Wednesday, September 5, 2012

toddler activities: kiddie pools

After owning a kiddie pool for over a year and seeing some of the wonderful and hilarious things that can come from it, I think this makes the cut for fantastic toys to own.

This fall and winter I'm hoping to explore some different ways to use kiddie pools, especially indoors. But it's just barely after Labor Day, I don't even want to think about the weather getting colder. So today I'm going to list some of my ideas on having good ol' water splash and play with toddlers.

#1: Bag up everything you need and bring it outside. I get a big canvas bag and fill it with our pool toys, sunscreen, snacks, lunch, water, and towels. Makes set up and clean up much easier.

#2: Involve the kids from start to finish. Genghis loves helping set up the pool, turn on the water, choose toys to take out to the pool, and dump the water out at the end. I usually don't like activities where I have to do set up and clean up by myself, because then I spend more time managing the activity than enjoying it.

#3: Get in the water, too. I've noticed a huge difference in how Genghis plays with the water and how long he plays in it when I get in with him.

#4: Use bowls and balls. Our pool toys mostly consist of Genghis' colorful plastic bowls, a few large tupperware, and an assortment of balls. We have a few squirting fish and squeaking sharks. Water is a great medium for moving, dumping, swirling, and floating - you don't need a lot of other stuff.

#5: Dish soap bubbles. Squirt some dish soap into the streaming hose to make great bubbles. I suggest holding your thumb over the hose so the water comes out harder, which makes more foaming bubbles.

#6: Invest in a big-ish pool. I have an inflatable pool about 5 feet in diameter. It cost less than $20. I love having the extra room in the pool, and the inflatable sides turn out to be really fun for bouncing plastic sharks or people.

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