Planning summer activities for the grandkids is easy when you have a pool. Whether you’re entertaining a preteen who just wants to use the tanning ledge and read Seventeen between text messages or a six-year-old who never seems to tire, pools provide endless fun. Here are some ideas to take an afternoon of swimming to the next level.
Pool Toys and Crafts
Kids love a good hands-on activity that feeds creativity. There are hundreds of uses for pool noodles, from making race-worthy seahorses to light sabers and homemade lounge chairs. As an extra special surprise for the little ones, purchase a kiddie pool and fill it with sand (either purchased online or at a local home improvement store) and let their imaginations run wild on the “beach.” Host a contest with different prize categories for sand castles or sea turtles—or have them bury each other from the neck down. This is a great way to pass the time outdoors during swim breaks while also giving the adults a moment to make lunch without being on lifeguard duty. Just don’t forget to reapply sunscreen!
Games and Activities
When pool toys get old, encourage your grandchildren to get creative with old-fashioned water games like Marco Polo or mermaid racing. Not only are they a great source of exercise, but they also provide hours of fun.
Fill several empty two-liter plastic soda bottles with water and send the kids on a hunt to find them at the bottom of the pool. Purchase a volleyball net or floating basketball hoop for the sports-lovers in your family. Provided the pool is large enough to avoid dangerous falls, team up and play a game of chicken.
Bonus points if the adults act as horses for a friendly jousting match complete with pool noodles. You can even turn regular household items into an underwater scavenger hunt. Despite your preparedness, your grandkids will likely create their own games as the day goes on; the important thing is that you encourage their creativity and go with the flow (pun intended).
While slides and diving boards are being phased out within the industry due to safety concerns, there are still plenty of pool features that make for a good time. If you’re in the process of building a pool, consider adding a waterfall the kids can play under for hours. Grottos are excellent for imaginary games of pirates or cave-dwelling mermaids.
You could also buy floating fountains or install permanent ones that flow into the pool to serve as natural obstacles the kids can race around. Night swimming is all the more fun with colorful lights and water features; however, you can always go the Do-It-Yourself route by placing glow sticks inside inflated balloons or beach balls.
Chances are, your house is already the favorite among grandchildren if you own a pool. All they really need are a few snacks and several hours of splashing around in the sunshine. But it doesn’t hurt to guide play time with inventive activities and games. As a grandparent, you want to see them exercise physically but also mentally. You can help by creating a new game each time they visit. Before long, they’ll develop poolside traditions to enjoy for years to come.