We’ve been very lucky to get our kids to the beach fairly regularly from a young age. Aside from trips around Southeast Asia (gosh I miss those), we’ve spent the past couple of summers in Corsica where the house is just a short walk to the beach (sigh, I miss that too). Though Bali beaches are still a dream away, in Singapore, we’re still fortunate enough to be able to head over to Sentosa or East Coast Park year-round to enjoy a little salt, sand and sun.
Especially when you have young children, getting ready for a day out at the beach can require military-style preparation. Keeping everyone cool, hydrated, fed, entertained, rested, clean, dry and safe is no easy task! Here are my top tips for getting ready for your beach day out.
If you don’t have access to a car where you can stash extra necessities, you’ll need to bring everything you need with you, especially if you’re headed to a public beach with limited amenities. Pick a bag that’s light and easy to clean when it inevitably gets wet and full of sand. Bring light towels or thin blankets to sit on, instead of big bulky beach towels. I also recommend bringing baby in a carrier rather than a stroller, as you really don’t want to be wheeling that thing through the sand. It also leaves your hands free to schlep all the other stuff you’ll need for the day.
At many beaches you’ll need to create your own shade, especially if you’ll be there through the mid-day sun. Beach umbrellas can be big and heavy, so consider investing in a light, collapsible tent that your family can hide out in when it’s just too hot or for taking a little nap. Using a strong sun cream is a must – set an alarm on your phone for every couple of hours so you don’t forget to reapply, and be sure to choose one that is water repellant. And on top of this, I strongly recommend a good rash guard or long-sleeved swimwear as sunscreen is not 100% foolproof, especially in the water. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses to protect little eyes and faces from UV rays.
A long day in the sun will require a lot of water to keep everyone hydrated. Bring refillable bottles that can be topped up at water fountains, and look for wide mouth bottles that you can fill with ice before you leave. Snacks are a must as with every outing – I like to bring uncut fruit, such as berries, grapes and whole apples, that can be easily rinsed off when someone upends the whole container into the sand. Same goes for biscuits and dry snacks; I package them in separate little containers or stasher bags so that if one gets sandy, the entire lot isn’t ruined. Pro tip: freeze your grapes!
Ah the toys. The more toys you bring, the more you have to carry, keep track of and clean afterward. Kids can usually entertain themselves well, so one bucket and spade per kid, as well as a ball and maybe a frisbee is generally enough. For older kids, snorkels are a great way for them to explore the area around the beach.
Even if your kids are strong swimmers, you should still make sure you are familiar with the water conditions before you let them go off on their own. Understand the tides, currents and undertows, and make sure older kids go off in groups or pairs. Explain to them that they need to heed any posted hazard signage and stay within the designated swimming zones, since not all beaches have life guards on duty. Box jellyfish have become more of a danger around Singapore recently, so do some research ahead of time to see if your beach has had any issues. As my kids are still little, I like to strap floaties on them even if they’re just playing in the sand. This way, if I turn my back for a second, I don’t have to worry so much about them wandering into the sea. Though it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your young ones at all times, of course!
At the end of the day, your family will be one big, soggy, sticky, sandy, tired mess (forecast a 50% chance of a nap-deprived toddler meltdown.) Bring bags, lots and lots of bags. You’ll need them to collect up and dispose of your trash responsibly, and they’ll come in handy for carrying everything above that you brought and is now wet and sandy. Wet bags are great for collecting and carrying wet swimsuits as they’re reusable and can be easily washed. Don’t forget to bring some clean clothes – my kids have a habit of running into the sea before we can wrestle them into their swimsuits, so whatever they wore in the morning is not guaranteed to be clean and dry for the trip home.
And there you have it. Everything you need to help you keep sane while prepping for a beach day with kids. Here’s a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything:
Have a great day out!
August Society Founder & Creative Director
Thinking of ways to help with ocean conservation? Check out our interview with Hong Kong-based actress and DEVE founder Hidy Yu (余曉彤) to find out what she's been doing to help and how you can be more conscious of the ocean's health.
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