With summer practically here, it's time to start thinking of activities to keep the kids busy, as well as cool. If you happen to live near a big water park, your kids may already know about it and asked for you to take them. I have fond memories of hanging out with my friends at the water park growing up, and although I haven't yet taken my own kids to own, this may be the year. Which is why I am all about water park hacks that will make my life (and my kids) more manageable as I attempt this excursion.
I have to say, I wish I had this advice when I was a kid. I remember leaving the water park starving, thirsty, and horrifically sunburnt every time I went there. I wasn't going weekly, because I wasn't hugely into swimming growing up, which is why I never learned my lesson I guess.
That's why you need a few water park hacks. My partner would roll his eyes at this kind of preparation just to go to a water park, but he doesn't fully realize the kind of epic meltdown that would ensue if my toddler discovered he couldn't go in the water because I hadn't packed the right kind of swim diaper. Here are 11 water park hacks that will save your family's collective butt and make the day a fun one.
1. Put Your Phone In A Baggie
Jillee at One Good Thing recommends bringing bags to seal your phones in, so that they stay sand-free. The bonus? The touch screens still work through the plastic.
2. Bring Swim Shoes For Everyone
I've only ever thought about using swim shoes for places like the lake, but the Family Vacation Critic blog suggests swim shoes are ideal for the water park, because kids can wear them on the hot cement as well as the water.
3. Give Your Kids A Good Reason To Leave
Of course your kids are going to be mad at you for making them leave. Full on bribery, in the form of an ice cream? I am one hundred percent on board.
4. Try Wearing A One-Piece Instead Of A Bikini
I want to be clear here: I would never judge a mom for wearing a bikini or two-piece anywhere, like, ever. You do you, girl. That said, Parents makes a good case for wearing a one-piece instead since you'll be running after kids all day.
5. Reapply Sunscreen Regularly
This kind of goes without saying, but make sure you don't wait too long before reapplying sunscreen–for you and the kids. According to the American Melanoma Foundation, water-resistant sunscreen will last 40 minutes when submersed water, and waterproof sunscreen will last 80 minutes. Either way, that's well below the standard two hours that most people refer to.
6. Arrive Early In The Day
It may be hard to get the kids out the door, but as Tara from Feels Like Home noted, arriving when the water park opens means dealing with fewer people. Your kids can still get hours of swimming fun in, and you can avoid the crowds that will be there at 2 p.m.
7. Have Everyone Wear Their Bathing Suits Under Their Clothes
In the same post from Feels Like Home, Tara suggests that, instead of having to go through the insanity of changing everyone into bathing suits once you arrive, just have them wear their bathing suits under their clothes. Genius!
8. Make Sure You're Aware Of The Water Park's Rules
Kathy Penney, from Penney Lane, makes a really good point: doing your research before actually going to the waterpark will make your visit far less frustrating. You don't want to pack a cooler full of snacks if the water park doesn't allow any outside food on the grounds, and you don't want your toddler having to sit on the sidelines because you didn't pack the right kind of diaper.
9. Pack Everything You'll Need The Night Before
This tip makes so much sense, given how impossible it already is to get your kids out the door in the morning. Packing what you need the night before will make an early morning departure go that much smoother, according to Robyn from Celeb Baby Laundry.
10. Bring Drinking Water
You'd think, being surrounded by all that water, that everyone would just automatically be reminded to stay hydrated, but that isn't always the case. Debra, from The Harried Mom, suggests making sure everyone is drinking fluids regularly throughout the day, to avoid dehydration.
11. Bring Your Own Towels
Lots of water parks offer towel rentals or towels that come with the price of admission. They are unlikely to be in the best shape, so it's a good idea to bring your own beach towels.