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What to do with a Toddler at the Beach

What to do with a Toddler at the Beach

If you follow along with me on Instagram or my Facebook page, then you may have seen some pictures from our beach trip last Friday! {If you aren’t following me, click those links above and follow along! Leave a comment and I’d love to follow you back!} We had a free day that was full of sunshine, so we decided to pack up a lunch and our outdoor gear and check off one of our summer bucket list items.

Thinking about taking your toddler to the beach? Be sure to check out these great tips along with a packing list so you don't forget your beach day essentials! #beachpackinglist #toddleratthebeach #whattodotoddleratbeach #toddlerbeachpacking #todoatthebeach #youngkidsatbeach

Galveston Beach is just over an hour from our house and is a fun little getaway. Many Houstonians seem to hate or have bad things to say about Galveston, but I honestly believe it’s because they haven’t been in quite a long time. I really enjoy going for a day or weekend every year. The water may not be blue, but that’s the Mississippi River’s fault not Galveston’s! These days the beaches are seaweed free and so much work has gone into giving Galveston more life.

What to do with a toddler at the beach.

I mean just look at that sand! No seaweed or trash that people always seem to complain about. I’m telling you Galveston has been making a come back for the last few years. Plus, it’s a beach and not everyone has access to a beach just about an hour away.

What to do with a toddler at the beach

I thought that it would be more fun to share with y’all fun things to do with a toddler at the beach instead of just sharing pictures of us at the beach.

I mean, I know we’re super cute and all, but some people are hesitant to take their little ones for fear they won’t like it, won’t want to be there, have a bad experience, etc. Toddlers can be super finicky and you never know what they’re going to like or if they’re going to have a good day. Luckily for us, it was a pretty good day for Chlo. She wasn’t too keen on taking pictures, but we got them anyway!

Build a sandcastle

If your toddler isn’t a fan of the water or if the ocean water seems a bit overwhelming to them, start off playing in the sand! It’s less intimidating and getting dirty is always fun. If you don’t already have some, invest in some fun sand toys. Buckets, shovels, strainers, shapes to fill with sand, etc. The good thing is that you can get these from a dollar store! It doesn’t have to be fancy. I recommend bringing extra shovels because your toddler may not want to share with you, but you may be pretty invested in the building of the sandcastle.

Make sure to dig a big hole and fill it up with water! You can bring your toddler to the edge of the water with a bucket to get some water to fill the hole to introduce them to the ocean and waves. Plus the muddy water is fun and it’s neat to watch it disappear.

Building sandcastles with toddler at the beach

Pack a picnic lunch

Food is important! Not just to a pregnant lady, but a toddler too. Be sure to pack lots of your toddlers favorite snacky foods. Fruits, chips, Goldfish, cookies, crackers, more fruit, juice boxes, PB&J, anything else your toddler loves. For us, watermelon was a must!

JP got this awesome little table in the picture below for Christmas from my mom, and it’s so awesome. {Here’s a link to the A&M one on Amazon, but they have tons of collegiate, NFL and solids to choose from if you’re interested.} I had to share this because we kind of forgot that we had it, and this was the perfect opportunity to use it! Y’all, it has cup holders. Do you know how great that is at the windy beach? The chairs and table were perfect so that we could eat our food farther from the sand and I could sit in a chair for at least a little bit!

Snacks with toddler at the beach

Go on a walk along the shore

I love going on walks, but Chloe is usually in her stroller. Walking on the beach is a much slower pace and your toddler can walk along with you! You can stroll along the sand where the water occasionally rolls up over your feet, hold hands and run and jump together or just kick the water and chase the seagulls. It’s also a great way to start introducing your toddler to the water if they’re intimidated at all by it. Chloe is a fish and took to the water right away, but I know not all kids are the same!

Toddler at the beach

Play jump the waves

One of Chloe’s favorite things to do was to go out in the water and jump the waves with her daddy. She kept head butting my belly on accident, so I left the heavy lifting to JP. As each wave rolled around, JP would count to 3 and tell Chloe to jump. Then he’d lift her up and over the waves. She thought it was So. Much. Fun! It also allowed up to gradually get a little bit farther out into the water.

Jumping waves with toddler at the beach

Cover your legs with wet sand

Something I loved doing as a kid was sitting where the water occasionally meets the wet sand and covering your legs with the muddy sand until the water comes to wash it away. For starters, its a great way to exfoliate your legs if you rub it in a little each handful you place on them. It’s really fun for your little one because they’re getting covered in mud without getting in trouble! Every so often, the water will come up and wash most of the sand away. When that happens, I recommend scooting over a bit or your going to have a very uncomfortable place to sit as the sand washes away from your booty cheeks!

Collect seashells and other treasures

Walk along to find fun shells and other treasures along the shore. You can do this when you’re going on your walk or when you need a break from building your sandcastle. Sometimes you have to walk a little farther down the shore where there are less people on the beach to find the good shells! Once you collect them, you can decorate your sandcastle or save some of the good ones to take home!

Playing with toddler at the beach

Now that you have some fun ideas of what to do, make sure you know what to bring!

