make-believe: building sandcastles.

June 15, 2017

When the truly hot weather hits (and it has), sometimes the only thing to do is brave the long subway ride to the beach. We’re dreaming up a breezy little Father’s Day trip oceanside. The make-believe element of this post is mostly relegated to the imaginary scenario of there being such a thing as an effortless day on the beach. In make-believe no one gets sunscreen in their eyes, or face plants into the sand, or drops prized berries into a freshly dug sandcastle moat. In make-believe everyone keeps their sunhat fastened all day long, parents keep their general cool, and there, on the horizon, comes a friendly fellow to refill your glasses of lemonade. In reality, we’re ready to go with our kiddo rash guards and swimsuits, our still mostly fitting sun hats, and a healthy dose of realism about how the adventure might unfold.

Here, a few favorite beach things, make-believe or otherwise:

A classic rashguard for a big kid, and another for a tinier one

A sweet sunhat for one kid and a denim one for the other.

A reusable swim diaper for the tiniest member of the family.

A set of shovels to dig with.

A collapsible (!) bucket for endless trips to get more water.

Very pretty towels for lounging.

A sturdy tote for hauling everything.


Action Items:

In an effort to ground all of this make-believing in something a bit more down to earth, here are a few things we can do today to help the oceans and each other:

+ For clean beaches: Pick up trash. Join Surfrider Foundation in their dedicated effort to protect and preserve oceans and beaches. The national nonprofit focuses on five main areas: beach access, clean water, coastal preservation, ocean protection, and educating/working with the public to reduce plastic pollution of beaches. Join a local chapter, or start your own! For local folks, Package Free Shop has teamed up with Surfrider Foundation for a clean up trip to Rockaway Beach this Saturday (6/17) in celebration of International Surf Day. More info right this way.

+ For safe swimming: Take swimming lessons. The Swim Strong Foundation’s mission is “to save and change lives through water safety education and teaching swimming skills.” They offer affordable swimming lessons and provide financial assistance to those who need it in order to teach children and adults alike basic swimming skills and water safety. This organization aims to both decrease rates of drowning and to foster a love of swimming. Death by drowning is currently the second leading cause of death for children. Due to systemic racism and historic barring from public water access, African American children drown at a rate three times higher than any other demographic.

+ For clean water: Go topless. The More Ocean, Less Plastic initiative from 5 Gyres Institute runs a #topless4oceans challenge, encouraging consumers/coffee shop regulars to order coffee without the plastic lid, or better yet bring a reusable cup. This is part of their larger #foamfree campaign that takes action at the state level against the use polystyrene products, including plastic coffee cup lids and other styrofoam products. Take a look at the 5 Gyres Institute Action Guide to start the process of banning polystyrene in your school or community.

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  • Reply Of Ashes & Bones June 15, 2017 at 10:05 am

    Gosh. Love this. I don’t remember the last time we play with the sand.

  • Reply Suzanne June 15, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    My husband just ordered those rash guards for our boys last night. I never wore rash guards as a kid, so the idea is a little strange for me. Long sleeves? What? BUT I am more than thrilled to have fewer places to apply sunscreen on their wiggly little bodies. Love the folding sand bucket!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 15, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Same here! Such an easy and effective way to stay protected from the sun! (And for little guys who get chilly in the water quickly, the extra layer helps there a bit too!)

  • Reply Alix June 15, 2017 at 5:25 pm

    The trouble with canvas bags is that I can’t justify buying all the ones I want…

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 15, 2017 at 5:42 pm


  • Reply Ann June 15, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Sand buckets are ridiculous. But how is this in the game? Easy and convenient for the baby?

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE June 16, 2017 at 10:19 am

      I think something might be getting lost in translation here! Not much better than building a sandcastle, I think, and a bucket sure helps the process. We have a little tin pail that we love, but I spotted this clever collapsible one and decided to share! Helpful for storage and toting to the beach on the subway!

  • Reply meredith June 16, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Another company to add to Action Items: !
    Just discovered them, as I’m currently living on the Canary Islands and this is where they’re based. They organize beach cleanups and are trying to develop a completely plastic free reusable coffee cups! I’m interested in following them and seeing what they can do
    As always, a huge fan of yours and all you share!

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