How to pack for the Beach and the Pool

It’s that time of the year when families will be heading down to the beach or your neighbors pool party.  Which is certainly a great way to kick off the summer… but you don’t know what to pack in your beach bag.  If you’re anything like me, you always forget something.  Here’s a great way to avoid those pitfalls and to effectively pack for the pool or beach without forgetting your towel or sunscreen in the process.

Where to start…

Make a list. The list is a key component to a successful packing job.  You only need to make one list and then you can expand on it each year, as your family grows.  Keep in mind that you need to consider how many people are attending, the duration of your stay and travel time.

If you don’t start with a list, then you leave yourself open to forgetting much needed items for your fun excursions. This in turn can lead to costly expenses if you need to make an emergency stop to purchase items at the beach stand or travel to an area convenience store for sunscreen or healthy snacks.

What to pack…

  1. Buy a beach bag. You can purchase a specialty beach bag at a large department store or specialty shop.  If you’re looking for a low cost option you can use a bag that you already have at home or try your local thrift shop for some great deals.  You just want to make sure that whatever bag you choose is sturdy, durable and able to fit everything on your list.  Taking one bag makes the trip a lot easier for everyone.
  2. Towels, bathing suit, cover up, water shoes, powder and change of clothes.
  3. A good tip is to have everyone already in their bathing suits and cover ups before you leave the house.  That way it saves you a few steps when you get to your outing. Don’t forget to have a full change of clothes for the ride home. It can make for a rough return trip if you forget to pack the kids underwear and they feel uncomfortable. 
  1. Sunscreen, cream, lip balm, hats & sunglasses. These items are essential for keeping you safe and cool in the sun, so don’t forget to add them to your list.
  2. Children and adult books. A beach or pool outing is often a great time to catch up on some much needed reading for adults, as well as the kids getting a good head start on their summer reading list.  Please ensure though that adults are always supervising their children while they are in the water.  You may consider reading while the kids are building a sand castle or eating lunch.
  3. Beach or pool toys and goggles. You may consider packing these items in a separate drawstring gym bag with netting to allow the sand to escape before you get back into your car.  The drawstring or backpack bags are always easy to carry over the shoulder.  Even the kids could be in charge of holding these items.
  4. Life Jacket or floaties. Don’t forget the floaties for the little ones or life jackets if you plan on going on a jet ski or boat at the beach.
  5. Money, phone and i.d. Many people opt not to take a pocketbook or wallet to the pool or beach because they don’t want to have to worry about it while they are in the water.  It makes it easy to forget the essential license, money or id that is needed for the day.  You may also want to consider change for the possible vending machines if the kids want an ice cream or a special treat.  Also a good tip to remember is to pack these items in zip lock bags so they don’t get wet during your adventure.
  6. Healthy snacks and drinks. Packing healthy snacks and drinks for your outing is a cost effective way to enjoy a fun filled day at the pool or beach.
  7. Waterproof camera. In this day and age many people use their cell phone cameras instead of traditional cameras.  However, you may want to consider a waterproof disposable camera for these outings so you don’t have to worry about getting it wet or sand all over it. 
  8. Lastly, don’t forget a small first aid kit for emergencies.

Big items…

These maybe some of the items that aren’t going to fit into your beach bag but they still maybe essentials for your beach or pool day.  It may include chairs for the family members that don’t like to sit on the sand.  Possibly a beach umbrella to get some time out of the sun, boogie boards, floats,  beach ball, large toys and of course  a cooler for healthy snacks. 

In addition to your family beach bag, many families will also purchase a foldable rolling cart to put all of these big items in.  They often have big wheels that are easy to maneuver in the sand and less to lug around.  It makes your life a lot easier on your beach or pool outing.

Once you’re packed your ready to go out and enjoy a fun, safe day with your family…enjoy!

Kelli Didomenico brings over 20 years of experience to her role as Director of Family Engagement at The Children’s Workshop.  In her role she welcomes and supports children and families directly but also supports the company’s center Directors to encourage families to become actively involved in their child’s education through parent committees, family events, and by volunteering in our classrooms.  Additionally, she reaches out to form partnerships that enhance the services that The Children’s Workshop can provide for its families.  Kelli earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Rhode Island College.