Toddler pool time

© Sarah Lipoff 2011

Now that the weather has finally decided to cooperate, it’s time to enjoy some fun in the sun – and with that comes fun with water. I love swimming and grew up enjoying a dip in any pool, lake, stream, or whatever when the temperature warmed up. I also was on the swim team in middle school and high school, which seems like forever ago. Having swim smarts is something I want to instill in my daughter, so I’m ready to start as early as possible getting her excited about getting her swim on.

I picked up a small pool last year that my daughter could sit, walk through, and dump stuff in, but figured she is big enough for something more exciting. Even though she’s just over two, I thought we could explore other options that would keep her interested and motivated to get in the water – considering her excitement quota usually lasts about 7 minutes.

We headed out to the local purveyor of all things child and were a bit overwhelmed by the pool options. Big blow up pools with spinning-spraying things, humongous hard plastic pools, and itty-bitty baby things surrounded us. They all smelled like plastic and seemed cumbersome more than fun-in-the-sun for a still-figuring-it-all-out two-year old. So, we left with a couple of beach balls and floating boats under our arms.

I spent a quick minute researching how to make our swim area safe for the tot and found some great suggestions, such as turning over the small pool over after each use and picking up some sunglasses for my daughter for when she’s lounging poolside to protect her eyes. After getting our backyard set and ready for summer swim action, I sat back with some fresh brewed chamomile iced-tea (along with some in a spray bottle for my hair – thanks Motherboard!), and watched as the wee tot had a fantastic time in the water!

Here are a couple of things to make pool time even more exciting with a toddler:

-Purchase a small watering can just for your child. This way, when she gets tired of sitting and splashing in the pool, she can use that watering can to keep all your plants happy. And pouring water is a great way to encourage your child’s concentration and hand-eye coordination.

-Couldn’t find any plastic boats for your pool? Make some with your child out of paper and found materials around the home and have a “will it float” contest. The winner gets a frozen treat!

-On a really hot day, toss ice cubes in the pool along with a plastic measuring cup and encourage your child to scoop those cubes! This is a great activity for kids over 3 years of age – no one wants a fun time to turn into a choking hazard!

-Offer your child mini-squirt guns to use for dousing everyone around them while playing in the pool. Using a small hand-held squirt gun actually boosts fine-motor skills aiding in great handwriting skills.

-Turn that pool into a jacuzzi! Hand out straws and invite your child to blow through them, creating tons of bubbles. Blowing through the straw encourages kids to think about exhaling when swimming and brings small learning-to-swim faces closer to the water. Don’t forget to remind your kiddo the straws are for blowing, not drinking the water!

Happy swimming!




Healthful Mondays – Fun in the sun!

© Sarah Lipoff 2010

No matter where you live there are tons of fantastic beaches, rivers, streams, ponds or pools to visit when the sun is shining. Playing in the sun, and the water, is absolutely fantastic. The thing is  you want to protect your baby from the sun but also let her have a bit of exposure. The sun provides us with essential vitamin D, which boosts our immune system along with making us feel good. Not letting babe (and yourself) get some rays can lead to depression, or in extreme cases, rickets.

Being a new mom, I’m concerned about sun exposure with my young baby’s skin along with keeping her safe.  I’m not just worried about a doozy of a sunburn, but a reaction from the sunscreen I might use.  Experts say that brief exposure to the full on sun isn’t going to directly lead to skin cancer, but I want to make sure she is properly protected during long summer days at the beach. I have also had my fair share of bumpy, itchy rashes from experiments with skin lotions and would hate to have the same happen with my little one.

I picked up a couple of brands of sunscreen and found California Baby Sunscreen to be awesome with Sweetsation Therapy’s Sun ‘n’ Fun Organic Baby Sunscreen great, too.  Both products can be ordered online or found at baby stores. Neither gave my babe (or me) any funky reactions after spot testing on our legs, so we were ready for prolonged sun exposure.

Along with sunscreen, I picked up a sun hat, an umbrella, and a nice beach blanket.  I wanted to be prepared for our first time at the beach.  I slathered her up, packed the bag, and set off.

I figured we would last maybe a half hour at the beach, but it turned into a full afternoon of fun in the sun and cold  toes in the ocean.  It was my daughter’s first time dipping into the sea and she was a true trooper.  The sand was exciting, the sun was warm, and the water was wonderful.  The day was a complete success!  She slept the entire way home.

What’s your favorite baby sunscreen and must have fun in the sun items?