The Magical Pull of the Pool How to Take the Experience up a Notch
It’s no secret kids love water. When the summer heat waves peak, kids in bright bathing suits charge through sprinklers, shoot down hose-powered Slip ‘N Slides, and take turns perfecting their cannonballs at the neighborhood pool. This affinity for water is particularly powerful when they’re small; the single word “pool” can inspire them to eat broccoli or even clean up their rooms. But what makes the water so alluring? Susan Brown, an assistant director and parent educator at Commonwealth Parenting, has a theory. “I like to think of children’s fingers as if there are little brains on the tip of each finger,” Brown wrote in an article for Community Idea Stations. “When these little brains get stimulated through play, neurons begin to fire. This firing of neurons excites the brain, causing it to grow bigger, stronger, and more facile, setting the brain up for higher levels of cognition. One of the simplest ways to provide sensory play is through water activities.” In other words, kids love water because splashing around in it is literally helping their brains grow. For busy parents, this is a blessing: Letting the kids loose at the pool under the eye of an experienced lifeguard can be an ideal way to keep the summer fun rolling for kids and adults alike. Follow the tips below to enrich the pool experience for your kids and get those neurons firing. Splashtastic Pool Toys If your kids are old enough for regular pool visits, it’s a good bet you already have a pile of perpetually damp inner tubes and pool noodles in your garage. Still, if you want to cement your “cool parent” status, try upping your pool toy game. The options are endless:
their friends, offer up some s’mores, and you’re guaranteed extra “cool” points.
Sea-SawWater Rockers, Boat House Floating Habitats, underwater diving sticks, and many others. Stop by your local big box store or visit Amazon.com to browse the bounty. Games for All Occasions Once you’re fully stocked with pool toys, the next step is to make swim time competitive. Water sports equipment, like floating basketball hoops and volleyball nets, can keep kids occupied for hours, and brave parents can even snag waterborne trampolines or Starfighter Super Squirters — inflatable command posts that seat one kid each, complete with squirt guns — which are perfect for aquatic squirt gun battles. Just be sure to keep your distance from the pool, or else you’re likely to get soaked, too. Make It a Party If you’re lucky enough to have a backyard or neighborhood pool, all it takes is a pack of brats on the grill, a huge bowl of sliced watermelon, and a few neighbors in attendance to turn a simple pool visit into a summer extravaganza. Let your kids invite
Join the Fun The younger your kids are, the more they’ll want you to jump in the pool with them. Not only is swimming together an excellent bonding experience, but it’s also the perfect way to cool off and stay in shape for the summer. Take to the Road In the mind of an 8-year-old, the only thing better than a trip to the pool is a vacation to the beach or trip to the waterpark. While this option requires more investment than buying a handful of pool toys, it comes with significant upsides: Beaches and waterparks cater to all age groups, and the memories you make will last for years to come.
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