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EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO HAVE AN AMAZING SUMMER WITH KIDS: ACTIVITIES, SUN SAFETY, KEEPING LITTLE ONES COOL IN THE HEAT AND A BEACH READY CAR KIT

It’s not an Aussie summer without togs, thongs, daggy duds and a sandy bum.

As I emerge from my wintry Motherhood Cave a little paler and bleary eyed, I am nevertheless looking forward to my first summer as a mum to a walking (circa last Thursday), adventurous and naughty nearly one year old.

Since our baby bag is much lighter these days, and so too are the mornings, I’m ready to take the plunge – bring on the beach with a baby.

USE A CAR BOOT ORGANISER TO STASH ALL THE ESSENTIALS FOR GETTING OUT IN SUMMER WITH KIDS

The best beach trips are unplanned. We keep a kit in our car with everything we need to save time getting ready. Specifically we have this one from Kmart ($10); it’s roomy with plenty of pockets and sections to divvy up supplies.

  • Beach towels for us and the baby – bigger beach blankets are even better since they double as a play mat
  • Swimsuits
  • Hats
  • Spare clothes
  • A wet bag
  • Sandals
  • Beach toys
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Nappies and wipes
  • First aid kit and snake bite kit
  • Emergency water
  • Coolant
  • A torch
  • Masks
  • Dog beach items – dog water toys, old towels, a water bowl and a hose attachment
  • Dust brush for brushing off sand
  • A portable fan – this one has soft blades and clips onto the pram
  • Picnic rug

SUN SMART SAFETY ESSENTIALS FOR ADULTS, KIDS AND BABIES

Sun safety calls for full dag.

  • SPF 50+ with broad spectrum UVA/B protection, applied liberally (preferably with a spackle)
  • Hats that provide a good amount of sun protection for ears and the back of the neck (like bucket hats or legionnaire caps)
  • Long sleeve bathers
  • Checking the UV index and limiting exposure during peak hours – you now go to the beach at 7 in the morning
  • Shade from trees, beach umbrellas or shelters (keep in mind these can get hot if they have poor ventilation)

KEEPINGS KIDS AND BABIES COOL IN THE HEAT

  • Offer extra water, breastfeeds and bottles
  • Light clothing with short sleeves or just a nappy
  • Put them to sleep in the coolest room of the house
  • Use lukewarm baths and damp washcloths
  • Offer foods with high water content such as watermelon
  • Avoid going out on especially hot days or during the hottest hours of the day

Babies and young children are more prone to heat stroke and dehydration than adults.

Monitor for decreased urine output (less nappies or wees than usual), sunken eyes, dry lips and mouth, a sunken fontanelle (soft spot), lethargy and few or absent tears when crying.

All are signs of dehydration that call for a trip to your local emergency department.

FUN SUMMER ACTIVITIES FOR TODDLERS AND BABIES

OUTDOOR PAINTING

Roll out butcher’s paper and some paint tubs (you can even decant paint into egg cartons) for finger painting. Or stompy feet painting. Lay out unfolded cardboard boxes or splash mats to protect the deck or grass.

WATER PLAY

  • A bucket or tray filled with water and things to float
  • Sprinkler or hose (grownups check the temperature of the water coming out first)
  • Painting the fence with water
  • Paddling pool
  • Water balloon fights for older kids

For more on water play, I have this handy post right here about its benefits and some fun ideas.

OTHER SUMMER FUN IDEAS WITH KIDS

  • Picnics
  • Swimming lessons; not only is learning to swim and safety around water really important for Aussie kids – is there anything better than some hot chippies after a dip in the pool?
  • The aquarium
  • The library
  • Indoor arts and crafts – potato stampers, play dough, cardboard box houses etc.
  • Cubby houses
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