A beach is a magical place, especially to kids. The glorious sound of waves washing up and whooshing back, the feeling of sand squishing between toes, and sun-kissed skin after spending a day outside exploring are the simple yet beautiful things that can make for the sweetest childhood memories. That’s why I try to get my kids as young as babies to fall as madly in love with the beach as I am.

For mamas who are nervous to bring little ones to the sandy bliss of a beach, don’t worry. I’ve got some great tips for keeping your infant safe while also having a truly amazing time learning to love the endless fun of beach time.

Prepare

Before you even leave your house, it is wise to prepare for safety and fun. The more comfortable you and your child are, the more fun you’ll be able to have. Be sure to pack plenty of drinking water, snacks, and sunscreen as well as beach toys, towels, sunglasses, aloe, beach blankets, wide-brimmed hats, and tons of toys. Did we mention the toys? Buckets, shovels, sifters, and even blowing bubbles.

Sensory play

Babies absolutely love to touch everything – that’s how they experience the world. Be sure to point out all the amazing sensory opportunities for your little one – like digging in the sand, dipping toes in the water, collecting shells and cool rocks and smelling the salty air.

Beach Babies: How to Train Your Little One to Love the Beach

Teach

The best part about all of that sensory play is the golden opportunity to take advantage your child’s natural curiosity and to teach them things like how the water moves, the nature of the tide and all about ocean life and the cool creatures you’ll find there. Without the distractions of screens and the daily grind to get in the way of your focus, you and your baby will enjoy this special bonding time.

Move at your kid’s pace

Kids have a natural pace and to really allow them to fall in the love with the beach it is wise to let them lead you through the hours of the day as much as a parent is able to. If your little one just wants to grab the sticky beach sand and watch it fall on his lap then by all means, do that. Treat your child’s focus on nature as the most important thing about that day.

Beach Babies: How to Train Your Little One to Love the Beach

Move your body

Find ways to move your body and stretch, walk, crawl, swim, float, do whatever you can to make your beach day a physical day too. There is wisdom in getting your blood pumping and your lungs working hard and teaching your child to enjoy the beach as a way to get some movement in is especially wonderful.

Make it special

Take pictures, laugh a lot, be slow and playful, do whatever it takes to make you and your baby super happy during beach time. It won’t take much for your little one to fall in love with the truly remarkable beauty of spending a day with family at the beach.

By letting your child be the leader in exploring the lay of the land, and by being open to their natural curiosity, you can definitely help your child to develop a healthy love of not just the beach but of the great outdoors. For more information on water and beach safety, check out these safety tips from The American Red Cross. Be sure to visit your state tourism board website to find the best family friendly beaches near you.

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