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Taking Baby to the Beach

Babies love going to the beach. I was lucky enough to live by the ocean when my son was born, and now I live near a lake with a pretty man-made beach, but he loves that just as much!

Babies love the sound of the ocean waves, and they adore sand.

Tiny babies will love looking at and listening to the waves, and like to feel the sand with their hands and feet. Try filling a container with sand and water – make damp sand, or really wet sand – and let baby squish and feel the texture of the wet sand.

Older babies like to dig with their hands or a shovel, and might even be able to fill a bucket. Playing in the sand with a shovel is great practice for using a spoon, it’s essentially the same skill, and there’s no cleanup, like there can be with a spoon and food! Crawling over sand is a new kind of workout, and all the pebbles, shells and driftwood are very interesting. Just watch out none of it is mistaken for food!

Toddlers love sand toys too, and paddling in the sea, and exploring rock pools – closely supervised, of course. A pair of water shoes, jelly shoes, or crocs, or other non-slip shoes are a must to avoid slips and cuts on sharp stones.

Toddlers also like to find things buried in the sand – bury a small toy just below the surface for them to dig up. Build a sandcastle for them to decorate with stones, shells or seaweed. And sandcastles are just as fun to stomp on!

Eating sand happens – a little sand is generally not harmful, and will come out the other end. And whether baby eats sand or not, sand will get into diapers. Using a baby wipe on a sandy bottom will feel like sandpaper, so clean baby’s bum in the bath or sink.

Always protect baby from the sun. A sun hat, sunscreen (for babies over 6 months – never expose younger babies to direct sun), and an inexpensive beach umbrella will keep baby safe in the sun. Light, long-sleeved clothing is best, but not always practical, so make sure baby is well coated with sunscreen.

Visiting on a warm, but not a hot day, can be the most fun. The beach won’t be too busy, baby won’t get too hot, and babies don’t care about sunbathing anyway. There’s too much to explore!

So if you are near a beach, or visiting one on vacation, take advantage of a nice spring day, and head to the shore!

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