Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Guest Blog By Abby Clark: Top Things You Must Carry For A Day Out On The Beach With Kids

Here in North America Spring has sprung. Beach days are still few and far between for us, but I know that for those of you in SE Asia, most days are beach days! If you’ve got young children, you’ve learned that a day at the beach generally keeps the kids happy, with the fringe benefit of providing you with some sunshine and relaxation, as well.

But packing for a day at the beach can feel like packing for a major vacation—hatchback so full that your visibility is obscured, odds and ends tumbling out onto the ground, thoughts that you’ve probably forgotten something important, and the inevitable wails of “you forgot my [insert name of toy they haven’t touched in months]” from the back seat.

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It doesn’t have to be overwhelming, though. Here’s a checklist and some good tips for packing for a trip to the beach with the kids:

The basics 

Bathing suits
Bring one or two extra, as towels occasionally (read: often) get soaked or dirty.
Bug repellant
Particularly important if you’re going to be near the water at dusk, and if your local beach is a lake rather than an ocean.
They prevent both sunburn and sun stroke.
UV rays aren’t good for young eyes, either.
Sand toys
A must. Parents are also generally more relaxed with the kids at their side shoveling, digging and sandcastle-building, than when they’re in the water.
Water shoes
If you’re going anywhere that might be rocky, water shoes (or flip flops) make things much more comfortable, and as you know, if kids aren’t comfortable, they’ll make you aware.
Plastic bags
People always forget plastic bags—they are incredibly handy for transporting wet bathing suits and towels home, and for storing food garbage.
Frisbee and or beach balls
Always popular, and don’t take up much space, provided your lungs are up to blowing up the beach ball when you get there.

Drinks and snacks

Adults might be happy to read at the beach for a few hours and then go eat, but not so with kids. They need to graze, or they get grumpy.

Bring a variety of sandwiches and maybe themed snacks (kids love the idea of Goldfish crackers and Shark Bite fruit snacks when they’re at the beach) and to avoid having to buy drinks (ridiculously expensive at beach concessions), bring containers of juice or iced tea from home.

Secret weapon #1 – a sheet

The best tip about putting together beach gear that you’ve likely never heard, is to designate a bed sheet as your ‘beach sheet’, and take it every time.

A sheet is much less bulky than a blanket and can easily be folded and packed into a beach bag. At the same time, it's a bigger than a few towels laid out on the sand, and makes a great home base for the family. It gives you a nice big surface on which to spread out, and you won't have to disturb it when your towels are needed.

Consider using a fitted/bottom sheet as a beach sheet—with your jackets, baskets and bags tucked in each of its four fitted corners, it will create a beach blanket area with walls that keep out the sand!

And in general, sand won’t stick to a sheet the way it will to a blanket or towel, easily shaking off.

Secret weapon #2 – A wagon

A wagon always makes things easier, and is particularly helpful if only one adult is taking the kids to the beach.
Lugging all of your gear to the sand from the parking lot (or from a parking spot blocks away, which might be the case on a busy summer Saturday) can be a big endeavor. But a wagon makes the trip easier, and eliminates the need for multiple trips.
Once you’re set up, a wagon becomes helpful for laying out food, hanging wet bathing suits, all kinds of stuff.

And contrary to what you might think, you can in fact drag wagons on the sand. If possible, however, look for something plastic or stainless steel, and with rubber tires—old-timey wooden wagons don’t like uneven surfaces and moisture. You’ll be able to find something suitable at any good toy store.

About the author: Abby Clark yearned to travel ever since her childhood and managed to realize her dreams in her youth. Apart from traveling around the world, Abby writes blogs and guest blogs for Best Quote Travel Insurance, a company which offers Super Visa insurance for travel.

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