Bringing children to the lakes will get them outside and active (hopefully leading to nice long nap when they get home!), and it’s a great way to keep cool on a hot, sunny day. Outdoor swimming also teaches kids about the importance of nature. They can fall in love with the lakes and beaches, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
But swimming with kids can come with its own challenges. You have to pay more attention and realistically, you have to bring more stuff!
This list will make it easier to pack up and head to the beach. Here is your guide for what to bring when swimming with kids.
Swimsuits - If you’re child is young enough, you may need to bring a swim nappy. Some infant suits come with built-in floatation devices, making it easy for kids to splash around without worry.
Flip flops, water shoes, or other appropriate footwear - Some Great Lakes beaches are rocky and slippery. For those beaches, water shoes can help to give your kids more grip getting in and out of the water.
Beach umbrella - This is the perfect way to help your kids take a break from the hot sun. With a big enough umbrella, the kids can curl up for a mid-day nap.
Hair bands and hair brush - Hair bands are useful if your child has long hair to keep out of their eyes when wet.
Cooler - Coolers to store your food and drinks and keep them cold.
Food/Snacks - You should always be prepared with plenty of food, like sandwiches, fruit, and other snacks. Swimming makes you hungry!
Drinks - Make sure you bring plenty of water. You can also bring juice and other flavoured drinks.
Towels - Bring extra towels with you so that you can use some for drying off and others for laying out on the sand. Microfibre towels are ideal since they pack light and sand doesn’t stick to them like traditional towels.
Sunscreen/Sun protection - The higher the SPF, the better when it comes to kids. Keep those little arms and noses protected! But be careful with the age of the children. If your baby is 6 months old or younger, you should try other forms of sun protection, such as hats and shirts. Getting sunscreen specifically designed for children can also help ensure that the product is safe for them.
Rash guard - Also known as a “rashie,” this is a shirt made of spandex or nylon that are often worn by surfers to avoid chafing against a surfboard. A kid could use a rashie to protect against rashes caused by a boogie board, for example. It also adds an extra layer of sun protection.
Baby powder - Okay, you’re going to have to just trust us on this one. When you’re leaving the beach, your kids are covered with sand, right? Normally, you would just put them in the car (and clean your car later) and hose them off when you get home. But if you use baby powder before the kids get in the car, the sand will come right off! Next time you’re leaving the beach, throw some baby powder on your kid’s feet and wipe away the sand. You will be shocked at how well it works!
Dry clothes - Some adults bring dry clothes for the children to change into. Others just have everyone change once they get home. It’s up to you! If you do plan on changing at home, bring towels or plastic table cloths to lay down on the car seats for the drive home. This will prevent soaking wet bum prints and sand all over the car.
Waterproof bag - Bring a waterproof bag to throw all of the wet towels and swimsuits into at the end of the day. That way, you won’t get the inside of your car wet.
Floatation device - Depending on the age of the children, this could be a necessity or something fun. For young kids, you can bring a lifejacket to ease your mind. For older kids, you can bring more fun flotation devices, as long as the beach allows them.
Here are some suggestions of fun, cool things to bring with you to the water to keep both yourself and your kids entertained.
• Shovels and rakes
• Buckets for building sandcastles
• Bag for shells, rocks, and other collectibles in
• Boogie board/flutter board
• Surf board
• Stuff to play catch: Frisbee, volleyball, football, baseball and gloves...
• Limbo set
• Beach bowling set
• Beach ball
• Bubble solution and wand
• Bocce ball set