The warm weather is finally here, and for a West-Coaster that means that there is more sun in the forecast than rain. My boys love being outside. We are very fortunate to live in a place where we can easily walk to, or are within a short drive of the beach or lake. Since my boys love the outdoors so much I have learned that it is important to equip them with gear that helps them explore while protecting them from the elements.
Little Feet: When you live on the West Coast you don’t have the typical sandy beaches that I grew-up with on North and South Carolina. Instead you have rocks, crushed shells, barnacles, and oh the seaweed. As a result of this my first summers as a Mom with a toddler, I bought slip on water shoes, thinking this will work fine. However, I quickly had to replace them because they didn’t withstand the use (daily) and conditions (salt water, stepping on barnacles, scaling rocks). After what seemed to be a small fortune in footwear I decided that the next year I would find a more sustainable shoe. My two on the go-to shoes for my boys have been Keen Footwear and Kamik Shoes. Keen carries a variety of shoes, from runners, boots, slip-ons, to sandals. The Keen sandals that we got Big Man are the Little Kids’ Newport H2. I love that these are easy to get on-and-off (on his own), machine washable, are durable, and dry quickly. The Kamik Sandals that Little Man has are the Crab Sandal. Both of these shoes have been fabulous! They have survived the summer and are currently surviving their second owner (they lasted through big brother so now little brother is taking them for a spin). I realize that these brands can be expensive but what I have learned is they can last through multiple kids. So if you cannot pass them down to the next kiddo, they often hold their value for you to sell, or are in good condition to find second-hand from a consignment shop.
Little Heads: Getting Big Man to wear a hat when he was little was like some type of American Ninja Warrior for toddlers. By the time you wrestled the hat on him, he found a way to take it off and usually hide it. Now he wears his hats with no problem because he is 5 and hats are cool. Litteman so far likes hats. However, when we are out in the sun I wanted something a little more protective as he has super light hair and wrestling sunscreen onto his face is like giving a cat a bath. I had a friend recommend Sunday Afternoon Sun Hats and I LOVE THEM! The carry a variety of styles. The one that we have is the Kids Play Hat. It is great because it can adjust to his head size, has a breakaway chin strap, is UPF50+ Certified Sun Rating, and water-repellent. It stays on well and grows with him, plus again holds it value if I want to consign it. They have a variety of other hat styles as well according to your fashion needs.
Sunscreen: Now there a million debates about sunscreen. We did not use sunscreen on our boys till they were over a year old. Even then I was very picky and limited on what I would use. Our Little Man has super sensitive skin so we used a lot of different types. Here are a few of the brands we liked as well as the current one we are using:
- Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection (Sensitive Skin)
- Badger Baby Sunscreen
- Banana Boat Simply Protect Kids Sunscreen * Spray
- Think Baby
Swimsuits: There isn’t much special about my son’s swim trunks and rash guards. However, there are a lot of awesome companies out there that make some great swimsuits sets. Here a are a few local favorites:
Wheat Kids Clothing: All of their swimwear collection is UPF50+. A great range of suits, rashguards, and more. Also a Canadian company.
Little Man does have a one piece zip-up rashguard. This has become something we loved for him because it means less sand getting inside his diaper as well as not having to make sure that the rash guard and shorts are always covering every inch of him. The One-piece suit we have is by the company Level Six that we found at MEC last summer.
Swim-diapers: Now I use disposal diapers. I tried cloth and it wasn’t for me. When it comes to swimming in the great outdoors I decided to try reusable swim diapers. We have used both a Charlie Banana and GroVia Swim Diaper both of which I loved. I never had any problems with either diaper. To be totally honest I never used them in the swimming pool, I only used disposable swim diapers. This isn’t a reflection on these products at all, it is simply because I am paranoid of the “What If” and I am not the biggest swimming pool fan…lets just say bad childhood experience. Needless to say for our family constantly being at the beach they are a great product.
We love being out in nature and these are some of the products that we use (wear) on a daily basis all summer long.