Hawai‘i Parent Hacks: 10 Tips and Tricks for the Beach and Outdoor Adventures

Quick fixes for sandy feet, broken slippers and a DIY campfire starter made from items you have at home.


Playing in the sand is fun. Cleaning it out of your car, house and carpet is not. Photo: Karen DB Photography


As the school year ends, keiki are looking forward to lazy beach days and outdoor and camping adventures. Parents have to pack and unpack all the gear, keep babies from eating sand, fix broken slippers, start campfires and work their magic to make mosquito bites stop itching. So, we found 10 tips and tricks to help you do all that and more.


What exactly is a hack? We define it as a quick trick that easily solves a problem or speeds up a process. Check out our 22 food and cooking hacks  and 13 hacks for your home.


SEE ALSO: The Beach Towels From This Hawai‘i Surfer Brand Are Perfect Gifts for the Outdoor Adventurers in Your Life


Photo: Jennifer Carlile Dalgamouni


1. Remove sand easily

We love the beach, but that doesn’t mean we want to bring it home with us. Get sticky sand off of hands, feet and legs easily with baby powder. Brush off what you can, then shake a light coating of baby powder on the sandy spots and wipe the rest of the graims away with ease. Cornstarch will also work. The powder dries up the sand and stops it from sticking.


2. Collect shells, not sand

Kids love to dump handfuls of sandy shells into their parents’ hands with instructions to keep them forever. Keep a small, mesh laundry bag with a zipper handy and it’ll hold the shells but let the sand fall through. Or get creative and make a shell collector’s bag.


3. Make a sand-free blanket box

Bring a fitted sheet to the beach. Stretch it out, place coolers or other heavy items in the four corners and pull the sheet up around them. Sand is sneaky, but this will stop a lot from getting blown or kicked inside if you want to keep a little one clean. See how it’s done here.


Save bread clips for quick slipper fixes. Photo: Jennifer Carlile Dalgamouni


4. Fix a broken slipper

Save your bread clips. Next time a strap breaks, push the base of the slipper strap back through the sole and secure it by slipping a bread tag in between the base of the slipper strap and the sole. See a detailed explanation here.

5. Keep track of your footwear

If the beach seems to have a way of eating your family’s slippers and Crocs like it does ours, try keeping a carabiner hook or two on your beach bag. When keiki kick off their footwear, just clip them on for hands-free peace of mind.


6. Jump start a campfire three ways

Ready to make s’mores but realize you forgot fire starters? Use items from your house or campsite.

  • Potato or corn chips. Start with a few and light the ends. If they burn too quickly add more. Avoid chips covered in powdered flavoring as they catch fire too quickly.
  • Peel an orange and let the peel dry out for a few hours. Then, stack it, light it and watch the citrus oils burn.
  • Wrap dryer lint up in a fabric softener sheet and stuff inside an empty toilet paper roll. Make sure a little fabric sticks out to use as a fuse. Watch a video on these methods and more here.


SEE ALSO: Myths vs. Truths of treating jellyfish stings

7. Stop mosquito bites from itching

Put a little toothpaste on the bite. Ingredients including menthol and baking soda will help ease inflammation and prevent itching.


8. Kill mosquitoes

The only thing better than stopping mosquito bites from itching? Kill them before they bite. Hack a trap with a two-liter bottle, warm water, brown sugar and some yeast. See how it’s done here.


More Outdoor Tips and Tricks

9. Keep cool

Cut up sponges and use thick yarn needles to sew them into lei. Soak them in water and wear to keep cool. See how it’s done here.


10. Create free, frozen fun

For cooling backyard fun, take your kids toys – tiny dinosaurs or animal figurines work well—and freeze them. Toss them into a container to make a big block of ice or freeze toys individually in water balloons, then peel off the balloons so youʻre left with egg-shaped ice cubes. Give the keiki toy tools and they’ll have fun trying to crack them out. You can even add food coloring if you’re not afraid of stains. See what they look like here.