Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How to Survive All Day at the Beach or Waterpark with a Toddler

 When our older daughter was little, we were beach bums. We lived just a short distance from a gorgeous beach on the Gulf of Mexico and we visited often. Over the three years we lived there, we were at the beach more times than I can count. When we moved back to Utah, the beach was one of the things that I missed the very most. Nowadays during the summer you can find us at the water park, the splash pad or in our backyard pool. I can count on one hand the days we haven't spent in water this summer. Our the last 8 years of spending all day in the water with little ones, I have found some things that make it much more enjoyable for everyone.

Cover ups. My girls have a family history of skin cancer, so I work really hard to protect them from the sun. I have found the number one reason that my kids get sunburned is because we forget to reapply the sunscreen at the right intervals. I have found for our family, it is way easier when everyone wears a rash guard. 

I buy my toddlers full body swimsuits like the Nemo one in the picture and then I just have to worry about putting sunscreen on their faces. For my older daughter, she wears a long sleeve rashguard and swim bottoms, so we aren't worried about her shoulders and back. My husband and I both wear rash guards and we love that we don't have to worry about burned shoulders. 

If rashguards don't work for you, consider setting an alarm on your phone to alert you to when everyone needs to hop out for another coat of sunscreen. 

Shoes that can be worn in the water. There are many sharp things on the beach and the pavement at water parks is usually pretty hot, buying your kiddos shoes that can be worn in the water helps protect them from both. With my older kids we buy water shoes, with my toddler I usually buy a cheap pair of shoes and just let them wear them in. 

Sunglasses and Hats. Most people remember sunglasses for themselves, but I have found that my kids last longer at the pool if they have a pair too. For my toddlers I buy the kind that strap all the way around their head, like these, which seems to helps us not lose them. 

Lots of water. When we go to the park I usually pack a bottle of water and a sippy cup full of whatever my daughter asked for that morning. I encourage her to drink the sippy first and then we switch to the water. Staying hydrated will keep your kiddos happy and active. 

Toys. Most people bring toys to the beach, but I also bring them to the water park. We love a shovel and pail and sand molds for the beach. For the water park we love the cloth water bombs that are basically like a cloth water balloon. They are compact and provide a lot of fun.

Hooded towels. I used to bring beach towels for my kids to the beach and then I noticed they would drag them on the ground as they were drying off. They would get dirty and extra wet. Now I bring hooded towels. The hood on their head helps keep it from dragging on the ground and picking up water and dirt.

 Protein filled snacks. It can be really hard to get protein in your kids when you are far away from your fridge at the beach or the water park only has greasy amusement park food. We have just started toting around Lil' Beanies which I found in the baby food section of Target.  Made from the goodness of navy beans and naturally flavored, Lil’ Beanies is a fantastic protein filled snacking option not made with genetically engineered ingredients and has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. It has 2 grams of protein (9% Daily Value) and 1 gram of fiber per serving. It is the perfect snack to keep my little one going between meal breaks.

They come in original flavor and white cheddar and broccoli. My toddler calms them "healfy cheetos."

A place to take a break. I like to bring my stroller, rent a chair at the beach or a small cabana at the water park. Some place to get out of the sun and cool down will recharge your kiddo. 

Extra things I make sure to bring:

  • extra diaper
  • wipes
  • extra swim diapers
  • sandwiches (for actual lunch) 
  • a change of clothes for each kid
  • sunscreen
  • bug spray (if we are staying until dusk) 
We really have days in the sun down to a science. Not one has been burned yet this year (knock on wood) and we have all had a really great time!

What do you bring to enjoy a day in the sun? 
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