With this boiling hot weather we are having at the mo (believe me, I am definitely not complaining!) it can be difficult to keep the little ones cool so I thought I’d dedicate this blog post to some of my favourite water play ideas.
1. Splash parks and outdoor swimming
Love them or hate them I don’t think any parent will make it through the summer without having to hit a splash park at some point so here’s my round up of the ones in the area:
Letchworth paddling pool, Howard park and gardens, Norton Way South I love this place and now my daughter is happy to stay wet for more than a few minutes we happily while away many a day here! The paddling pool is deep enough for the kids to splash about and sit in but not deep enough to need any kind of flotation and there are loads of water jets of different heights and sizes. Although this paddling pool does get really busy in the holidays it’s so large and spacious that you can always find plenty of room. There’s also a really shallow area down one end for really little ones that seems to stay fairly quiet. One slight word of caution is that although the grass area around the paddling Is large there are busy roads at the edge of the park so if you have wayward toddlers that like to charge off then you really need to keep a close eye on them here! At this park there is also a lovely play area with sand pit, a cafe and toilets so you really can pitch up and spend the whole day here.
Baldock splash park, Avenue Park, West Avenue this is a lovely little splash park and rarely seems to be too busy, loads of splashing jets and buckets that pour down on the kids! Parents beware – if you think you are happily standing on the edge of the splash zone watching your little one watch out you may be about to get soaked too! There are quite a few jets all around shooting at random intervals so if the ground looks wet and you don’t want to be then move back!!! There’s a large grassy area around the water for sitting and a nice playground including really large sandpit.
Fairlands Valley splash park, Stevenage. This is quite a big splash park and it is all fenced and gated in so very handy for keeping those little ones really safe but in the summer holidays I do usually find it very busy with older children so not always great for very little ones. There’s also not very much space for sitting on the grass within the fenced area. Fairlands valley as a whole is well worth a visit though with a lovely big playground, a cafe and a huge lake where you can feed the ducks, not to mention loads of space for walking/cycling/scooting/generally letting off steam!
Letchworth outdoor pool ok so the changing rooms are a bit gross and there are endless areas of concrete floors and deep water (bit of a parent’s nightmare!) but it’s great for cooling off the kids on a hot, sunny day! For those of you with more than one child watch out though as the ratios they allow in are one adult to two children if they’re under 8 and one parent to one child for under 5’s so beg, steal or borrow a grandparent, friend or neighbour to go with you to make sure you don’t get turned away as I hear they are quite strict about this.
Hitchin Pool Hitchin is a great swimming pool as it has an indoor and outdoor pool and you can go between the two as much as you like. Apparently they have redone all the changing rooms here but I haven’t been since they’ve done them so can’t comment on that.
2. Paddling pool and slide
If you can be bothered to blow them up and fill them up then most kids love the paddling pool in the garden but add double the fun if you’ve got one of those Little Tikes slides (other brands are of course available!) by letting them slide into the pool!
3. Water tables
These can be hours of fun – you can get fancy ones or dirt cheap ones from the supermarket or even just use a big plastic storage tub, bucket or washing up bowl. Chuck in some different sized pots, cups, jugs, watering cans, funnels, spoons, pretty much anything you don’t mind getting wet and hey presto, water fun time!
4. Very wet tea parties
This activity recently kept my daughter engaged for hours but be warned water pretty much gets everywhere with this one! All you need is water and a plastic tea set and you’re away. Let your little one fill up the teapot and the mlk jug and pour everyone cups of tea!
5. Water painting
I have recently discovered this absolutely genius and oh-so simple idea. Take a bucket of water, some paintbrushes and let your child ‘paint’ the fence, decking, patio, whatever you like!
6. The sprinkler
For full-on fun and total cooling down, just put the sprinkler on in the garden and let your kids run about in it – they’ll love it!
7. Water fights!
Roxy has recently been introduced to the wonderful world of water fights (albeit somewhat unwittingly!) but on a really hot day if you have changes of clothes and towels then give it a go. You can use water pistols or just bottles/jugs of water or I’ve just seen something fab on pinterest that we are definitely going to try: sponge water bombs! How to make and play with sponge water bombs
8. Wet marble runs
I haven’t tried this yet but build a marble run, pour water down it and add the marbles! Sounds like fun to me!
9. Build a water wall
Raid your local diy shop (or your Dad’s shed) for some bits of plastic piping or just cut up some old bottles then attach them to your fence at different angles so you can pour water down it! If you google water wall play there are absolutely loads of different ideas for this!
10. Slip and slide
Now this is a blast from the past and something I haven’t tried with Roxy (not sure my husband would allow this on his lawn!!) but something I used to play for hours with my brothers when we were kids! Just get a bit of pond lining, throw water all over it and let the kids slip about on it! If you can put an actual slide at the start of it or place it on a slope then all the better!
So there you go – 10 watery fun ideas to keep the kids cool this summer, most of which are free!