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Summer is just around the corner in the northern hemisphere, and you’re not the only one who’s excited about that. Your kids are probably counting down the days until school is finally over and they can spend a few long warm days at the beach with you.
But before you and your little ones can actually hit the sand dunes or the pool, you need to make sure you have all the essentials covered. Adults are fairly easy—a beach towel, a pair of sunglasses, sunblock and we’re all set—kids, on the other hand, are a different story. To keep them entertained and happy for a few hours you will need to come well prepared, and we’re not just talking about sand toys.
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For starters, you’ll need to pack a day’s worth of snacks and drinks, or at least their favorite snacks and drinks because you never know what will be available at the beach. You also need a good sun protection strategy since your children’s skin is a lot more sensitive to UV radiation and simply applying sunscreen every 40 minutes is not enough. Floaties and anti-slip water shoes are a must as well especially if you’re going to the pool where your kids will be running around on wet tiles.
Read on for the beach essentials we'd back for a successful day in the sand with the little ones.
Lily Pulitzer’s mermaid-inspired beach towel/wrap comes with a hood that will keep their heads warm and dry. Or for a daily dose of cuteness, opt for this cute round whale towel with a UPF 50+.
To buy: $35, potterybarnkids.com; $60, potterybarnkids.com
Kid- and Reef-friendly Sunscreen: Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+
Protect your little ones and the environment with this kid-friendly mineral-based sun lotion. It has a non-nano zinc-oxide-based formula and is free of any parabens, phthalates, or harmful UV chemical absorbers.
To buy: $13, amazon.com
A Family Beach Tent: Navy/White Stripe Family Pop-Up Tent
When the sun becomes too strong, just pop this tent open. It has a UVF 50+ and plenty of space for your kids to play and nap. The tent comes in a convenient carry case that also serves as its base when open.
To buy: from $99, potterybarnkids.com
Toys: Green Toys Green Sand Play Set
Your little ones will love building sand castles with this play set that includes a bucket, a shovel, a rake, and a sand castle mold. You can also feel good about your purchase—the toys are made from a hundred percent recycled plastic.
To buy: $22, crateandbarrel.com
Cooler Backpack: Mickey Mouse Cooler Backpack
With a backpack/cooler that cute, kids will want to help you carry their own drinks and food for the day. The interior is fully insulated and water-resistant so in case of spills, the mess will remain inside the backpack and not on their clothes.
To buy: $60, shopdisney.com
Water Shoes: Native Shoes Jefferson Water Friendly Slip-On Vegan Sneaker
These lightweight and cushioned water shoes will protect your kids’ feet from the scorching sand and broken shells and stones that may cause cuts and injuries. They are easy to put on and take off and even easier to clean, which any parent would appreciate.
To buy: from $35, nordstrom.com
A Floatie: Doji Kids First Floatie Swim Vest
Safety always comes first so don’t let your kids go in the water without a floatie. This one consists of armbands and a swim belt that you can detach as your kids’ swimming abilities improve with age.
To buy: $25, amazon.com
A Rashguard: Vilebrequin Glassy Herringbone Turtles Rashguard
While applying sunscreen is important, a much better way to protect your kids’ skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays is to cover them up. This cute long-sleeve rashguard is made from recycled plastic—a good way to educate your kids about protecting the environment—and is machine washable.
To buy: $95, saksfifthavenue.com
A Water Bottle: Pura Kiki 9 oz. Vacuum Insulated Toddler Sippy Bottle
Keep your child hydrated throughout the day with this sippy cup that features a double-wall vacuum insulation. It is made from stainless steel and medical grade silicone, and comes with a protective travel lid.
To buy: $25, buybuybaby.com
A Hat: Vineyard Vines Stripe Whale Baseball Cap
A sun hat is a summer essential for both adults and children. This cute one by Vineyard Vines is made from breathable seersucker and has an adjustable strap at the back.
To buy: $25, nordstrom.com
Comfortable Flip Flops: Hari Mari Brazos Flip Flops
Flip flops are the ultimate beach footwear and when it comes to comfortable and high quality flip flops, Texas-based (and celebrity favorite) brand Hari Mari know what they are doing. This pair has elasticized backstraps that will keep the flip flops in place while the soft foam soles will ensure your kid is comfortable all day long.
To buy: $25, harimari.com