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Water Play

Kids love nothing better than getting soaking wet and will happily spend hours in the garden with a paddling pool or water slide. Not only are they have great fun, but they're learning different skills, such as balance, spatial awareness and judgement. They are also getting some superb exercise into the bargain. Make sure the kids don't have all the fun! Join in with splashing and running about yourself to release your inner child. The children will love you for it and take great delight in making sure you get the wettest of all.
 
Paddling pool for babies and toddlers
Paddling pools are available in a huge variety of styles and sizes. Bear in mind that the larger the pool, the longer it will take to fill (and empty!) but if you've got the space, a larger pool allows for more children to play and a wider variety of games can take place. If you anticipate using the pool frequently, an electric pump for inflation will prove a great time-saving investment. Pools with integral shading are available and these will help give additional protection from the sun, although you should still apply adequate sunscreen at all times.
 

Younger children will love simply sitting in the pool and playing with a variety of containers and floating toys. However, remember that young children should never be left unsupervised with paddling pools of any type.

 
RoSPA advises that toddlers are particularly at risk as they can be extremely mobile, but have little, if any, sense of danger.
 

If you want to take your garden fun to a higher level, you can invest in a framed pool. These have sufficient depth of water to allow swimming and come complete with a filter and ladder. There are a number of Easy Up pools available. These are the type where you simply have to inflate a top ring, after which the pool is ready for filling.

Framed family paddling pool
 
Paddling pool cover

Pool accessories are available such as covers, filters and heaters. A cover will help prevent the build up of algae which turn the water green and a heater could prove the ultimate labour saving device, as any parent will testify after carrying out multiple buckets of hot water to take off the chill from a newly filled paddling pool.

 

When you introduce a water slide into your garden, you will be in for a whole lot of fun and excitement. The challenge of running and sliding brings out the competitive instinct in children of all ages (and some of their parents too!) and guarantees heaps of fun and laughter. You'll need a hosepipe to provide a steady flow of water at the top end of the slide and this will ensure a lovely slippery surface for the kids to whizz along. The simplest set ups consist of a long plastic slide with some inflatable cushioning at the far end to stop the children from slipping off. More complex versions come with tunnels and arches to negotiate. At the top end there are slides with inflatable ramps. Make sure children respect their own and others' safety whilst using water slides. They need to understand that they'll be sliding along at some degree of speed and crashes may well happen.

Water slide