Don’t Forget the Beach Toys!

Announcing a day at the beach to my kids is always followed by a mad dash to find beach wear and gear. The beach bag with our toys has a designated spot in the garage and it’s loaded first by my teenager. This is the same child who is never the first, always the last in the SUV no matter the occasion. He may be the last to buckle his seat belt, but he always assures that there will be beach toys and water toys for everyone. When you announce to your kids that you are going to spend the day at the beach, more often than not, the first thing that comes to mind for your child will not be the sound of the water or the feel of the sand, but how many sand castles he can create. It is equally important to older kids and adults that we have our favorites ready to go at a moment’s notice. The movement of sand and water with our tools, a Frisbee to toss or ball to swat are absolute essentials for the trip no matter how long we plan to stay. When checking the trunk or SUV, be sure you’ve included these with the beach towels and beach chairs.

• Sand shovels and sand pails – There are different types (shapes) of bucket and shovels available in toy shops or in the convenience stores near the beaches. During the off-season, your favorite online beach gear store will have a variety of shovels and pails as well. Our favorite is the Dune Spoon with the 22 inch wood handle and plastic grip. Comes in a rainbow of colors (even tie-dye!). There are shovels that are made from plastics with either a short or longer handles made of plastic or wood. There are shovels too made from metal which cuts through wet sand easily, be careful giving these to very young toddlers. Sturdy plastic will last for many seasons with just a quick rinse after your day in the sand. As for the buckets, there are plastic buckets with strong sturdy handles which can hold scoops of sands that are usually heavy when wet. You can opt for plastic rake too as this is safer than a shovel since it can hurl less wads of sand! Shovels and rakes with sturdy rubber handles provide better grasps for your artist child at work in the sand. Older children may pay attention to the designs a shovel or rake make in the sand as a deciding factor. Depending on the level of creativity, a shovel and rake combo may be necessary for the job. Sand molds are also available either purchased separately or as set with a bucket and shovel. What usually matters most for kids is what design to choose for their sand castle or how to totally cover the adults with sand.

• Catch and Release beach toys and beach games – Balls of all sizes and shapes, Smash-ball sets, Pro-Kadima, and even beach towels patterned like giant game boards for Tic-Tac-Toe Back-Gammon and Checkers are also readily available in the beach toy section. These are particularly attractive to the older “kid” crowd. The possible varieties are endless and all can be stored in a laundry basket or large beach bag (I recommend a Whale Bag) for the next beach trip. What usually matters most for kids is how to totally cover their favorite adults with sand.

• Water toys, squirt guns, floaties and inflatables – A trip to the beach would not be complete without water. What better way to celebrate the trip than with a water pistol, Super Soaker and a flotation device! All shapes and sizes are available in both these toy. Specifically for the flotation device an air pump is a must, either the manual type or the electric that plugs into a car lighter. Check these devices out for an extra feature which allows DEFLATING as well. This is especially helpful for easy storage of the flotation devices after returning home. This can be a perfect time to bond with your favorite young (or old) person and sharing with them many buckets of laughter and great fun-filled moments will have you both looking forward to the next weekend at the beach!

Plan for your next trip to the beach to be an experience you will never forget. At the very least you want to make memories with your young person. All that is required is your favorite beach toys, beach towel and sunscreen.