Kids Enjoy Their Summer with Sitters, Science and Swim

As we continue through summer, the kids may be feeling a bit bored from the same routine. Check out our guest post from Lindsay on creative swim activities that they can do with a babysitter or parent.

Sitters, Science and Swim

My kids love spending time at the pool during the summer, and my husband and I have found that it is a great activity for them to do with the babysitter when she watches them a couple of days each week.

But while I know they need to be able to enjoy their break from school, there are so many valuable learning opportunities available during the season that I hate to pass them up. So, my sitter and I have been working together to find water-based activities that will keep my girls active while also teaching them a little something in the process.

If you go this route with your sitter, be sure, first and foremost, that they’re capable of keeping your children safe by the pool. At the beginning of the summer, my kids’ babysitter and I sat down and went over some of the water safety tips provided in this piece on pool parties. It provides a good overview of things your sitter should look out for when swimming in a crowded community pool. You might also have them spend some time looking at PoolSafely.gov—it provides more great resources on water safety.

My sitter and I found many great activities for her to do with the kids. Here are a few science-based lessons that she highly recommends:

Swim Physics – Of course, successful swimming has a lot to do with physics. For older kids, this article from RelaxnSwim.com is a great intro into physics concepts. It includes information and diagrams that teach them about buoyancy and drag and how they contribute to someone becoming a stronger swimmer. After your child has read the material, your sitter can ask them to demonstrate what they learned the next time they’re at the pool.

Make Lightning – Nothing ends a fun-filled day at the pool faster than a lightning storm. So, whenever your sitter has to head inside with the kids, this activity from LearnPlayImagine.com, which shows how to make lightning with a balloon, spoon, aluminum tray, and Styrofoam plate, is a great option. As your children work on the experiment, your sitter can teach them about why they must get out of the pool when there’s a possibility of lightning.

Tide Pool Science – Chances are at some point this summer you’ll go on vacation. If you have plans to go to a beach, this tide pool activity is a fun way for your children to learn about the ecology of tide pools while also teaching them how to stay safe around natural bodies of water. From BuggyandBuddy.com, your kids and their sitter can follow the directions and build a model tide pool. Then, they can add and remove water to imitate the tide.

Sink or Float: A Science ExperimentEducation.com notes that this is a great way to introduce the Guess and Check Method. Your sitter can gather a few items by the pool. Then, they’ll have your kids guess whether those items will sink or swim. Next, they’ll test each one to see if their hypothesis was correct.

Time in the pool should certainly be fun, but it doesn’t have to be without learning opportunities. In fact, being in the water offers many teachable moments. These activities are easy enough for your sitter to do with your kids, and they offer a great way to keep everyone engaged while also reiterating the importance of water safety.

Lindsay M has many passions, including cooking, biking and photography. She also enjoys writing for PublicHealthCorps. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart and is the mother of twin girls.

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Planning a Pool Party

Planning a Pool Party

It is spring time, that means sunshine, outdoor play and pool parties! Hopefully for a chunk of the U.S. we will start to defrost and get some much needed vitamin D.

Here is a guest blog post from Kaitlin Gardner at AnApplePerDay on some great tips about planning a pool party for kids.

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How to Plan a Pool Party for Kids

The great thing about planning a party for the kids at the family pool – entertainment is already checked off the “to do” list. The pool is a wonderful resource for having fun, and kids always love to gather together to play in the water. So the planning is mostly about considering other details.

Here are items to check off:

The invitation process. Have your child make up a list of friends he would like to invite. Check with the parents to confirm mailing addresses. At this time, you can diplomatically confirm that the child can swim. While evites are great for parents, consider mailing out invitations. For a child, it’s a treat just to get the invitation in the mail. Address the invitation to both the child and the parents, so they can mark the date and time. Your child might want to take the invitations and pass them out at school, but likely some would get lost along the way, so consider using mail as the safe way to make sure everyone knows about the party.

Water safety. An important factor to think about when planning a pool party – the safety issue will need to be addressed. You can’t just expect any adults in attendance to look after kids in the water. This is too important an item to leave to chance. As the hostess, you’ll have to take care of this concern, so decide between you and your husband who is the “designated watcher.” That person will only be watching the kids, not checking the cell phone or flipping burgers on the grill. To make this go more smoothly, consider hiring one of the lifeguards from the local pool – the kids are used to obeying them around water. It will assure that you provide a safe environment.

Food and refreshments. You’ll have a lot of hungry kids from playing in the water, so make sure there’s plenty of food. It doesn’t have to be quiche or something fancy – kids love burgers, so just fire up the back yard grill. Have chips and drinks on hand. It might be a good idea to designate a time for the meal, so everyone eats together, and the kids stay out of the pool for a while.

Daytime or evening? If you’re having the party in early spring, where it’s likely to be chilly in the evening, an afternoon pool party might be preferable. If it’s the middle of the summer, think about an evening party. Then you won’t have to worry about sunburns, providing shade, and everyone trying to sneak into the house to escape the heat for a bit. Put up additional lights around the back yard, and an evening party will be a lot of fun.

Pool games. Have some toys available – Frisbees and things like that, for the kids to play with. But kids love to make up their own games in the water, so likely all you’ll have to do is prompt them if their activity flags for a moment. Sometimes, just yelling out “Marco” will bring the chorus of “Polo,” and the kids will be off to another round of play. Here are some great resources with ideas for pool fun, and some great planning tips:

Playing host to parents. When you send out the invitations, make it clear that the parents are welcome to stay and visit. Some of the parents might not know each other, so handle the introductions. This part is being a good hostess, just like you would at a party in your home. A home pool party is all about providing the environment where your child and his friends can have a fun – but safe – time in the water. Once you have set everything up, just enjoy the smiles as the kids laugh and splash in the water. AnApplePerDay-Logo Kaitlin Gardner writes for AnApplePerDay.com. She currently lives in Pennsylvania and is married to her best friend.  In her spare time, she loves to go hiking and enjoy nature.  She has just started her first book about living an eco-friendly, healthy, natural lifestyle.