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Tips for taking young kids to the beach

Pop up sun tent for beach Shore and Sunshine kids playing

Going to the beach with young children is not relaxing. We hear you. So we asked around, and came up with some ideas of how to make the most of a family beach day.


Get there early. In the morning the water’s calmer, there’s less wind and it’s not too hot. The carpark is not full and everyone is happy.


Lots of it. Applied to children before they get dressed. One idea is to get squirmy kids to stand still is to put them in front of a full-length mirror while you apply the sunscreen; they can watch themselves and “help”.  Another idea is to paint funny shapes onto children in sunscreen, then rub it all in. Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going outside to allow time for the chemicals to sink into the skin and form a protective layer. SPF 50+ of course. The Sunsmart website has some good information about UV radiation, sunscreen and kids.

Protective Clothing:

A physical barrier is the best way to protect against the sun. Look for swimwear that has a UPF rating of 50+. Sunscreens use SPF ratings to measure how much UV radiation is blocked from hitting the skin’s surface by using the sunscreen. In a similar way, fabric uses UPF ratings to measure the amount of UV radiation that passes through. UPF 50+ is recommended as providing excellent sun protection. We love Sandy Feet Australia’s range of UV protective and chlorine proof swimwear. Pictured below. So gorgeous. 50+ swimwear girls

And here are some lovely UPF 50+ rashies for women from Babes in the Shade. They're chlorine-resistant too.  No chance of a wardrobe malfunction while building a sandcastle in these :)

BYO Sun Shelter:

Obviously we recommend our Shore and Sunshine pop up beach tents. Light, easy to put up, easy to carry over your shoulder. Excellent sun protection but also wind protection and a great place to breastfeed a baby if needed. Y


Cut up fruit, mix it together, call it fruit salad. Sandwiches, wraps, nuts, cheese.  Frozen grapes are amazing if you remember to freeze them the night before. Pack food and iced water into a little fridge bag – we love these Packit freezable cooler bags:

Packit cooler freezer bag for the beach


A few small open-ended toys will usually do. Some little buckets and spades, some pouring and mixing cups, a little tip truck maybe and a little ball. We love this set of Ikea cooking things for some sand cooking. They’re stainless steel which means you can put them in the dishwasher when you get home. Yay.

Travel light:

There’s a lot to carry: Towels, toys, snacks, sunscreen, a beach tent, spare clothes, nappies if you need them… By the time you have all your gear together there’s not much arm-space left for carrying children or anything else. Best to be able to carry everything at once rather than making trips from the car so the smaller and lighter your beach kit is; the better.

Escape plan:

As soon as kids start getting cranky and tired either start packing up or make a shaded “rest” space under a tree or in a beach shelter. Managing a toddler tantrum with sand and water when it’s hot is no fun.

What works for you and your family when you're at the beach? We'd love to hear your suggestions. Xx :)


For pop-up sun tents for the beach check out Shore and Sunshine. 


  • SuzieLou on

    Love these ideas – especially the full length mirror for applying sunscreen. Too many times I’ve done it at the beach – what a disaster. Definitely agree with the early arrival – helps with the escape plan when a quick departure is needed because the car is parked close!

  • Sere on


  • Anna on

    We get our kids to dig the biggest hole they can. It occupies them for hours.

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