My husband hates the beach. I am not sure which he dislikes more, the risk of sunburn or the annoying feeling of sand in between his toes. Plus, I am neurotic about letting my kids anywhere near water, so he has to put up with me too.
When summer arrives, it doesn't take much to convince him that we should bring the kids to the beach, aka, Lake Taghkanic.
It is a good thing we have a 15 passenger van to load up all the essentials or we might have to rent a U-Haul. With our trunk filled with boogie boards, pool noodles, life jackets, beach balls, shovels, pails, sand molds in the shapes of various sea creatures, a cooler filled with drinks, a cooler filled with food, a bag of snacks, sunscreen, an umbrella, and 10 towels we are ready to roll.
Too bad we aren't allowed to drive down onto the sand to unload the van.
With our arms over-filled and a stroller loaded up with the rest, we are off to find a spot big enough for us and all our stuff. Maneuvering around a myriad childless people with their one towel and bottle of water, I think back to carefree afternoons at the beach. Those were the days.
Sounds of “I'm thirsty!” and “It's hot!” break me out of my daydream.
18 years of trial and error has helped me figure out what it takes to have a fun and (almost) relaxing day at the beach with eight kids. It all comes down to organization and being prepared for anything and everything.
Being prepared ensures you will have a stress-free day at the beach.
Arrive Early – You want to claim the optimal spot for your full enjoyment. Do you prefer sun or shade? Do you want to be out of view of the concession stands? There's nothing like having the ice cream cart in full view to ensure a tantrum or two or ten. Also, scope out the location of the restrooms. If your children are anything like mine, I'm sure you will be visiting the bathroom quite a few times over the course of the day.
Bring lots of your child's (and your) favorite snacks – My children can be occupied for at least a few minutes when I bring out their favorite snacks. I often reserve special snacks that I do not usually buy, such as fruit snacks, for such occasions. Also, pack a few extra of your own favorite snacks, because snack envy will inevitably happen. A hungry child is a cranky child. If you do not want to wind up shelling out big bucks at the hot dog vendor, throw a few sandwiches in your bag as well. I also fill a separate cooler with drinks. Staying well hydrated is very important.
Have plenty of sand toys to play with – Keep your kids occupied building a sandcastle and burying each other in the sand. Take those few minutes to relax between trips to the water.
Don't forget the sunscreen – My husband and I have both had sun poisoning and I never want to have that happen again. With fair children who burn easily, I am very vigilant with sunscreen application. Not only am I concerned about sun safety, but I am cautious about what ingredients are in my sunscreen. My children have very sensitive skin and have had horrible breakouts with certain sunscreens.
Recently, I received a package of sunscreen samples from Block Island Organics and I was impressed. Block Island Organics offers non-toxic mineral based sunscreens in SPF 15, SPF 30 and SPF 40, and a zinc only Baby SPF 30. These products are non-comedogenic, vegan formulated, paraben free, phthalate free, nano particle free, artificial fragrance free, non-eye irritating, not tested on animals, and made in the USA. The formula is lightweight, non-greasy, and it absorbs very quickly. A small amount goes a long way. For best absorption, start with a small amount of product and add more as you need it. After rubbing it into my little one's skin, I wasn't left with a sticky residue on my hands.
If you forget to apply your sunscreen, Block Island Organics has you covered. Check out their Aloe Vera Based Sunburn Gel.
With the summer season right around the corner, research your sunscreen options. Most importantly, have fun!
*I was not financially compensated for this post. I received product samples for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.*