When my daughter was five months old, my husband and I took her on a beach vacation. We had no problem lounging around with her on the beach and by the pool – she just chilled a lot in her car seat.
However, before a more recent beach vacation, I wondered how my husband and I would be able to keep our daughter, now a walking toddler that doesn’t like to be cooped up, contained by the beach or pool (a lucky problem to have, I know).
The solution that is today’s hint came to me poolside. Basically, my husband and I created a little play space between two lounge chairs. We blocked off the exit area at each end of the chairs with little tables, beach bags and the inflatable Munchkin toddler tub we brought along with us (we had envisioned that it would make a nice beach or pool playpen so we packed it along for our trip).
And to keep my daughter occupied and distracted away from the exits, we put a bunch of beach toys, a ball, water bottles and other such items throughout the play space.
The method worked like a charm and we were able to relax by the pool for a good few hours during our trip (with some time, of course, for her to toddle around the pool every now and then).
To be sure, this method won’t work for every kid (older toddlers could just move the barriers). We also probably were helped by the fact that, to our surprise, our daughter didn’t like being in the pool and preferred her play spot over getting wet. If this lounge chair trick doesn’t work for you, other DIY vacation playpen ideas include transforming an inflatable pool (Baby Center likes this method), row boat, toddler tub or pedicure tub into a playpen of sorts; opting for a beach tent (blogger Julie Seguss recommends this); bringing a pack-n-play poolside (and you could modify it with this idea from the site ParentHacks); or creating your own playpen out of sand.
What are your tricks for mixing vacation lounging with kids that can’t sit still?