Monday, August 4, 2014

Packing for the Beach

The last days of summer are here! Parents and caregivers everywhere are trying to sneak in those last sunny outings and vacations. And what better place than the beach? When my son became a toddler, one of the things I found myself pretty happy about was an increasingly lighter diaper bag. I just didn't need as much stuff as before. It was all too easy to just toss a few diapers, a sippy cup, snacks and a few first aid items like bandages into a bag for a short trip.

Then came that first trip to the beach. I suddenly found myself wanting to pack not just the diaper bag, but a full suitcase. Or two! I packed sunscreen, the giant stroller, bug spray, sand toys galore, umbrellas, beach balls, chairs, enough food to feed us for days and towels as big as blankets and more. I was so sure we'd need it all. After I was finished packing, however, I wasn't even sure how I was going to make it down to the beach with all that stuff in tow plus my kid!

As it turned out, he wasn't so sure about it, either, and wasn't willing to make multiple trips to the car for unpacking once he caught sight of all that sand and water. I ended up leaving most of the stuff in the car and didn't even need it anyway. The next trip rolled around and my task was shortened considerably. I managed to whittle my list down to a few essentials which included:

  • sunscreen
  • a blanket for the ground
  • a couple of towels for drying off
  • a small cooler for sippy cups and snacks
  • diapers and wipes
  • dry clothes for the ride home
  • a small first aid kit
  • a bucket full of toys small enough to be carried by my toddler

With just those few items, we always had fun at the beach and I was able to get everything in one load. That's not just smart, it's safer since you don't want your child out of your sight when you're near the water. I tried to stick to beaches where I knew I could grab some shade so I wouldn't have to bring the umbrella, but when in doubt, that came along, too.

What are the items that you can't live without when you take your kids to the beach? Are you a light packer or do you take everything plus the kitchen sink? Have you ever made the trip with all the children in your care and if so, how did that change what you took along? Share your list.

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