Welcome, Summer! It’s officially July, which means we’re getting ready for the weekends at the beach and showing Zoe all the wonders that the Californian coast has to offer. Today, I’m sharing our beach essentials for a toddler because now that Zoe is older, this will be the first summer that Zozo can run and play with us on the beach! It took Zoe a couple of visits to get used to the strange and new feeling of sand under her feet (the first few times were full-blown meltdowns, did this happen to your little ones!?) but now that she seems to be totally at ease, we’re excited to dive in and enjoy the getaway days in the surf and sand! Over the weeks, we’ve gathered our version of “on hand, always ready to go” beach bags which always seem to contain the same essentials we need for Zoe on a beach day. Can’t wait to read through your recommendations and comments below and catch you over on Instagram!
+ Sunscreen & Swim Pants
We’ve all heard about the crucial benefits of sunscreen use to protect our sensitive skin from harmful UV ray damage and help slow down the appearance of wrinkles and aged skin. A high SPF on your baby is particularly important because your baby’s skin is actually different from yours. It’s in a developmental stage throughout baby and toddlerhood – thinner, much more sensitive and vulnerable to the strength and power of our sun. We have been long-time fans of Babyganics broad spectrum SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen products, using them since Zoe was 4 months old, because they’re kind to skin, non-allergenic, water resistent, tear-free, cruelty-free and are made with plant derived and organic ingredients. Woah, Nelly. I’m out of breath. Another fantastic and super fun Babyganics must-have are their disposable swim pants! They’re the first to incorporate a fun sun-sensing scenery technology that changes when the pants are initially exposed to sunlight. More of the design appears in the light, but the best part is that they’ve even built in a useful “prolonged UV exposure”, so as time goes on, the design changes, warning you to check on whether baby might be needing some downtime in the shade for a while. Plus they snap off at the sides making them super easy to remove from a salty, sandy, sticky toddler when it’s time to part ways with your beach adventure! Please remember to play in the sun carefully and avoid being under those strong rays at the peak heat and sun strength during the day!
+ Beach Toys
Beach toys and kiddies just go together like peanut butter and jelly and are essential for a toddler. We made the grave mistake of not bringing many beachy toys to one of our visits and found that getting your toddler to take to sand is easier when you have sand-oriented toys like buckets, spades, sand molds, rakes etc. Yeah. We just had a cardboard book. Parental fail right there. We have a cute bucket and spade from the Babyganics collection, a beach ball and recently added some more simple things to the mix! What other beach toys do you guys recommend or do your toddlers love?
+ Tent & Large Throw
Hubby and I used to bring a tent to the beach (we took it with us on vacation too!) even before Zoe arrived. I can’t tell you how many times I thank the Heavens we have our beach tent. It is SO practical for putting the food box and other belongings inside of. Ours is super simple – UV protected with a mesh net at the back to allow for wind to blow through and cool it down. Not too big or small, just fits two adults comfortably. We’ve braved downpours in Hawaii with our little tent and now it doubles up as super practical for getting baby out the sun for a while or down for a nap (if you’re lucky, we’ve never managed haha). Another recent addition is a large throw to put down. You can lay your towels on it or else just lay right on top. I find this so helpful because there’s just a lot of space for sitting around comfortably and laying out your beach lunch/picnic on it (although we always bring our little rescue pup Indie to the beach and she walks all over it *sigh*. Watermelon sprinkled with sand. Cool.)
+ Insect Repellent
Another one of our beach essentials for a toddler? Repellent. Insects are part of being outside in nature and it’s only natural to come into contact with the odd skin-biting, blood-sucking mosquito every so often. Just doesn’t feel so awesome afterwards, though. In our sunscreen bag, we carry the plant-derived, DEET free option in the Babyganics range, comprised of natural and potent essential oils that repel those pesky mosquitos. Nothing worse than being forced to leave the view of a gorgeous sunset because you’re all being feasted on by those mozzies!
+ Sun Hat, Extra Swimsuit & Clothing
Needless to say, a day in the surf and sand is going to require some degree of changing into something fresh, whether that be because the temperature cooled off or that you simply don’t want a salty, drenched car seat. We always have Zoe in a sun hat and bring extra swimwear in case she just won’t dry off easily and isn’t going back into the water. One absolute must is a fresh change of clothes. Here in Southern California, the days are desert hot but the evenings really cool down quickly. The wind can pick up in a flash, so we pack a little hoodie, tee & leggings for Zoe to change into for the ride home. It’s so cozy when you get to cuddle in something warm through the cooler hours at the end of the day, right!?
I hope you guys enjoyed our beach essentials for a toddler! Please leave your comments and recommendations below, I’d love to know what your family packs for the beach? Do you pack light or take the kitchen sink along with you? I’m thinking of getting one of those beach wagons to pull along our things haha, they’re super cute!