Have fun on the beach but remember to keep safe

 Time on the beach – with the kids running through the sand and swimming and snorkeling – is always an entertaining day out.

Soothing sea breezes and a relaxing stroll along the water’s edge are ideal ways to relax and enjoy a break at the weekend.

Children rarely stay sitting for long, go prepared with a small stash of beach-friendly toys, protective gear and first aid kit.

Once they have tired of swimming and had a snack/lunch, your children may want to try out some slightly more structured play – so let the games begin!

The following are a few toys and activities, some you can arrange on the spot and others you can bring along (check out local book and toy stores for good finds):

Games and activities
Beach Darts – Bring small hand held bean bags for each player. Then, using a stick or a spade, draw a giant dartboard in the sand. Simply toss to play and keep score in the sand.

Fly a kite – This is best done off a long dock and is a wonderfully relaxing way of having fun for both children and adults.

Hunt for buried treasure – Bury a draw-string bag or a toy ‘treasure chest’ with fake gold doubloons and pirate treasure. Draw a treasure map with landmarks and an X marks the spot for some scavenging fun. The winner gets a treat.

Water squirt ball – Bring along several heavy-duty water guns and a beach ball for a game or two of water squirt ball.

Boogie boards – These short and colourful boards are a great way to catch a wave close to the shore.

Sandcastle building contest – Split into two teams and decorate with shells you’ve brought from home. The best looking castle wins.

Sun protection
Even on the cloudiest days put on sun screen choose a brand that provides both UVA and UVB protection and has a minimum of SPF 15. Slap on sunscreen containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide which block the sun’s rays for youngsters with very sensitive skins.

For optimum protection, apply sun block at least half an hour before hitting the beach. Reapply liberally every two hours or more often if they are sweating heavily or swimming.

Limit sun exposure when the sun is at its strongest from midday to 4pm by covering up with protective gear including a rash top, a broad brimmed hat and get your children to wear sunglasses from a young age, their eyes also need protection from the sun with UVA/UVB sunglasses.

Easy breezy First Aid kit
Cuts and scrapes can happen on the beach, so go prepared with the bare essentials. You should only take as much as you can fit into a waterproof zip locked quart freezer bag. A capsule kit should include:

Bandana (can double up as a bandage or a sling).

Small tube of hand sanitiser

Ibuprofen painkillers with anti-inflammatory and fever reducing properties

Band aids (minor cuts and scrapes)

4 x 4 gauze pads (minor cuts and scrapes)

Tweezers to remove splinters and sea urchin quills

Travel pack of antiseptic wipes for cuts and grazes

Gauze roll (minor cuts and scrapes)

Antibiotic ointment (minor cuts and scrapes).