Happy summer! I’ll be the first to admit – heading to the beach with little kids can seem like a huge obstacle. As a self-proclaimed junior varsity mom (AKA – a first time mom!) – this was something that stressed me the heck out! I just KNEW my daughter was going to end up with a handful of sand in her mouth at some point during the day. However, I’ve learned a few hacks that can take any fellow JV mom to the varsity level and create a stress-free and memorable experience.
1. Timing is Everything
We all know that naptime is sacred, so plan your beach trip around your little one’s sleep schedule. Arriving at the beach just after they wake up from a nap ensures that they’re well-rested and ready to enjoy the sand and surf. Another great option is to head to the beach in the late afternoon. Beat the intense heat and UV rays and avoid crowds!
2. The Sandy Toes Dilemma
Ah, sand—the beach’s most notorious souvenir! To prevent the whole beach from making its way back home with you, cornstarch is your secret weapon. Sprinkle a generous amount of cornstarch on your little one’s sandy toes, and watch the sand magically slide right off, leaving those tootsies (and hineys!) clean and sand-free. You’re welcome!
3. The Ultimate Beach Blanket
Get an old fitted sheet (or buy one cheap!) to use as a sand-free area for your kiddos. In each of the four corners, set your heavier items – diaper bag, cooler, beach bag, etc or bring along a few 5-gallon buckets (with lids!) and fill with sand. Pull the corners of the fitted sheet up to create a nice pocket of sand-free space! Bonus tip – place a bucket of water in front of the fitted sheet to dip feet in before entering!
4. Nice Ice
Hate sloshing coolers at the end of the beach day? Skip the ice all-together! Freeze half of the juice boxes or water bottles the night before, and voila—snacks and drinks stay chilled all day! I usually leave a few unfrozen to be able to drink right away, and as the frozen bottles start to thaw they’re still ice cold! You can also stick a popsicle stick right into the lid of a yogurt container and freeze before you head out to make frozen yogurt pops that do double duty as a tasty snack and also keep items cold. Bonus tip – frozen freeze pops also work well and provide a refreshing mid-day treat! And don’t worry about packing scissors – simply snap freeze pops in half for easy on-the-go opening!
5. Clean Sand Toys in a Flash
Bring a mesh laundry bag to toss all sandy beach toys into. Simply give it a good shake to get all the sand out and finish with a quick rinse from the showers or hose before packing into your vehicle.
6. Opt for a Beach Tent
Although a little more work, beach tents do wonders when it comes to staying out of the intense sun. They provide adequate shade and are incredibly lightweight to carry. If you need to place your little one down for a nap – these make for a great shady, cool spot for your kiddo to rest.
7. Let Go of Perfection
Let’s face it – life gets easier when we sometimes just roll with the punches. Your kid is going to eat sand. They’re likely going to get a rash from being in a wet, sandy diaper all day. And just when you think everything is going great, your kiddo pours an entire bucket full of sand onto their head. Let go of having the day go 100% perfect and according to plan. It’s more fun for everyone that way.
Bringing your little ones to the beach doesn’t have to be a daunting task. So, grab your beach bag, embrace the joyous chaos, and enjoy the magic of a day at the beach with your little ones. Happy splashing!
Check out all the places to splash in the water with our Water Fun Guide.