MAKE A SHADY BASE CAMP
If you’re off to the beach with a baby or toddler, creating a shady base camp will go a long way to ensuring you all have an enjoyable day.
A cool nest will be a welcome retreat where you can feed, change nappies and rest in between your adventures to the sea, sand dunes or the shore to hunt for shells. And, with a makeshift tent to call home, your baby or toddler is more likely to be content to stay put for more than five minutes.
A pop-up shelter to protect your child from the sun’s rays is vital. And it pays not to be frugal when choosing one – by spending a little extra you can buy a product with fabric that offers a sun-protection rating of UPF50+. The better-made designs are also lightweight, as well as easier to put up and take down with minimal fuss. The younger your baby, the bigger the tent needs to be, as she’ll need to spend more time in it, and small tents can get very hot. Before you erect it, think about where the sun is, and aim for the shelter’s shadow to fall across your beach base camp in order to create maximum shade. If your little one is going to nap or spend a lot of time in the shelter, attach a battery-operated fan inside to keep it cool.
A windbreak is also a good idea, as all babies will be upset by sand blowing into their eyes. Fix it next to your tent, and you can effectively fence two sides of your base camp, making it easier to keep an eye on your little one if she’s crawling. And within this square of commandeered space, you’ll need a layer between you and the sand. But forget laying a couple of beach towels on the ground. An old fitted sheet is perfect. With its elasticated edges lifted over a bag in each corner, the raised sides make for a fairly sand-free area.
Lastly, consider taking a toddler-sized paddling pool with you to the beach. A few buckets of seawater tipped into a paddling pool makes for hours of fun.