Child’s beach bag can help contain beach toy clutter

On a recent trip to the beach I passed the time by watching people lug their stuff to and from the beach. Many people had a surprisingly trim assortment of gear for their beach visit, but a lot of people (most with children in tow) had tons of stuff that they hulled through the sand and sun.

The most obvious culprit were children’s toys. Out of all the beach and water toys the Water Noodle was the absolute worst offender. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Water Noodle, it is a foam polymer log that floats in the water. They are roughly five feet long and are unforgiving when it comes to storage and transportation.

I watched a beach dad struggle while unloading his SUV. The poor guy looked like he was wrestling an octopus. He ended up throwing the noodles on the ground as he unpacked his cooler, umbrella, chairs, and beach cart. The whole process was painstakingly slow and he still had to lumber to the beach. The guy ended up near me on the beach and his kids never even touched the Water Noodles. They were too busy digging a hole to China.

Buckets were next on the list. I think buckets out numbered children by 3-to-1. Yeah, they are a necessity for children at the beach, but try to keep the number of buckets to one per kid.

Limit the kid’s toys to what they can carry in their own, relatively small, beach bag. It gives the child a choice of what to bring, but it also limits how much they can bring. Having the child carry their own toys lets them help out and it saves your back from strain.

7 Comments for “Child’s beach bag can help contain beach toy clutter”

  1. posted by Mark on

    The poster is absolutely spot-on. Our four year old carries her own toys to the beach. My wife and I carry the other kid (1yo) plus chairs and blankets and the bag o’ food’n’drink but she carries her own toys.

    She’s already figured out that the more she puts in the basket while we’re at the house, then the harder it will be to carry when we’re at the beach. That’s an excellent lesson in cause/effect or delayed consequences, or whatever. It doesn’t matter because she gets it.

    I disagree on the buckets. Three is just about the right number for a beach excursion. If you’ve got two kids you don’t need six. But they need one or two for bringing water from the ocean and another for sand. Just make sure the buckets all nest together.

  2. posted by Mary Jo Rulnick on

    Back packs/bookbags are great carryalls for the kids to use at the beach–better than beach bags. Back packs are easier to lug to and from the beach and leave the hands free. Buckets can be hooked onto the side of the bag. Additional toys (shovels, small cars and so forth), towels, tee shirts and such can be tucked into the bag itself. We like the backpacks that are made from parachute fabric–lighter and can stand up to multiple washings.

  3. posted by Denise on

    I think this is a great idea!!! And not just for the beach!

  4. posted by Kris on

    We learned this lesson the hard way many years ago. Now we go to the beach with fold up chairs for the adults, one towel per person (the smaller kids share ours with us) and one bucket. Shells make fabulous digging implements, as do empty cups. I also agree with the other poster about the kids carrying their own stuff. We actually were lucky this year. We vacation ocean front so only had to walk a few dozen yards to the water. There were days when my 5 year old and I just brought one towel, a drink for each of us, and one bucket. And stayed for hours.

  5. posted by Andrea on

    Along with the One Bag of Toys rule, another trick my mother used to limit what I’d bring to the beach was the Put It Away Yourself When You Get Home rule. After lugging toys I didn’t play with, and then having to put them away immediately upon returning home, I lost interest in packing beach toys.

  6. posted by Josh on

    “[Water noodles are] roughly five feet long and are unforgiving when it comes to storage and transportation.”

    True, but they make awesome quarterstaves when you want to bop somebody on the head.

  7. posted by Anonymous on

    I purchased a small red plastic mini-wagon from Target one day and now we put the buckets and shovels and such in that. My 4.5 yr old is responsible for pulling that wagon, while I carry a bag with our snacks and towels and my cheapo $10 beach chair. The wagon’s handle is the perfect height for him and it rolls on the sand and across the street, etc… Ideal!

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