Everything you Need for an Eco-Friendly Beach Day with your Little Ones

by - Friday, June 23, 2017

I just read an awesome and really helpful blog from Fab Working Mom Life about what to remember when you go to the beach with a toddler. I love lists like this, because I am definitely not the type of mom who can remember a bunch of things, and we almost always end up missing something it seems obvious you would have.

Reading the list, I was struck that almost everything on there has awesome eco-friendly options, which made me think everyone could switch out a few things and our beach visits would have a more positive impact. And it is so worth it to do that, because beach days like the ones we enjoy could very well be a thing of the past if we don't clean up our act.

We love our days at the beach, and it breaks my heart that by the time our children are adults, it's expected that the oceans will have more plastic than fish in it. It honestly makes me sick to my stomach to think what my grandchildren's beach days will look like. So if I can make our beach days a little cleaner (and often even cheaper), I am going to do it. If you want to as well, I have some suggestions.

eco-friendly beach day with toddlers

1. A Wet Bag

Instead of throwing all that wet stuff into a plastic bag, bound for the garbage, throw the wet clothes (and even the diapers) into wet bags like these ones from Planetwise. It just goes into the laundry when you get home. I recommend 2 so you can use one for diapers and one for everything else. If you do bring a plastic bag, use it for collecting trash on the beach.

2. Reusable Water Bottles

Easy, money-saving, and will help keep water clean. My favorites are Lifefactory and Liberty Bottleworks. My kid loves his little Contigo bottle.

eco-friendly beach day with toddlers

3. Hats and Sun Shirts

We all need cover from the sun, but slow down your use of sunscreen by covering what you can with hats and shirts instead of giant globs of sunscreen. We usually buy all of this used at the consignment store or Thred Up, because there are tons there. Especially when they are little, these things get one summer of use, so you can find them as good as new.  Bring the sunscreen too, obviously.

4. Reusable Swim Diapers

Even if you aren't generally a reusable diaper family, reusable swim diapers might be a great choice. You just get two per tiny person, and you can switch them out. If you are nervous about it, you can get a size larger and put a normal diaper underneath. Brands that do them are- Thirsties, Smart Bottoms, and  Blueberry.

playing on the beach at sunset

5. A Change of Clothes

I pack one for each kid and have a back-up set in the car trunk as well. Because toddlers should get to make a mess. We also have a change in the car, because grown-ups should be allowed to make a mess of themselves too.

6. Umbrella for shade (if needed- trees also work for this) and Towels to Stay Dry

These are basic, but no one wants to forget them. Eco-families need towels too. If you need to buy them, check out Big Ass Towels, which have a cheeky (get it? I'll be here all night) name, but great and American-made towels. Otherwise, my suggestion is to always bring as little as you can, because we all schlep that stuff and don't use it.
re-play snack container
from Amazon

7. Healthy Snacks in Reusable Containers (no Insta-garbage!)

Just leave the pouches on the shelf at the store. Pack a few small oranges or cut up fruit or whatever treats you all love into a snack container (we swear by these stackable ones from Re-Play). Reusable sandwich bags also work really well for things like crackers. If you want your grandchildren to enjoy the beach the same as you are today, you need to stop using disposable plastic, because it is drowning out our oceans.

beach day with toddler at sunset

8. A Beach Toy of Two (Not Six or Ten)

A few cups and a shovel can really do the trick. We all know you bring a kid ten toys and they are going to play with a stick the whole time, so do yourself and the Earth a favor and think small and simple. Those plastic toys will be in landfills and water long after all of us are gone, so we want to avoid that heap. If you aren't a huge beach goer (maybe going on vacation?) check with friends for things to borrow.  Instead of buying new , check consignment stores for things that would work as a bucket or shovel. A consignment dump truck can be a lot of fun too. If you can't find much secondhand, I highly recommend Green Toys beach sets. Recycled plastic for the win!

9. Sandals

Again, if you have kids, find your closest consignment store to save money. We bought our son a pair of Keen sandals, and I definitely recommend this brand (find them used and save like 30 bucks). So ugly, but they really stand up to toddler craziness (so you can pass them on to another kid when you are done).

reuse a tablecloth as a beach blanket

10. An Old Tablecloth to Sit On

I got this genius idea from my mom (who lives in Hawaii, so lots of beach experience). Instead of going and buying a new blanket or towel, just use a retired tablecloth or even shower curtain as your beach blanket. It give a retired item a second life and it works better than anything else we've done. Re-use!

Everything you need for an eco-friendly beach day with your little ones

Have a great time at the beach! And if you need more shopping inspiration, check out the Giant List of Shopping Lists!

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  1. A wet bag is the thing I would forget and then I'd be like ugghhh when it's time to get changed...and I'd have no good place to put the swimsuits. Good tips!

  2. This is so timely because I'm planning to bring my little one to the beach in July for the first time. I prefer disposable swim diapers though but I'm still thinking about it. Thanks for the tips!

  3. The last time I went to the beach it was a nightmare! With a baby and a toddler I felt like I packed half the house, dragged it to the beach, set up, ate, packed all back and dragged it back to the car. Lol Thanks for the list. I think next time I'll take your tips anddowngrade so it's not so stressful.

  4. wet bags are so handy!i adore mine

  5. I love this! We get so into our own world that we forget that everything we do and buy makes an impact on the world we share!

  6. I use too many plastic bags, the really small ones that only fit a couple of sandwiches. It's so unnecessary. Why can't I just put the sandwiches in a lunch box..?



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