Make sure to pack:

Lots of snacks and drinks

A reusable water bottle or cup to keep drinks cold

A blanket

This outdoor blanket is lightweight, has stakes to keep it from blowing away and keeps the sand off!

Chairs, table, umbrella

Some combination of the above three items definitely helps when you have a toddler at the beach. We brought our folding table with cup holders and a couple folding chairs as you see in the pictures above! This table was such a big help and has multiple uses.

A cooler

Be sure to pack it full of snacks and drinks. Load up on extra water because the hot sun will get to you faster than you realize. I also recommend packing lots of fruits and veggies like watermelon, cantelope, apples, grapes, carrots and cucumbers to help with hydration and give you natural energy to keep up with your little one! Here are some awesome coolers if you’re in the market for a new one!

Sand toys

Buckets, shovels, strainers, mesh bags, sand forms, anything you can think of that would be fun to play with. This sweet set has everything to make an awesome castle as well as a dump truck to a watering can!


This one you can take or leave. It’s geared more towards the older kids, but good to have at the beach for floating around, riding waves and more!

Lots of sunscreen

My personal favorite is Sun Bum because it’s safe for the whole family as well as the reef. Since you’re at the beach remember what sunscreen does to ocean life! You can snag one here on Amazon or grab it next time your at Target!

A hat

Protect your face from the sun! Don’t forget one for your little as well. They may not wear it the whole time, but even a few minutes here and there will give their face protection.

Towels {bring extras}

Change of clothes

No one wants to go home all wet and sandy! Though you’re likely to go home with sand in places that you’ll find the next day, it’s still nice to have fresh clothes. Most beaches will have a shower and changing area where you can clean up before heading home.

Goggles {if your kids like/need them}

Anything else you think you may need!

Now the beach awaits!

There you have it, what to do with your toddler at the beach! There are so many fun things to do at the beach even if your kiddos are younger and not able to run into the ocean and body surf the waves on their own. We had so much fun taking Chloe down to Galveston for the day, and I know that she had an amazing time too.

We spent about 4 hours on the beach which was a good amount of time for Chloe. If you’ll be at the beach for vacation and have quick access to a house or hotel, be sure to plan for naptime! Being in the sun and constantly playing will make for a good long afternoon nap or an early bedtime.

Ever wonder what to do with your toddler at the beach? What beach activities are age appropriate, what beach toys should you bring or really what should your beach packing list look like?! I'm here to tell you that it's fun to bring your toddler to the beach. Everyone can have fun with all these beach activities! #toddleratthebeach #beachpackinglist #whattobringtothebeach #toddlerlife #travelwithtoddler

We loved our beach day, so I hope y’all do to! This was a check off of our summer bucket list before baby brother arrives and I’m kind of hoping that we have the time to do it again!

What are your favorite things to do at the beach?
Do your little ones love or hate the water?

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(20) Comments

  1. My kids love the beach, but I always feel anxious and never “know what to do.” Thanks for all these good ideas!

    1. Staying busy and being fully invested in the fun always helps with my anxiety at the beach!

  2. It can be hard to entertain a toddler. These are great tips!

  3. I wish we lived by a nice beach. I can’t wait to take my kiddos to the beach when they’re a little older. It looks like you guys had such a fun family trip!

    1. I’ll admit that Galveston isn’t really the nicest of beaches, but it’s a beach and it’s only an hour away so we’ll take it! We’re looking forward to going back again this Easter with our family!

      1. When we go to the beach, building sand castles is my daughters favorite thing to do. You gave great ideas on how to make more memories!! Thanks!!

        1. Thank you! We love building sand castles too. I’ll admit that I even enjoy it as an adult!

  4. These are perfect! We’re going to the beach in September for the first time with my 2-year-old and I had no idea what I was going to do with him. I’m definitely going to have to invest in one of those tables, they’re perfect for even our camping trips.

    1. Y’all will have so much fun! The table is definitely a good purchase for more than just the beach even.

  5. How fun!! It looks like you and the littles had a great time at the beach. I can’t wait to build sand castles with my little guy but on our last trip he was too freaked out about the sand touching his feet LOL! Hopefully next year.

    1. Awwww sand can definitely be a turn off for little ones. I bet he loves it next time. I’m interested to see how my son does when we take him this Easter!

  6. Wish i had these last week when we went to the beach lol! Thanks for the awesome tips

    1. Oh man, just a few days late! I’m sure y’all had an amazing time!

  7. Oh the beach is where it’s at for toddlers (and me)! Love the beach! We hav e a 4 year old and a two year old boy, we snacks (of course) bring shovels and the rest takes care of itself! So much fun they never want to leave. Nor do I…

    1. Yes! We love it too! I can’t wait to take my son this year and watch my kiddos play (and snack) together!

  8. Collecting sea shells is the best!!!! Looks like you guys had a great time!

    1. Yes, we love the beach!

  9. I love beach day! We definitely always pack a picnic too, no-one wants to have to pack up and leave to get lunch. Thanks for the tips for next time, I’ll be looking into that table for sure. It looks like a super helpful thing to have!

    1. That table is a game changer! I didn’t realize how handy it was until after we used it. Great for picnics, hanging out in the driveway, tailgating and all sorts of things too!

  10. My fellas love and still love the beach. Some of My favorite memories

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