We went to a party yesterday at our town pool. The facility isn't “officially” open yet and I'm not in Summer Mode yet, so I struggled to think what to bring, especially since, obviously, my kids are at a different age than they were last year. So, while they're still at school and I have functioning brain cells, I thought I'd share my list of what to bring to the town pool this summer:
- A pool bag. Sure, this is obvious, but what isn't is the fact that you don't have to go out and buy a fancy one. I've been using an old diaper bag that served me well when my kids were little. The inner compartment is insulated, so it's great for keeping things cool, if needed, and it has tons of compartments. Plus, it has sentimental value: one of the babies it helped with is getting ready for high school...(deep sigh)...
- Goggles. My son cannot live without these and you never know when one of my son's or daughter's friends will need an extra pair. For that reason, I buy extras every time I see them on sale. Oh, and this is one of those items you don't want to skimp on since quality counts. The cheaper goggles tend to fall apart. Again, get the good ones when they're discounted.
- Pool badges. I punch a hole in ours and stick them on a lanyard. If my teen needs his to go off on his own, I put his on a key ring so he can easily stick it to a shoelace worn around his neck.
- Sunscreen and bug spray. We use spray and stick sunscreen. I learned yesterday that the bugs are biting mighty fierce this Summer, so I'll be packing either a spray bottle containing white vinegar diluted with water or real bug spray to keep those bloodsuckers at bay.
- A ping pong ball. Silly, but our facility charges $.25 for a ball every time you play. It's cheaper to go to the Dollar Store and buy a pack of these for $1.
- A blanket. Actually, I re-purpose my yoga mat for the kids to sit on at the pool. Chances are it'll be only my daughter and her friends this summer since the Teen is too cool to sit with Mommy. A yoga mat is easy to clean, has a little padding and rolls up compactly.
- A folding chair. If I'm hauling kids, I'm going to be comfortable. Momma needs a chair.
- A small cooler with a shoulder strap. This puppy gets packed with plenty of water on ice and ice Fla-Vor-Ice freezie pops which are not only great snacks, but add extra cooling power. I also bring fruit and cut up vegetables, not for them, but for me. One year I put on weight
This type of cooler works well for excursions to the town pool.
- Playing cards and chalk. When Diva needs to dry off, she'll need something to do. A game of War or Spit or drawing on the sidewalk with chalk passes the time until she's dry.
- A plastic grocery bag for wet suits.
- Junk food. Yes, I tried to get my kids to eat “healthy” snacks at the pool. Know what happened? They passed on my snacks and wound up eating their friends' Pringles! I now back “healthier” stuff like pretzels and popcorn, but sometimes buy Pringles just so they won't “jump blanket” to someone else's camp. I also bring protein bars which fill up hungry teens.
- Changes of clothes for everybody. Summertime means impromptu plans. If one of my kids decides to go home with a friend, he/she is going to need a change of clothes. Bring shirts, shorts, and don't forget the underwear!
- Money. Once or twice a week, my troops are allowed to buy ice cream at the snack bar. $10 usually suffices.
- A tennis or splash ball. Our pool also has a splash pad. Balls come in handy for games with friends.
- A compact purse containing my essentials (driver's license, etc.) and my phone.
- A small First Aid Kit. It's easy to scrape your foot on the bottom of our pool. Sure, the life guards have these, but sometimes it's easier to just give your kid a band aid than to have them limp to the First Aid Station like Tiny Tim. One year, Diva scraped herself so many times that the life guards knew her by name.
Making a list now means less work when I'm distracted trying to rally my troops to go to the pool. It also means that I'm happily getting ready for the school year to end and am getting excited to spend time with my rapidly-growing-up children. Let Summer Vacation begin!