If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a waterpark, consider taking your kids to a splash pad. These recreational areas are usually run by the city—so most of them are free—and they include fountains, spray nozzles and other water features to help you cool off. Plus, since there normally isn’t any standing water at these public parks, swimming lessons are not required.
Here are some tips to get the most out of your family trip to a splash pad:
- Look around – You may have seen a local splash pad nearby, but it’s probably not the only one. Search online to see how many are close to home.
- Time it right – Mornings at the splash pad tend to be busy. You may find it to be less crowded if you go later in the afternoon.
- Prep beforehand – Get everyone in their swimsuits and sunscreen applied beforehand, so no one has to wait to play in the water.
- Don’t forget towels – Even in hot weather, playing in the water can make you cold. And make sure to dry everyone off before the drive back.
- Bring some bandages – Wherever children and wet concrete meet, slips & scrapes will happen. Keep the fun going with some simple first aid.
- Keep it clean – Use swim diapers for those who aren’t potty trained yet to avoid contaminating the water supply. Change dirty diapers immediately.
- Supply some snacks – Nothing keeps your kids happy like a quick break to eat some treats. Keep it simple and keep the cooler at home.
- Keep ’em hydrated – Playing in the sun will make you thirsty. Bring a couple of water bottles so no one is tempted to drink water from the nozzles.
- Expect a short stay – Splash pads are fun, but it’s not an all-day event. After an hour or so your little splashers will probably run out of steam.