Monday, July 9, 2018

Summertime: Backyard Beach/Pool Party

What is the big kick-off for your summer?  Do you have any special routines or traditions?  As my kiddos were growing up summer always burst into action with birthdays.  Three to be exact.  We rarely had individual parties, except for the milestones, and at one point we would have a mid-month group party geared more towards summer kick-off than birthday (though cake was always on the menu).

These non-birthday-birthday parties varied in themes, usually involved ice-cream and cake food fights (mandatory outside) and it wasn't uncommon to find water-guns or water-balloons introduced at some point in the day's festivities.

As summer waxed on I loved finding ways to get creative with water-time activities, especially on those scorching days.  We lived by a large freshwater lake so, home pool days needed something of an appeal to make the hard sell over beach-side wanderings.  Whether the backyard adventures involved just us or the whole neighborhood, I always tried to make the activities fun and memorable.

The Pool Part of a Pool Party
Some years we had a kiddie pool and, with how hard my ADHD daughter wore on 'toys', it was usually a different pool each year... from your run-of-the-mill pre-molded plastic one to the typical roll-up collapsible sided vinyl kind.  One year we were even blessed with a blow-up "Lagoon" complete with built-in slide and water features (thank you grandma and grandpa!!).  Whatever size and shape our watering hole was, there were staples which went with pool/beach party adventure days:
  • buckets and water toys exclusive to 'pool' time
  • beach towels specifically for pooling around!
  • pan of water to rinse feet prior to pool entry to keep water clean (it held out for a while anyway!)
  • special pool time snacks
  • ice cold lemonade
  • floaties (which work great even in only 15" of water!)
It isn't to say that some days were probably your average 'kids in the pool' with nothing spectacular outside of the expected squeals and splashing... but having special pool-side traditions made it feel like more than a 15" deep excursion into the back yard... no, it felt more like a resort get-away and no one ever wanted to leave the water's edge when the day wore down!

Non-pool Water Fun
Whether you can't get/don't want a kiddie pool there are water-fun alternatives... we have tried many:
  • The slip-n-slide, home-made or store bought is loaded with potential fun!  For homemade; remember the sprinkler and try some baby oil on the plastic to get everyone sliding better.
  • Water guns or water cannons and a bucket of water or hose to keep them filled (the Dollar Store has some great suck-and-soak 'guns'[like water cannons] my kids still love to play with... and most of them are adults now!!)
  • Water balloons, you can fill and place in a Rubbermaid container or laundry basket and surprise the kids with!  A quick Internet search can provide a plethora of game ideas for these slippery buggers!
  • A good ole-fashioned sprinkler can provide hours of fun (while watering the lawn!!!) and just like the water balloons, a host of sprinkler games are out there for the discovering!
  • Never under-estimate the power of a bucket or Rubbermaid bin filled with water!!!  When we were staying with my mother-in-law prior to heading into missions work, my kids used an old toy bucket and clean plastic containers out of the recycle bin to have water fights and build habitats for their plastic animal toys!!

When you don't have a backyard...
For the apartment or non-yard dweller, do you have a patio or porch?  Small scale water fun can be had on these.  Also, bathtub and kitchens can host water-table type play.  Many cities are setting up free public wading pools and sprinkler parks, you can check out some of these as well.  You can also talk to a friend or family member about a weekly water play-date using their yard (if they have one) to host... offer to bring the treats and supplies!

When the "Party" is Over...
Keep the hose handy, don't be afraid of mud and simply enforce a firm rule that anyone covered in anything other than water must not only try to dry off before coming inside but must also be properly rinsed of non-water objects (ie grass, mud and such). 
*Don't forget the sunscreen and beach hats as well.  It may be a back yard but those UVs will still get ya!!

I would love to hear your ideas for Backyard Beach/Pool "Parties".  Hopefully you caught last week's article on Adventuring a.k.a. Staycationing All Summer Long (link in text).  It kicked off a basic overview of this concept of "Stay-cationing" for an entire summer.  Today's DIVE into pools is part of that series!

I hope your summer has some fun wet and wild moments.  Make memories right where you are, share the excitement and I believe your kids will learn to love these little moments as much as any big ones you could whisk them away on!


By the way.....

*Are you subscribed to my newsletter?  You might want to be.  Plans are in the works for some GREAT bonus material to be included starting soon!  Not to mention the articles on Faith, Home, and Homeschooling you won't even find on the blog!  It's Ok, hop over real quick, right there to your right, see it on my sidebar where it says, "Subscribe to my Newsletter"?  Ok, now enter your email in the box labeled "email address" then click "Subscribe"....(don't worry, it doesn't hurt and I promise not to spam you!).  Entering your email will do 2 awesome things:

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#2 - It enters you into a drawing for a GREAT prize bundle I will be giving away at the end of the summer (details to come)

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