All children love to splash around in the water, build sand castles, and set toy boats sailing. If you install a pool that offers these possibilities, you will have created a small paradise for them to play in. What You Should Know: Do not plan the play pool too small.
– A play pool should measure at least about 30 to 40 square feet; otherwise it will soon get boring.
– The depth of the pool will depend on the age of your children. For very young children, 8 to 12 inches (20-30 cm) is sufficient; but the water should be no deeper than 16 inches (40 cm) even if the children are older (up to about 7 years of age) because of the danger of drowning.
– Never leave children near water unsupervised¡ªthat applies not just to babies and toddlers.
– The basin should have the same depth everywhere. Children slip easily on a slanted bottom and may hit their heads on the bottom or conceivably even drown.
Location: The pool should be in partial shade, or shade must be provided by an umbrella or awning. Children will otherwise get badly sunburnt if they spend hours splashing in the water.
Materials to Seal the Bottom: A thick liner (60 mils or 1.5 mm) with a nonslip surface, clay, or a preformed fiberglass shell with a slipproof bottom are all appropriate materials. If you use a liner, it is best to construct the pool edges of two layers of square beams, one on top of the other. The resulting border provides both an ideal place to sit on and a surface for baking sand cakes.
Play Possibilities: Water all by itself does not make for a very interesting play pool. Fill the basin partially with sand, but only enough so that there are still about 4 inches (10 cm) of water. Add some stones of various sizes (ranging from golf ball to baseball size).
Plants and Animals: None.
The Pool’s Margin: Grass or a low-growing, hardy ground cover that will withstand the traffic of children’s feet can be planted.
Upkeep: Change the water frequently. Depending on how dirty the water is, scoop it out and replenish the pool with clean water. Do this in the morning, and don’t let the children play in the pool until the water has warmed up again. They can catch cold even in the summer if they spend hours in cold water. Empty the pool completely for winter and scrub it thoroughly. Fill it with fresh, clean sand in the spring. Do not use any chemicals to keep the water clean!
Special Remark: A play pool that is no longer used by children can easily be transformed into a marsh bed. You might even want to set up a small splash fountain or a bubbler rock surrounded by stones.