8 Great Fun in the Sun Essentials

Summer Survival Guide

When my kids were a little younger, they were afraid of the big waves and sea monsters in the water. They were content to quietly collect shells and make castles with their buckets in the sand, which was fine with me. I actually got to sit down and breathe the sea air once in a while!

Now that my son is older, he craves action. And danger. The minute we hit the sand, he's making a bee line for the current, while I'm trying to suppress my heart attack. He's not a great swimmer, and you hear so many stories ...

Anyway, I feel the need to bring along some quieter (ah, safer) forms of entertainment, so I might actually survive the trip.

After combing the planet for tons of toys and gear (and playing with them, yay!), the other bloggers and I compiled these Daily Buzz 8 Great Fun in the Sun Essentials for big kids on the beach ...


1. Game towels Not as exciting as 10 foot waves, but all kids love checkers, tic-tac-toe and Twister! The towels printed with classic board games ($15 each or 3 for $10 each) come with lightweight waterproof game pieces inside a mesh bag.

2. Underwater telescope. The 4x magnification scope ($28) is waterproof, but your kids don't even have to get wet if they don't want to. Just aim the telescope lens at the creepy crawly a few inches away above the surf. For kids ages 6+.

3. Chairs CafeMoms said in a poll they bring at least two adult chairs, and they don't want anything fancy -- just something lightweight and easy to carry. Brookstone sells two lightweight, quick drying mesh chairs that each folds up into a shoulder carrying bag for $50.

4. Water shoes Lightweight, flexible, non-slip shoes by One Step Ahead ($13) come in Toddler and Youth sizes up to size 13.

For a lighter alternative, try non-slip, SPF 50 surf socks, also available at One Step Ahead ($10)

5. Sand-proof bag The Sand Away Beach Bag ($15) has room for all your kids' game towels as well as a football or Frisbee. It has a built in security pocket for your wallet and keys. At the end of the day, effortlessly shake the sand out and fold into a pocket-size pouch.

6. Squirt toys What's a day at the beach without a good water fight? Kids of all ages love squirt toys, but almost half of all moms prefer their kids play with the non-pistol shaped kind. The Max Liquidator ($13 for the larger size) is a pool noodle fashioned as a suction device that shoots water.

7. Sun umbrella The SportBrella was a little tricky to get up and carry, but we loved the coverage once we got the hang of it. Set it up vertically like a regular umbrella, or tip it on it's side to work more like a tent. Very durable, the umbrella is coated with SPF 50 to protect against all those nasty UVA and UVB rays. Selling now for $60 with free shipping.

8. SPF clothing Most people don't put on nearly enough sunblock for proper protection -- and kids will probably do an even worse job. Play it safe with swim attire infused with SPF 50, such as these shirt and shorts combos from Cabana Life ($60). Sizes from infants to boys and girls age 7.

Got toddlers? Check out the Daily Buzz's Top 10 Beach Essentials for younger kids.

What does your Big Kid insist on bringing to the beach?

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