belongings. Trust me, your kids will get cranky and shade will be a life saver. Depending on what beach you go to, you may not be allowed to bring tents, so do your research! I also found this fantastic pop-up beach tent that is the size of a collapsible chair. If I have learned anything, get as many things as you can that will sling on your back or shoulders.
- Cooler: Having ice cold snacks and drinks is a must! Put the cooler under your umbrella to help keep things cooler. **TIP: Make sure anything that goes into your cooler is waterproof. Ie, do not put cardboard juice boxes. They will get soggy and nasty. **ANOTHER TIP: If you have a big enough cooler, a nice hack is to buy a mini trash can from the Dollar Store and put it on one side of the cooler. You can put all your dry goods on the trash can side to keep them dry! Also, did I mention that things that go on your back are great? We have invested in a backpack cooler and it really helps free up my arms when a screaming toddler wants to be held on the walk to and from the beach!**
- Snacks and Drinks: Pack easy things that are self contained. Open them when you need them to keep the sand out. Also, consider how long you want to stay. We usually head home for lunch, but I know plenty of people who spend the whole day at the beach. Pack more snacks than you would assume you need.
- Rashguard/Sun Hats: Coverage is KEY. My toddlers always wear a rashguard swimsuit. It keeps them sun-safe and gives me peace of mind. I personally love Ruffle/Rugged Butts for swim suits. However, a Hawaiian brand called CoCo Moon has a great options for infants. They have full arm and leg coverage with a very breathable material. It is also a magic material that just keeps stretching and growing with your toddler!
- Sunscreen: Need I say more. I prefer spray sunscreen, but I always rub it in to make sure it gets on my toddler’s skin. I also purchase make-up sponges to apply sunscreen to their face. They were a miracle item. No more squirming and resisting after I said, “Lets apply your make-up!”.
- Toys: My kids love sand-digging toys and a good ball to throw around.
- Chairs & Blankets: My daughter, Sophie, didn’t care for a chair, she was in the water the whole time. We bought a plastic kids Adirondack chair for Seth. It was amazing and let him play in the sand and sit in the water comfortably. We also invested in this Beach Blanket that folds up to the size of a gallon zip lock baggie. It stays cool and you can weigh it down with sand so it does not fly away.
- Life Vest/Floating Device: We put a Zip Up Life Vest on our daughter, Sophie, when she was playing in the water. It was easy for her to wear and gave us a little peace of mind. Seth used the Mambobaby Non Inflatable Baby Float when we were in the pool. It was a great option for him since he cannot kick as easily as Sophie.
- Beach Walker for Seth: There will be a whole post on this, but I made a beach walker for my son so he could have independence on the beach.
This is our ‘must have’ beach essentials for toddlers!
Keep in mind that you are going to want to have your hands free as much as possible to carry, or drag, your toddlers. Try to bring the beach essentials for toddlers that are compact and can be carried on your back. We hope this list helps you pack and you enjoy that moment of amazement as much as we did! OR…. enjoy the first 15 minutes before exhaustion sets in. Remember, one day you will actually get to relax at the beach again!