A day out with your toddler can be both adventurous and exhausting. Toddlers are known for having melt downs over small things because they are simply too young to effectively communicate their wants and needs like older children and adults can. A day out at the beach can be a fun way for you and your toddler to swim, play and explore new sensory activities. The following items will help you make the most of your day in the sand.
This is the most important item to pack outside of clothing and diapering necessities. Sunscreen helps protect your child's skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends using a broad spectrum (for both UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen with SPF 15-50. It is best to apply sunscreen to yourself and your child before you leave the house so that you can enjoy the beach as soon as you get there.
2. Shade Items
A beach umbrella, personal canopy, sun tent or other item that allows you to set up a shady area on the beach is a great way to make sure your skin stays protected from the sun, and can keep you cool if sitting in direct sunlight becomes uncomfortable. If you don't own any items to help keep you out of the sun, check if your local beach has any rental umbrellas or canopies you can use, or look for spots on the beach near shady trees or picnic tables with built in umbrellas.
3. Snacks and Drinks
Don't assume that purchasing a few snacks and a bottle or two of water at the beach concession stand is going to keep your toddler satisfied during your outing. Even if you only plan to stay at the beach for a couple of hours, bring a cooler with you filled with ice packs, water, some easy snacks (the less messy the better) and your child's preferred cup or bottle. This will save you money on treats and help ensure your child stays hydrated and fed.
4. Extra Clothes
In addition to whatever extra outfits you may pack for your child to wear in case of a wardrobe malfunction, bringing another change of clothes can be helpful in case your child suddenly decides his shorts or just too sandy or he doesn't like the sensation of a wet sunhat on his head. Additionally, it is wise to keep a light weight outfit with long sleeves and pants on hand in case your child's sunscreen starts to wear off as the clothing will provide extra sun protection.
Beach toys are fairly inexpensive and simple, but they can provide hours of fun for your busy toddler. A simple shovel, bucket and a couple of sifting toys are great for letting your toddler explore all she can do with the sand. Try to avoid bringing toys with small pieces that can easily be lost while making a sand castle or walking along the shore.
If you are worried that your child will have a hard time wanting to leave the beach at the end of your trip, have them collect their toys and help you put them away. Have your toddler say goodbye to the sand, waves and birds as you walk toward the parking lot, and remind them that you can visit the beach again soon.
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