This “shelter in place” has definitely worn out its welcome and has made everyone a little stir crazy. No real routine, no actual plans, just a lot of “well now what”. With all of us stuck in the house I knew I needed to find something for us to do in the backyard, especially with Memorial Day Weekend coming up. Not even SIP was going to stop us from kicking off Summer 2020! We are planning on heading up to the lake for a few nights so before we left, I decided that it was time to start creating a mini water park in our backyard that the kids could play in before and after out little getaway. With a small backyard and two little ones running around, we couldn’t exactly get a pool installed by the weekend but thanks to a little inspiration from Target, Amazon, & Costco, I was able to improvise!
So here’s what we did:
As I said, we don’t have a huge yard and with the heat of summer coming we knew we needed a way to entertain the kids and cool them off at the same time. A sprinkler was not an option since our Mastiffs would get way too excited. And two 180lb dogs jumping & running around two toddlers is a recipe for disaster. Everyone loves a good kiddie pool and we happened to have two of these ones laying around from last year. My kids are big loungers, so one of the pools became their lounge and is where Emmie (& the dogs) usually get comfortable. She’s got some of her bath toys, some small beach toys, and every now and again we throw in some bubble bath for a little extra fun! The second pool has this awesome slide that we’ve had since Oliver was a baby. It can easily fold up for storage and is just the right size to sneak into the living room when it’s raining. We had these balls to fill up our ball pit and they are a great addition to both pools (even without water!).
I feel like almost every seasoned parent I talk to raves about water tables and the hours of entertainment it provided for their kids. Last year I was so excited to get one for Oliver, especially with Emmie only being a few months old I figured he’d be able to have some fun while I was figuring out just how to juggle two-under-two. He absolutely loved it! And now that Emmie’s up and moving, she loves it too! Our old one was pretty well-loved so we picked up this one at Costco. I’m a big fan of how easy it was to put together and how the tower can easily pop off for storage (I am all about easy storage!). They really get to develop their fine motor skills while playing with the different accessories and filling up the tower with the water bucket. We’ll even throw some bubbles in there if we’re feeling fancy!
Speaking of bubbles, what kid doesn’t love them? I had gotten cheap bubble machines from Target & Amazon over the past few years but they break down so easily and run out of bubbles so quickly. We were gifted this one from Amazon and it has been incredible! It’s able to pump out nonstop bubbles for 30min or 45min depending on the setting. Both kids have had a blast with it. They also love these bubble guns. Target had a few other options in Bullseye’s Playground that were only $3 and just as fun!
So while I don’t really recommend sprinklers or any sort of inflatable toys with dogs running around, I couldn’t help but order this splash pad for the kids! I had seen their ad popping up all over Instagram and when a friend had told me she had actually gotten it for her daughter who loved it, I figured why not?! This one is awesome. Their item description listed all these different learning and development benefits that I just assumed were created to promote the product but didn’t really result in much. But, after watching the kids play with it, I realized how much they were actually learning! Not just about letters, colors or shapes (there’s plenty of that too), but they were learning to communicate with each other and share in a way that they have never needed to figure out before. Oliver was helping Emmie learn to jump and he was actually using his words to communicate with her. Oliver has a speech delay and SIP has not been a huge help with that. To be able to hear him clearly say “Go Sis!” or “Jump!” makes this Mama so incredibly proud! On top of that, it’s really durable. The dogs have jumped into the pool and it hasn’t popped yet!
While this may not have been what we had in mind for the kickoff of Summer 2020, we plan on making the best of it. So grab a cocktail, sit back, relax, and cheers to Summer 2020 SIP style!