I am convinced that the best invention known to humankind, or at least to parents of young children, is the splash pad. Yesterday was warm (by Wisconsin standards), impossibly muggy, and when by 2:00pm we were all about to start climbing the walls, I suddenly remembered that one of the public parks has a brand-new splash pad. We slapped a swim diaper on the little man, called the neighbors to invite them (their 3yo is really good buddies with Daniel), and headed out.

A splash pad, for those who don't know and are too lazy to click on that link above, is a fairly new innovation in public parks. It's basically an elaborate sprinkler system with no standing pools of water, so there is essentially no risk of drowning. It's perfect for kids too young to swim who need some water play on a hot day. Daniel and his buddy spent a good hour chasing each other around the edges; they were both too chicken to run full-tilt through any of the bigger spouts of water.

(I wish I had pictures, but we were already carting along towels, sunscreen, diapers, water bottles, and a change of clothes for everyone. There just wasn't room for the camera.)

I'm glad to see that Daniel likes the water. He was in a real swimming pool for the first time last week (we were invited to a friend's pool in her condo development), and he did really well. Daniel approaches new physical challenges with caution, but not fear. He spent a long time on the pool steps where he was only about waist deep before he was finally ready to go into the main part. The shallow end was only 3' deep, but Daniel's about 3' tall, so I held him up and showed him how to kick. By the time we had to get out for the lifeguard's break, he was ready to stay in the water all day long.

I've got to get the kids enrolled in swimming lessons next summer. I actually meant to do it for Daniel this year, but two or three months ago when I should have been looking into the local options, I was still too overwhelmed with having a new baby and a 2yo and dinner to fix every night that I just couldn't get it all together. Plus, it's been a rather cool summer here so far, so the thought of swimming just became appealing a couple weeks ago.

Still, I think teaching kids to swim from a very young age is important. I recall being about two and a half and not wanting to get in the water for my swimming lesson. I don't remember if that was for the whole summer, or just a one-time thing or what, but I do know that my parents had my brother and me taking swimming lessons every summer in our younger years. As a result, we are both decent swimmers and not a bit afraid of the water. I want the same for my kids.

In the meantime, though, I think we'll be frequenting the new splash pad, at least until the weather cools off.


Animal said…
We just got back from Interlochen, and the cabin we stayed in was, like, 25 steps from the lake. Tess got The Rozzle a "My Baby Ring" to float in, and we were off! At first Roz just liked sitting at the edge of the water, letting the waves splash over her legs. Ultimately, though, it was that floatie ring that she loved.

I agree about getting kids used to the water: I always loved the pool, but without swimming lessons I pretty much just splash around.

Sounds like you all had fun!
Pam said…
Oh, the memories!! Those kinds of things are SO exciting as a kid!

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